Staff Editorial – 9/18

Twitter, unblocked and soon to be unused

Let there be tweets.

Those 140 characters we all love will no longer be forbidden—or even a drain on a 4G data plan—this school year. Administration has slackened its restrictions to allow us to roam Twitter on school grounds and Wi-Fi, and in doing so, has given us an unexpected mark of trust.

Not much has changed between this year and last, besides that extra pound we shoved into our already frayed backpacks or that hour of sleep we lost at lacrosse practice. It is still an era of Twitter Watch Lists and cyberbullying suicides, and yet, Mason High School is no longer shying away from new technology.

It is now an educational tool, used not only to retweet @NICKIMINAJ, but as a platform for teachers to post homework, share helpful study websites and remind us to bring our textbook to class tomorrow.

We, the students, go ahead and tap that “plus” sign to add our teachers’ announcements to our feed, despite assurances that we won’t be followed back. It’s fine, for a while. We actually remember to lug that Government textbook in from our lockers, and we swapped Wikipedia for Khan Academy per a teacher’s suggestion.

But soon our coaches are on social media, and we know they’re monitoring our feeds with or without an official follow. (Complaints about practice equal 10 sprints the next day.) We begin to trim the risk out of our posts, opting for less suggestive humor and avoiding topics our teachers may broach during the bell.

It’s still fine, this new Twitter presence. Good, even. It’s no secret that we could stand to be more conscious of our tweets, lest we hurt ourselves or someone else in our race for the most favorites.

And yet we now find follow requests from associate deans of admission at Ohio and Miami Universities awaiting us after campus visits at their respective colleges. We may accept, not wanting to look aloof, and insist we’re still okay with it. Anything to tip our following-followers ratio in favor of the latter is welcome.

But our future is on the line, in a more tangible way than it has ever been before. We could tweet that Silento “Watch me slip” parody we made with our friends and an under-used GoPro one Friday night, but would it risk scholarship candidacy, perhaps even admission?

Before, we wouldn’t have hesitated, but as our feeds become more schoolwork than GIFs, as our teachers can scroll through our too-cool-for-this statuses, Twitter runs the risk of going the same way as Facebook.

It was the “it” form of communication–until our parents friended us and commented on all the photos our friends tagged us in with gems like “Adorable!” and “Can you send this to me?”

Suddenly our open forum for all things teen is more parent, more teacher, more homework, than it is Video Music Award highlights. We miss the freeness of our banter with one another: a double-edged sword, as while it sometimes leads to bullying, this time it may lead to a “Thank you, MHS, but I really prefer Tumblr.”