Few Journalists & People of Color Make 2015 Social Media List (Again)

The latest version of Education Next’s Top K-12 Education Policy People on Social Media is out today, and I’m happy to have been included again (up from #20 out of the top 25 to #16).

Though separate rankings based on media outlets and organizations are set to come out later this week, the rankings based on Klout scores for individuals contain several curiosities and notable items, including the relative lack of education reporters, the complicated relationship between Klout scores (influence) and Twitter followers (reach), and — as in the past — the relatively small number of persons of color (journalists and otherwise) who are included:

DnCxnuX_Chicago’s Xian Barrett (@xianb8) comes in at an impressive #5, just like he did last year.

Another classroom educator, Jose Vilson (@TheJLV — pictured left) comes in right behind him, but with many thousands more followers. 

As Mike Petrilli notes, only three of the top 25 are fulltime mainstream journalists (Joy Resmovits of the Los Angeles Times, Motoko Rich of the New York Times, and Libby Nelson of Vox).

“What’s up with that?” Indeed. What is up with that – -though it’s better than in the past. 

John White (@ruralED)is ranked #4 but wasn’t on the list last year (and I’ve never heard of him, perhaps because of his focus).

In fact, there are a bunch of other newcomers to the list this year, though many of them (such as #16 @palan57 and #19 @rusulalrubail) have relativel high Klout scores and fewer than 5,000 followers. 

There must be something wrong with Klout scores (and using them for rankings) since they seem to reward folks who don’t Tweet that much or have that many followers (or say predictable, ridiculous things). For example, @professorJVH (#9), Andre-Tascha Lamme (also #9). &nbsp

Meantime, there are folks like @joshuapstarr and @motokorich who have 16,000-plus followers but come out tied for #21, which seems unwarranted. Perhaps there should be a minimum number of followers to be considered next year? Klout also seems to punish folks who tweet a lot, such as @anthonycody, who dropped from #6 to #19 despite being prolific and having over 11,000 followers. 

Good thing that there’s a follower-based ranking this year, in which folks like @eduflack come in at #3 with 88,000 followers, along with @valerie strauss (#8 with 27,000), and Michael Fullan (#10 with 22,600). The extra special folks who made both Klout and follower lists include Ravitch/Duncan/Weingarten plus Patrick Riccards (aka @Eduflack), Motoko Rich, Joshua Starr, et moi.

As in the past, and with all these lists, the membership seems very white and very male. Lacking Klout or followers enough (or time, or inclination) POC I’ve mentioned or had suggested to me in the past — Liz Dwyer (@losangelista), NYCAN’s Derrell Bradford (@Dyrnwyn), ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah Jones (@nhannahjones), The Lens’ Jessica Williams (@williamslensnola), Dropout Nation’s RiShawn Biddle (@dropoutnation), the NEA’s Melinda Anderson (@mdawriter) and Education Post’s Chris Stewart (@citizenstewart), Heather Harding (@heatherHJ)! @drsteveperry, @jmsummers, @drkamikaroyal, @andreperryEDU — aren’t included on the main list though some are in the list of 500.

Where’s @deray McKesson, one of the leaders of #blacklivesmatter?

Last but not least, let’s take a moment to note the absence of several folks who’ve been on past versions of this list but are no longer here for various reasons. These include Mike Klonsky, TFT (The Frustrated Teacher), Leonie Haimson, Dana Goldstein, etc. There are also a few folks back on the list thanks to follower numbers (like Andrew Rotherham). 

Related posts: Education Journalists Being Left Behind on TwitterThis ELL Teacher (@larryferlazzo) Has Way More Klout Than YouEd Writers Notably Missing From 2013 Klout List12 Observations About EdNext’s 2014 “Top Twitter Feeds”This More Diverse List Of “Top Education Tweeters” Still Needs More Names (2015).

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.