Deleting @svvsdnews

Yesterday at about 9:00 am John Poynton, Executive Director of Organizational Development & Communications, stopped by the Help Desk. In front of those present he asked me to consider handing the personal Twitter account @svvsdnews over to the Communications department. He implied it was a valuable asset. He also implied that it was at times giving out inaccurate information. Specifically that reunification information for Timberline parents had been reported inaccurately.

In fact, there were no tweets from the account about Timberline except for one manual retweet of John’s own account @svvsd. I had failed to update the Google Alerts that ran @svvsdnew from Heritage MS to Timberline PK8.

Due to the public nature in which he requested the account, the conversation meandered a bit but in the end I told John I would consider his request.

After John left I tweeted: “I have just been asked to turn this account over to the SVVSD Communications Department. Thoughts?” from @svvsdnews and retweeted it from @dmagy.

Steve Borecky, Senior Manager of Information technology, came into the Help Desk to find out why John had been there. I told him of John’s request. Steve informed me that he would be letting Joseph McBreen, the district CIO, about the incident. He also informed me that I may have not helped my case with my tweet.

A little after Steve left, Bud Hunt stopped by and I told him about John’s visit. Bud told me that he agreed with everything I said but to be careful.

About half an hour later, Joe stopped by for a walk and friendly chat. He reminded me of our previous conversations on this subject and gave me some thoughts on how I should consider the situation. He said the matter was in my hands and that he would support me whatever my decision. One of the questions he asked, was it worth the risk (I took this to mean the risk to my livelihood) to maintain @svvsdnews when in the long run it was not that important. We also joked about how stubborn I can be.

From the time John left, I was in quite a bad mood. I do not like being forced into situations. I considered asking for the afternoon off but since I had a meeting scheduled at 3:30, I took an early lunch to try to cool down. Ask Amy, this rarely works for me.

About mid-afternoon, J. Patrick Mount, my direct supervisor, asked me to join him in his office. He asked how I was doing and if there was anything he could do to assist. Patrick told me he had looked and had seen no inaccurate tweets from @svvsdnews about the Timberline incident. He also offered advice about being careful about how I handled the situation.  He told me there could be consequences. I told him that my intent was to delete the account.

Even though I had told John that I would consider handing over my personal account to him, this was only me being non-confrontational. I had no intent to handing over the account. It was something I had built with pride.  I do not believe the Communications department under John Poynton has the same interest in sampling and sharing the internet for school district news that I do.

Yesterday evening I deleted the Google and Twitter accounts svvsdnews.  I then emailed Patrick “Please pass along through appropriate channels to Communications that I have deleted @svvsdnews.”

I am documenting the events of yesterday because I had three people caution me that I was endangering my livelihood by trespassing in John’s bailiwick. I have received similar cautions from people that work far closer to him than I ever do over the last several years.