What Makes Someone Influential?

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What makes a person a source of influence?

This is a question I have been asking myself for a number of years… On 27th August 2019, The Guardian featured me in a press article with the headline: Is this Britain’s most influential teaching guru?

I’ve copied a snippet of the article below with some context …

Is this Britain’s most influential teaching guru?

He’s the most popular educator on UK Twitter, with more than 200,000 followers. His blog tops a staggering 10 million readers and he’s one of the 500 most influential people in Britain, according to Debrett’s. He has also written three bestselling books on teaching and is about to publish a fourth.

Ross Morrison McGill, a former deputy headteacher, is an education entrepreneur but he is no Lord Sugar. He is not motivated by the profit margin but by a love of teaching and frustration at the way schools are being treated, especially by the organisation he will refer to only as the Grim Reaper in his latest book.

Read the full article.

Is this Britain’s most influential teaching guru?

I was unaware of the title being used for the article. I am no ‘guru’, but I am incredibly passionate about teaching and learning and supporting teachers to do the very best for their students.

The aim of this article was to introduce Guardian readers – who are not teachers –  to my profile; view the print version.

What is influence?

This question forms part of my doctoral studies (EdD). I am currently researching ‘influence’ and defining it using three theories: Social media, education policy and teacher professionalism (voice). I will also post more details on my Research Gate profile as I begin to share my research methodology…

To date, I have discovered the academic terms which in some respects, explain the rise of Edu-Twitter. Those terms are:

  • The Kardashian Effect = to measure the popularity of scientists by their number of followers on Twitter, or to share an opinion and be viewed as a voice of authority, particularly when an individual may not be an expert in the field, but their opinion is taken as a credible source because of the numbers of people they influence.
  • Celetoid = to describe the ‘ordinary’ person whose primary goal is media visibility (or fame).
  • Micro-celebrity = Theresa M. Senft first coined the term ‘micro-celebrity’ in 2001 during her research on how ‘camgirls’ used conditions afforded by online tools to forge a then-new style of performance. This entailed ‘people “amping up” their popularity over the web using technologies like video, blogs and social networking sites’ (Senft 2008, p. 25).

My website – now exceeding 10 milion readers around the world – offers me the analytics to deteremine what teachers are reading, and when. In some respects, this gives me a degree of influence and how best to support the profession…

  1. Khamis et al, 2016 – Self-branding, ‘micro-celebrity’ and the rise of Social Media Influencers
  2. Lightfoot, L, 2019 – The Guardian

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