Expat kids tweet lives abroad
By Nick Lewandowski - 27 January 2012
We’ve found most expats are pretty keen on social media, given how useful it is for shrinking the distance between loved ones and helping them connect with others living similar lives. In fact there are countless expat bloggers and tweeters who focus almost solely on their personal experiences. However most of them are adults.
Or “were” adults, rather. Now @elementaryexpat features kids tweeting about… well… kids’ lives abroad.
Specifically these expat kids are 6 and 3/4-year old Grace and 5-year old Ellie (mom and dad do chime in occasionally). They tweet about everything from missing friends to plane trips and learning foreign words, and also post plenty of pictures and videos of life abroad. Their mom, Carrie, thinks it’s a great opportunity for the girls to both document their lives abroad and reflect on how their experiences are different from kids in their “home culture.”
It’s also helping give them new perspective, Carrie said:
They have a ‘tweeting’ notebook they write their tweets in before they type them. Not everything they write in their books gets tweeted because they have to reflect upon whether or not it would be a categorical “expat” statement or not. For example, “I ate macaroni and cheese” for dinner wouldn’t be an appropriate tweet for an “expat forum” but something like seeing snow for the first time in their lives may be… or being told they are moving again and leaving their friends, might be another appropriate one. We are still working on it.
She added that the tweeting has helped create opportunities for discussion at home:
It also gave them an opportunity to understand what an “expat” kid is and why they are different than other kids. Their “third culture” makes for a lot of reflection for them–something the tweeting has allowed us to discuss daily. In addition, my husband Peter and I can post expat parent articles, reflections about what it means to be giving our kids a “third culture life”… we struggle with that sometimes, wondering what impact this life will have on them.
The girls are slowly building up a following, including several classrooms. Carrie said they’re also working on a blog, because they find Twitter’s character limit a bit frustrating. But no matter what form it takes we can expect to hear a lot more from this expat family in the future. As Carrie explained:
Depending on our next assignment we are exploring the idea of enrolling the girls in an online international school for year to take really advantage of living overseas and traveling based on what we are learning in “school.” That will definitely be an experience to document!
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It really is a great activity as both entertainment and a developmental exercise. There are undoubtedly other applications for this concept as well… I’m thinking specifically of kids with certain illnesses etc. Helps others learn while also allowing them to reflect.
What a great idea! I love that the children have to think about the content, their audience and whether it is approppriate or not, before posting it. A great skill not only for Social Media but any other type of communication! Well done Grace and Ellie!