Over the past few weeks I have been forming my PLN as an educational technology professional. Most of this has been done through an eyeballed recipe consisting of blogging and Twitter, with a sprinkling of Facebook and Flipboard. I have to admit, I have never been one to blog, nor have I been a person who spends any significant time on Twitter; so while I was up to the challenge, I was not all that excited about it.
Blogging has always been something that I wanted to do, but honestly, just never have had the time….well that may be stretching the truth a bit. I’m sure I have the time, I just never had the drive. I would much rather go out with a camera and shoot a video or hunt down a great photo. At the very least, I would probably watch the video again or feed my ego with some likes on Instagram! Nevertheless, I started my sojourn through the world of educational technology blogging.
It has been a bit of a challenge to create interesting topics, but more of a challenge finding ways to grab the attention of other connected educators. Most of us are using similar tools, have similar thoughts, have read the same books, own a smartphone, work on a computer, put our pants on one leg at time, etc etc…SO HOW DO I GET PEOPLE TO KEEP ON READING! I do not want my blog to consist only of tech reviews or my thoughts on daily news stories, I also want to provide original insights into how or why I think a certain way. I regress…finding unique topics to write about is challenging! If EdTech was the only thing that I did perhaps it wouldn’t be such a challenge, however I am currently teaching my courses at CSU Fresno, running a business, managing a startup, directing shows, acting, and my cat is currently attacking my hand as I type. My mind is more than a bit cluttered. Though, I must say, a posts in and a few encouraging and pleasant comments about my blog gave me some insight. I do not necessarily need to go searching for stories that have never been written about before, I just need to talk about them and expose my frame of mind around those stories. Using this cluttered mind of mine may just give me enough unique insight to keep people coming back.
And then there is Twitter. Look, there is no denying that Twitter is the worst possible way for a group of individuals to interact about a single subject together in any sort of organized manner. Did people somehow forget about forums, Google Groups, chat rooms, dedicated online community sites? It truly is a mess of a social network. However, after spending some quality time with Twitter, I discovered it is also incredible for sharing such a vast amount of knowledge between various people. In a dedicated group or forum, there would be a complete lack of cross knowledge like there is on Twitter. I have discovered a plethora of insight from peoples re-tweets that I never would have seen inside an EdTech forum. Communities are strong within the Twitter platform, and it amazes me how quickly even the most followed Twitter user will reply to a message. Slowly but surely I am making a Twitter name for myself, and hoping that personality may win some followers.
If I have any advice on growing a PLN it’s this: express your character. Be the quirky, whimsical individual you are, and just share what is one your mind. And if you are not a quirky, whimsical individual, then be the person who shares all the great tech tips for the other guys to retweet!