To recap, a PLN or Personal Learning Network (because educators love our acronyms) has been around forever. In the past they tended to be the friends, family or colleagues you were to for help and guidance. In a university setting that might also include lecturers, mentors or other students. Since the advent of web, our networks have the potential to expand beyond our physical sphere. These days I have friends I’ve never met and some I’ve met through the internet and have an IRL (in real life) connection through. So how do you meet other teachers online?
So how do you build your PLN through twitter?
I’ll make no secret that I came to twitter through blogging. After setting up my account and following friends and family, I started following the tweets of bloggers I enjoyed reading . So if there’s a blog you enjoy reading follow that blogger because….
Bloggers have friends
I started following the followers of my initial teacher tweeters. If I saw an interesting conversation I’d follow the other tweeter as well. Also if an interesting retweet came out I’d follow that person to which brings me to…
The power of the retweet
Probably one of the easiest ways to build a following on twitter is by having other people retweet your ideas. A retweet is when one person sends one of your tweets to all their followers which means your name is getting out there. But how do you get a retweet?
- Participate in an #edchat or #ntchat
- Ask other tweeters for an introduction to their followers. Most tweachers (ha I made a portmanteau) are happy to help newbies out on twitter and before you know it you’ll have a great bunch of followers
Quality not quantity
Unless you are part of a food community, twitter is not a place to tweet what you are having for dinner. Do think about your audience and purpose when you tweet.
Twitter is not all work and no play
Obviously as a social networking site twitter is in essence a social platform. Respond to other people’s tweets. Retweet ideas.
Twitter feeds are constantly updating and the pace can be quite frantic so…
Think about who you interact with
At first you’ll probably be finding yourself wanting to follow everyone and everybody. Then once your twitter feed becomes a bit crazy you might tend to be a bit more judicious with who you follow. I tend to interact with are New Zealand/Australian tweeters. Firstly our educational systems are quite similar but more importantly time zones make it hard for us to interact with people who are asleep or are teaching. In general I’ve found Sunday night is a good time to catch a lot of New Zealand-based teachers on twitter, obviously during school hours you’re not going to get much interaction with teachers.