Home > PLN, Process Teaching, Social Networking > 5 Tips for jumping into the wave of Twitter PLN’s

5 Tips for jumping into the wave of Twitter PLN’s

Personal learning network or as we educators have embraced PLN to be the newest and coolest way to connect, develop, and learn more about our craft and the people that share our profession. There isn’t an exact science for growing your PLN (group of people you go to for information) using social media platforms, but jumping into the wave can feel like putting your toes into a large body of water to test the temperature before slowly dipping in. So here are some tips to warm the water before the jump.

Social Media: PLN 7.0

No needs to stress out over trying to fit into social media personal learning networks if you are feeling like you are behind the learning curve. I tend to always miss participating with the newest and hottest thing on the market. Whether it’s the most popular car, latest shoes crave, or state of the art technology, I jump into the wave well after the ripples turn dribbles. Even creating my blog and later @K12Live were several years behind everyone else – I know how you feel.

Tip 1: Get a web link. If you don’t have a personal website, blog, or Linkedin to link to your Twitter account create a Google Profile and use that URL web address. Google profiles are a great tool because you can put as much or as little info as you want and instantly become part of Google’s community. Don’t leave the web address blank because you’re building a PLN and being transparent is very personal for allowing other to learn about you.

Tip 2: Google search for: eBooks on Twitters for teachers; Social media for teachers; Twitter communities for educators; Nings for PLN and educators and classroom. Look for these groups on Facebook and Linkedin as well. This type of research gets you more familiar with what’s out the without before jumping in to the water.

Tip 3: Pick a username for branding yourself. Make it as short as possible and easy to write down when your say, “You can find me on twitter @___________.” Make it as simple as possible for them to find you on twitter and follow the web link to more contact info like email, other profiles, blogs, and phone if you like. (Create a Twitter account here.)

Tip 4: Join an established Twitter community. There hundreds of ways to build your list of people to follow, but joining a group that shares your interest is going to reduce the stress of building your PLN. Here are a few that I belong to, tell them I sent you: PB works twitter4teacher, Classroom 2.0, Elluminate, The Educator’s PLN, Edutopia, K12Live Facebook, and I have assembled over 1000 teachers and support staff in the following folder of @K12Live. (also see pp 36 – 39 of Best Year Teaching for more)

Tip 5: Meet people. Follow greet and meet instructions learned from your grandmother and read this eBook from Steve Hargadon on Social Networking in Education. I’ll follow up with more detailed tips for jumping into specific online communities in my next blog post.

Best Year Teaching: If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

  1. May 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm


    Great, concise, and useful guide. I might also add, once you are signed-up with Twitter, get involved with an online education chat like #edchat or #musedchat (if you’re a music teacher). PLNs consist of very friendly people and exist just to make learning easier, better, and provide extensive networking/mentoring possibilities.

    • May 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Dr. @pisanojm,

      You gave a sneak peek into my next post. Just working on it now. I’ve been trying to keep them under 400 words. But I wasn’t aware of #musedchat. Just added the column in my HootSuite. By the way, #edchat posted a Facebook page last night here http://www.facebook.com/pages/EdChat/113575728680477?ref=ts.

      Do you have any suggested blog links or key tips on the subject of getting the most out of your PLN relationships?

    • May 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      Hey JP, just posted the second part of the PLN series http://wp.me/pnW9u-ig. Let me know what you think. -Carter | @laroncarter

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