5 Steps for entering a social media PLN conversation
Social media communities like Twitter, Ning, and Elluminate have Personal Learning Network subgroup events that can be more of a challenge than opening up a Twitter account and trying to figure out what to do next. Finding your voice and jumping into an online conversation that’s loading upwards of 18,000 feeds per hour adds another few intense weeks onto your eight-month training period. These steps help out a little with finding a door to enter.
Social Media: PLN 7.2
In the previous blog (PLN 7.1) I shared some simple, but valuable tips for jumping into the wave of social media PLN’s. This blog post gets specific with identifying a few subgroups that have been making buzz in the K12 education online community and walking you through a less stressed entrance into their universe.
Step 1: Discover who’s who in the community
• Do a little checking around on those you are following. The first thing I do when doing an online background check begins with scrolling through 3 – 6 pages of their Twitter status updates to get a feel of how they’re using Twitter.
• Then I do a search for their username to find out more about whom they’re actually engaging in conversations.
• The next thing I do is follow their web linked to Twitter. If that proves uninteresting I may do a Google Search on their name matching the location and avatar found on Twitter to better match who’s who.
• If they are a blogger I usually enter the URL into my Google Reader to receive RSS feeds each time there is a new post.
Step 2: Closely follow those that have shared interest and personalities
As mentioned earlier following should actually mean following those you add to your PLN. Create client list and groups of those you’re most interested in following closely. And take time on the weekend to read their Twitter and blog post. There is no better way to connect with someone than to make comments on their blog. It is extremely exciting for a blogger to know that others appreciate their articles.
Step 3: Know which client and communities works best for you
Because there are literally thousands of applications known as clients used for social media communications I’ll narrow it down to a few for now and turn this post into a living document by posting updates when needed.
Tweetdeck: A highly favored free social media application offering a downloadable stand-alone program to install onto your computer. Tweetdeck is used by serious Twitter users for status updates for Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Ping, and other online social media communities from one window with flexibility of creating customized columns of search information, Tweet scheduling, status and a lot more.
Hootsuite: A fast growing social media client of choice because it offers everything Tweetdeck has, but there is no need to download a separate application. Hootsuite is a Twitter client service meaning all you need is a username and password and you can log onto any internet connected computer or smart phone and it’s on. Hootsuite is getting a lot of noise for being the outstanding Twitter client for Apple’s iPhone users.
Tweetgrid: Seems to be used in addition to Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and regular web users because of a much quicker real time status update feed. Users claim it feels more authentic offering a pause button so you can catch your breath between Tweets.
Elluninate: This client is a downloaded application created by social learning consultant Steve Hargadon that offers cutting edge PLN flexibility for educators, support staff, and students in both public and private communities.
Ning: A pioneering social media community platform that was quickly embraced by educators in the earlier days PLN boom before it acquired the name.
Step 4: Stage a few general topic comments
Setting aside time to stage a few prepared comments and scheduling them in advance to be posted during your PLN online event allows you to do some pre-background investigating, have multiple feeds in the conversation, and remain focused on the status updates that interest you the most all at once.
Step 5: Check for comment mentions about you frequently
Once you are engaged into the conversation like #edchat (Tue. 12pm/7pm EDT) or #nchat (Wed. 4pm PDT/7pm EDT) it’s not hard to forget that people in your PLN are commenting to your status updates without seeing them in the live feed because it maybe zipping by at the speed of light. Take your time, do your homework, and you’ll do fine.
Stay focused. Stay confident and come on in.
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