I’m a little fixated on this idea of a personal learning network (PLN). Not because it’s new — as I wrote in a previous post, I’ve been building my network for years. I’m fixated because I want it to be better! I want it to be more interactive — less of me just sponging up all the information out there and more of me providing something useful to others. I can’t really call it paying it forward, because I’ve got years of being the sponge to pay back first.
The idea for this post came from a weak link in my current PLN. Two semesters ago, I ran across a presentation on SlideShare that fit perfectly with a project I was working on for ADLT 650. I found the creator of the presentation on Twitter and decided to follow her. For months, her posts would show up in my feed but not really resonate with me. Then, this morning, two posts from her that reached out and slapped me across the face in terms of their relevance to my studies. The first was a primer for open education. The second was a TED talk by Dave Eggers on a tutoring program he founded for inner city school children with the help of his writers network. Of what relevance is that to adult education? Maybe none directly, but in the course of his talk, Eggers spoke of opening the tutoring center and waiting weeks before the first children came in for help. That got me thinking about my PLN and how I built it but am still looking for the right tools to bring people to it. To borrow from my current profession, I haven’t done a good job of marketing my PLN.
So how do I bring my PLN to life? How do I get — as one of my classmates said — the connections that I reached out to to reach back to me? Another classmate tweeted that all I needed to do was reference the boy band One Direction, and I would have an instant following. In fact, just by tweeting that to me, she gained another follower! (We’ll see if that holds true for this blog post!) But she’s got a point… I need to write about stuff that other people want to read. The internet may be the great platform of participation, but I need to find ways to cut through the clutter and be found. I’m open to any and all suggestions!