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PLN in place. Now what? Start sharing!

During the past few weeks, Bob Bertsch and I have been talking about Personal Learning Networks (PLN) – the definition, the importance and how to set them up. Once you have your PLN tools in place, you immediately start learning.  But equally important is to start sharing. You’ll get a lot more out of your PLN by joining the conversation versus just lurking.

Just this morning I read a local blog that was interesting and I wanted to join in the conversation by posting something to the Comments section. Problem is, the blog had comments “turned off” – you could only read the blog but not comment, ask a question, or offer additional information. The very nature of a blog is social – authors realize their posts will be public, so I’m not sure why she would choose to not have commenting turned on. Her blog post is a one-way conversation. She dishes out the information and you consume it. And the story ends there.  

I’m on the other side of the coin with this blog post. People can post comments below and I would welcome any feedback. It’s reassuring when people read your posts and are inspired enough to get involved in the conversation. I’d much rather have someone post something negative about my blog post versus not saying anything at all. Getting feedback is very helpful. It can help you understand others’ opinions, or elaborate or learn more on the topic at hand.

A couple of months ago Bob and I were looking for an editorial calendar template that we could use to plan social media postings. We started with Google and both ended up with a major virus on our computers when trying to download a decent template we found. Looking back, it would’ve been much easier to reach out to our colleagues on Twitter and eXtension to see if they had a template they liked working with that they would share with us. I will surely try that route next time instead doing a Google search. That would’ve been a perfect example of working in my PLN and getting a relevant template in my hands – both safely and quickly.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get butterflies in my stomach each time I post something to social media. Did I spell everything right? Is it relevant? Does the link work? While we always strive to look professional in our posts, a typo here or an unbroken link there isn’t the end of the world. It humanizes you. And you can usually go back to edit a post, or at least acknowledge the error or need for clarification.

The point is to get out there and do it – share your thoughts. Provide additional information. Give your two cents worth if you disagree. I would love to see us with many shares, comments and followers on Facebook like these large universities. We’re not a Big 10 and we’re not Ivy League but that doesn’t mean the work we do isn’t any less important, interesting or relevant.

Would love to hear your sharing success stories in the Comments section below. Happy sharing!

Sonja Fuchs
Web Technology Specialist
North Dakota State University




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