Using Social Media Productively Through PLN’s

Before I start rambling about my newfound knowledge of how to use social media in a productive way, I would like to ask you readers a question- What do you use social media for? Maybe some of you use it to pass the time or just because it is interesting to see what all of your friends are up to. Maybe some of you use it to see how many followers you can get or how many likes or favorites you can collect. Honestly, neither of those are negative or incorrect, so don’t get me wrong here. I would just like to give you a new idea. Well, it may be new for some of you, but not all. It is a very simple, yet effective, strategy to social media- PLN.

PLN is short for Personal Learning Network, which, in short, after doing some research, is filling your social media feed with information and the knowledge of others that is actually beneficial to yourself! And by ‘yourself’ I mean that it relates to things that interest you, such as your hobbies or career! How crazy is that?!

No more pointless videos of students fighting at school while tens of people observe and video them, and no more people rambling on about politics and telling everyone how they are wrong for not believing in their opinions, or, my personal favorite, your friend who you haven’t seen since middle school posting a picture of what she had for lunch and acting like people actually care about it! Constructing your own PLN can make social media a productive part of your day and can have a huge benefit.

I have recently started establishing my own Personal Learning Network. I created a new account for one of my online classes and I have come to find that this can be a lot harder than it looks. Some of the struggles I have encountered early on include being too picky about who I follow and how I should find credible and useful accounts that will benefit me personally. So, I started out by clicking the search icon on the Twitter app on my iPhone. I then searched ‘education’, which is my major. I found a countless number of accounts that I could follow, but I scrolled through some of them for about a half hour to see if the information they were sharing would benefit me. I ended up following just a small number of accounts.

I came back to my feed during some free time and saw that there were only a handful of tweets from when I was last on. I then realized that I needed to follow more accounts, so I did. I searched ‘elementary education’ and ‘special education’ into the search bar and followed almost every account that I thought could be useful at some point. At this point I was just desperate to have something on my feed. However, to my surprise, I was delighted at the information that was being posted onto my newly established twitter feed.

There were inspirational quotes, great facts, and there were links to articles and blogs from professors and teachers all across the globe that somehow related to my life. I suddenly felt the power of social media! It was like I was sitting in a room full of people who shared the same interests as me, but were much smarter than me. I was filled with facts and ideas and felt like I was reading a book on education with hundreds of authors rather than scrolling through a twitter feed.

I would definitely encourage all of you reading this to either adjust your twitter feed or create a new page that can be created using a PLN from the start. This will give you great ideas and keep you interested in your career choice, hobby, or however you choose to customize your new social media life!

Check out the article on this tweet below for more information.

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6 thoughts on “Using Social Media Productively Through PLN’s

  1. I have had a very similar experience in creating my very own PLN this week. Prior to this class, I used social media as a way to keep “in touch” with friends and it also served as a main source of current events and news stories. It took much longer than I had expected to find 100+ education related accounts to follow, but now, I have a Twitter feed that is packed with an endless stream of ideas, information, blogs, and research from other experienced educators! I have really enjoyed expanding my learning network in a way that fits my own interests and needs. I feel like creating this PLN and continuing to let it grow from here will be extremely beneficial in the future.

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    1. I was also the same way before I created my own PLN this week. I used social media as a way to stay up to date with my fiends and family, but I also used it for entertainment. Honestly, it never occurred to me to use for my career. It has been a great first week using my PLN. The problem I have had this week is finding people and accounts to follow that have useful information to tweet. I had over 100 followers, but I then had to unfollow a lot of them because the tweets were either useless or they hardly ever tweeted. I have been spending the last few hours trying to find some great accounts, but it has been difficult! Than you for your comment!

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  2. I’m glad you noticed that your feed didn’t have much action since you last logged on. That’s a good sign that you need more active professionals in your list. Also, when I find a really good account, I sometimes look at the list of people THEY follow to see if there’s someone I should be following. Once you find some a large group of accounts to follow on your area of interest, it’s like a constant stream of information. It can be very inspirational. By replying and using legitimate hashtags, it’s pretty easy to get into the conversation. I use Facebook for personal stuff, but Twitter and blogs are definitely my “go to” places for professional information. 🙂

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    1. I am so glad you brought up the point about looking at other people’s followers too. I guess I had never really thought about that. I will have to go and give that a try! Using hashtags is great because, if you use the right one, people who may not follow either one of us could join in the conversation. That is so useful. I have another twitter account for my personal interests and anything that looks interesting, but it is so nice having one that is all about me and my future goals! Thank you for the comment.

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  3. Jacob,
    Great post! You really made me think about what I use social media for, and I realized that I really do waste a lot of time on looking at material that will never benefit me, especially educationally. I am glad to hear that you found some good special education accounts to follow, that is my area! I have found a ton of great accounts by just searching “Special Olympics,” which give a lot of fun stories and insight. Good luck in your PLN adventure!

    Haley

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    1. Haley,
      I am glad you saw how unproductive social media can be if it is used wrong. And that is why it carries such a negative connotation. If everyone had, at least, the intention of starting a PLN then maybe the term ‘social media’ would be a positive term. I am also doing special education along with my K-8! That is so great! Thank you for your comment. Good luck to you too in your PLN endeavor!

      Jacob

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