Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Question of the Day: On Building a PLN In an Age of Mainstreamed Social Media
Question of the Day: "Is It Harder Now In 2011 to Build a PLN Than It Was Before the Mainstreaming of Social Media?"
Though engaged in all sorts of online endeavors since the earl 90's, I only began in earnest putting my education PLN together back in 2008 through minor blogging endeavors and some freelance writing. It was in the winter of 2009 that I got into Twitter and I recall that for about the first three months, I didn't even make a post. I remember reading the tweets and blogs of other folks and I recall becoming so full of anxiety whenever I would leave a comment. (I probably checked to see if anyone commented on my comments several times a day at the beginning...)
It was only with the creation of this blog and my cross-pollination of content into the Twitterverse that I started to feel more comfortable with social media -- despite the fact that I'd been engaged in one way or another going all the way back to the days of BBS boards. Things started picking up. Eventually (eventually!) I found my own voice, and of course now I feel completely at ease in my writing, in my commenting, and in my tweets.
I wonder though if it was easier engaging in a PLN in early 2009 -- before the mainstreaming of social media -- than it is today. We often talk about how events in the summer of '09 changed the public perception of social media. From the China earthquake to the Iranian protests to the founders of Twitter on the cover of Time magazine to FB hitting 500 quadrillion members (slight exaggeration), that summer saw social media go big. And I wonder if that actually makes it more difficult to engage.
And I'm not talking about the number of followers you have. That's relatively arbitrary. I'm talking about the quality of connection you are able to make. I'm talking about the ability to foster professional -- and personal -- connections via this huge and ever moving arrangement.
I would like to see the community here give some practical advice to those folks plugging their user ID into Twitter for the first, second, or third time. What should they expect? How can they leverage social media to get the most good out of it? Why is it worth their time? And is it harder today (or not)?
Let's hear it in the comments and get some conversation going.