There are many different steps and areas to cover when creating your very own Personal Learning Network. Since it is personal, it varies from individual to individual. The tools I use and add to my own PLN are different from my classmates on this very blog. Yet, there are a few steps to take into account when setting up your own PLN. The video below is a great introduction to what we will be talking about here.
Your PLN is essentially a strategic plan to asks questions like:
- Where are we now?
- Where are we going?
- How will we get there?
These simple questions will direct you in the path you need to go on to discover different outlets for your PLN. Your PLN functions need to address 3 simple attributes to the questions. Connect – Collaborate– and Contribute. Your PLN needs to fit into these 3 categories to fully optimize your PLN connections.
If you haven’t already done so, connect with all social media sites you feel comfortable with. Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, WordPress, Twitter, Reddit, etc. This will instantly put your internet footprint on the map. You are now digital. This is a vital aspect to starting your PLN. This WordPress blog on PLN’s shows a great example of how to get started and connect through the internet. The quote, “Engage with participants through introductions by commenting on fellow participant introductions, two or three is ideal”, is a perfect example of how connecting Segway into collaborating. You don’t want to just be a fly on the wall, you want to be a participant.
Taking a page from my own PLN, connecting is just the first step into broadcasting your network. If you have a business, make sure to create a facebook page. Don’t worry about getting likes and attention right away. Build your page slowly and methodically. Your audience wants to know you for you, and not read jargon just for content. Take a look at my facebook page for my business Bisous Box. My site hasn’t launched yet, but I have 6 people already “liking” a page that isn’t fully developed.
This is the first step in connecting with a audience, and creating a worthwhile PLN. Once you’ve found the tools you need to connect, and you’ve signed up and started your pages, it’s time to collaborate. One last word on connecting, if you don’t know where to find the tools you need to connect, well look no further then this blog! We have tons of recommendations on the best sites to utilize for both PLN’s AND curation! A lot of it is also personal preference. You’ll hear about certain sites, check them out, and decide if it’s for you or not. Always look for sites that are well integrated into other sites so it’s easy to add to your bookmarking toolbar (like Diigo), or other forms of connection.
Collaborating is another word for participating. Like I said before, you don’t want to be just a fly on the wall. It’s important to get involved with online communities and leave your opinions on pages, likes, comments, reblogging, etc. All these actions will link back to your own pages, and ultimately YOU. This site has 20 great tips that expand on this idea. My friend point from this site is:
“Consider your role. The article “Individual Learning” sheds some light on learning roles. Consider your learning style when designing a specific approach to your PLN:
- Activist-Learning by doing, such as writing a blog.
- Reflector- Learn by reviewing situations, such as posting opinions to articles.
- Theorist-Prefer to learn by researching information and data, such as by creating a model.
- Pragmatist-Apply learning to real situations, such as by creating a project that uses PLNs in the classroom.”
This is a perfect example of collaboration to build a PLN. You need to consider your role for your own network. You can’t be all things, it’s not interesting to read about someone who is a “jack of all trades, master of none” type. It’s more interesting to hear from someone who has the credentials and skills for one topic, it makes the reading more insightful and legitimate. So chose your role carefully. Don’t change your tone, or stances once you’ve started to great content and collaborate within your PLN. My personal role is Activist.
Here’s an image from my facebook business site that links to what my webpage is talking about. The sneak peek for the website shows three different components on the home page. The first being “Grab some Goodies” which is the shopping section. The second is “Talk to the Wiener” which is the text blog where Sex education is implemented into the site, and the third, “Kiss and Tell” is a video interview section where sex education interviews with adult industry professionals, educators, sexologist’s, and more share their stories and information. I’ve decided my role as Activist, and my tone and personality doesn’t change from each post. This is important to maintain a page that is reliable in its content.
Contributing to posts, your own and others, is the final step we will talk about here. It’s important to become and be a voice through the internet by adhering to the above information. By connecting, collaborating, and finally contributing, your PLN will be on its way to becoming as useful as it’s meant to be. You can contribute to posts on subject matters like your own, but don’t spam! The best way to contribute is by creating your own content (whether personal or business) and bringing people to your information.
There are also many different ways to contribute, it doesn’t all have to be over the internet. Contribute with friends, colleagues, and strangers. Carrying around business or personal cards that links back to your PLN sites, is a awesome way to bring your audience straight to you. When people know you in person, they’re more likely to follow and like your posts. Take for example my own business cards. They are simple and straight to the point, and also have a QR Code for people who have the “Scan” app on their phones.
This is a fantastic way to contribute to your own PLN outside of the internet, and it’s very effective. Give your cards to anyone and everyone, you’d be surprised as to how many people follow through with checking out what you have to say, when you give a direct link, and make it as easy as possible. I got my cards from MOO.com, which is a fantastic card and etc company. A little on the pricey side, but totally worth it.
Contributing inside the internet is easy too. We’ve talked about posts and linking back to your site. This is extremely important for people who normally wouldn’t know you exist, to find you. Create a name that embodies who you are, or what your is business is all about, and use that name for EVERYTHING.
There are so many ways to contribute to your own PLN and create your internet footprint, it’s really up to you, and what makes you feel comfortable. Since it’s YOUR Personal Learning Network, there is no right or wrong way, just your way.
This post is an introduction to create your own PLN, and the right links and tools to look for. Please click the highlighted and underlined links to take you to personally recommended sites. Lastly, when creating your own PLN, remember to always link back to your site when leaving your collaboration and contributions on other sites, like I did here. Stay connected.
- Grow your PLN with Social Bookmarking as a tool- Reddit (english406curation.wordpress.com)
- Finding the right tools for your PLN (english406curation.wordpress.com)
- Tools for Setting Up Your Own PLN’s (english406curation.wordpress.com)
- PLN – motivate and move forward – Dean Groom Blog (english406curation.wordpress.com)
- Pearltrees.com App specifically for PLN and Curation (english406curation.wordpress.com)
- Twitter Tracking (english406curation.wordpress.com)
- Web 2.0 PLN Best How to Site (english406curation.wordpress.com)