Creating and Maintaining Your Personal Learning Network


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Presentation at the Tennessee Library Association 2013 Conference on April 25 with my colleague, Erin Holt.

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  • HI!
  • Quite simply put it’s the people with whom you meet and exchange information. Our mentors, friends, staff, family, the people with whom we are here in this room with. Meetings today can take place on and off-line. Acquaintances can become subject experts with whom you engage online. The great thing about library staff is that we are all so generous with information already and willing to help our communities and each other in person and online. Connecting via a social network is a great extension of our natural networking efforts and has become a vital means for us to connect across our communities, state and the world. If you think about it, most people naturally have several networks beginning with their own families, friends, other professionals, church, etcetera.
  • We already have networks. Social networking enables us to capitalize on our existing networks and tap into the collective knowledge to create a personal learning network. Many of our networks will have some overlap as illustrated here. You don’t have to go online to network but doing so will exponentially increase your personal learning network. Also as we all know, in our field it is no longer possible to ignore the online aspect if we are to be good library staff and able to assist our community with digital literacy. I’m going to say over 67% of all adults who are online are on a social media network ( as the figure comes from a March 2012 Pew study. Odds are people you know are already online and there is no need to be shy.
  • Start with coworkers / friends in the profession, then branch out to your local library association, use email listservs relevant to your field of librarianship, and lastly, keep connected online with social networks.
  • Okay, I’m going to make a huge assumption that everyone here has an email address. This is a library conference so that feels pretty safe to say. All of should have this network already. How many email contacts do you have? Email is a great way of networking and provides a great base for starting your own personal learning network. Most social networks that you connect with can search your address book, if you choose to let them do so, and initiate contacts for you. Be aware that some do use your address book to spam your email contacts by saying that you just joined xxxx and would they like to join to.Picture:
  • This is just a snap shot of all the different places you can be online. It’s nice in that it identifies websites, aps, and tools that you can use in having your presence online. It’s also rather overwhelming. Generally you will want to pick one of the more popular social networks detailed on the right here *click* or go with one of the professional social networks such as linkedin and slideshare *click* which is where we will have this slideshow posted shortly. So we will have an example of our work online, that speaks to our willingness to collaborate and work with others (one might assume), and it is something that can turn up if someone is looking for us online but isn’t extremely personal. Other options include blogging and this is a fairly current list of blog sites. *click*Other social networks are mentioned here at the top *click* I have found librarians on G+. MySpace has just geared up again if you had a presence there, it could just be updated.Basically any of these would be a great spot to have some sort of professional presence. Enable yourself to be established online, be found by others and make your self shine.For the general public this would be a good handout. It’ll look bigger when projected too. I had to change the zoom to 100 to work on it, lol!
  • These are the ones we will be looking at as the major means of starting a PLN. These would give you the widest net and the easiest means of starting a PLN – if you’re nervous, just pick ONE social network, and branch out from there as you get more comfortable. The key is to be INTERACTIVE – don’t be afraid to speak your mind- you’ll find like minded folks and non-like minded folks – creating a more well rounded PLN – keep your privacy settings in mind and your professional reputation when posting to the social networks – some librarians have separate personal / professional accounts – you have to decide what is best for your needs.
  • Once you’ve sent some Friend requests and you do have to make them as well as accept them, the people who do accept the friend request will be prompted to suggest friends for you so you can build a network quickly. Facebook is usually a blend of personal and professional. It’s a more casual atmosphere with lots of memes and humor as well as professional news to be shared. Think carefully about how you are building your presence here and set your privacy settings accordingly too. On a professional level, many libraries & companies maintain a facebook PAGE, while individuals have an actual PROFILE which can be a blend or more personal. Remember your audience & your reputation that you want to build when posting pictures etc.
  • Twitter is a microblogging site. You can easily establish a professional reputation here by posting relevant articles and news to your profession. It’s also easy to communicate with others via direct messaging and responding to their tweets. Twitter makes you be very concise in your thinking as you have only 140 characters to use and those can be used up in sharing links & photos.
  • This is DIFFERENT from FB & Twitter – this is purely 100% professional -- Important to complete your profile here as this is the most well-known professional social network. You can be judged on your tech knowledge and skills by your profile. Connections have to be accepted and LI does want there to be a real connection, asks how you know people albeit briefly. Ideally you want to get 3 recommendations too so LI won’t be fussing at you about completing your profile. You can put as much or as little information as you want here and you want at least enough for people to find and recognize you. Very important to update your info so it doesn’t get stale, more frequently if job hunting.Make sure your connections are legitimate & not spam.
  • Here is your chance to INTERACT – read blog posts that pertain to your field in librarianship and then, don’t be afraid to post your thoughts in the comments – some of the greatest conversations online can take place in the comments section of a blog post – and chances are, from those comments, you will expand your PLN and be able to connect with those other commenters via Twitter, FB and email.
  • Find people
  • There are ways to connect your networks so that information is easier to maintain plus cross-posted and you look more active. Be careful with scheduling though as people can figure out that and on some networks like Twitter it’s more expected that your will be responsive in a timely fashion. Some of these make it easier to do a quick check on your online presence. Yeah we can try the scoopit ones you posted on the next 2 slides. (will have to keep track of our time)
  • Allows for schedulingSet up searches by keywordsPost on a variety of networks – All the rules still apply such as 140 character limit on Twitter, etc
  • Visual like Pinterest but cross posting is super easy. Provides a bookmarklet like pintererstPeople can follow you.Limited stats without subscriptionCuration site
  • Twitter manager only by Twitter
  • Responding in a timely fashion doesn’t have to mean instantaneously so don’t go crazy but don’t wait days to respond either. – good point FlipboardZiteInstapaperReederWays to get your information in different format so you can find what’s comfortable via your device
  • slide for going to pln maintenance - Now that you’ve got some suggestions, let’s CHARGE ahead!
  • Everyone kinda goes thru these stages. From immersion to evaluation to obsession and then back to reality & recognizing how nice it feels to not be connected for a little bit, then to trying to balance out. It’s okay to go on vacation and it’s getting harder to avoid and not be connected. Everyone needs downtown though. With the networks you’ll find that you do need to announce when you are taking a break so that people are not messaging you while you are gone or wondering what happened. It’s best to think of online networks, especially twitter and facebook, as streams of knowledge. You gotta dip in regularly but it is not humanly possible to keep up with the information stream/flood that is received. Set a time limit for daily use if possible and then use apps to get notifications so you hopefully don’t miss anything important.
  • Remember that Facebook and Twitter have different limits and voices. Then mix in how you want to be perceived in each network. Maybe you are more casual in Facebook, a little more revealing but not too much!, so that if asked in a professional setting such as an interview you can explain how you utilize each network. Remember that anything negative can be shared and never goes away. Tone and intent do not carry well in text based communications and it’s real easy for others to project onto what you write or even edit it sometimes. That said, you can’t live in fear of what might happen and having a plan to be respond is appropriate. Apologize if necessary, explain concisely and repeat as needed. Don’t feed trolls.Respond as soon as you can to DMs, acknowledge RTs even if you just favorite it (it does mean a lot to people when they see it. Oooo, yalsafavorited that!). Facebook emails, linkedin emails, etc. Use apps that will send you push notifications on smart devices or have the networks send you email notifications if that’s your prime medium.Be consistent. Use the same/similar avatar/picture so you are identifiable. For professional, think about tone.Make yourself easy to find.
  • The big question.How much time should I dedicate to this?You do want to set a limit. It can be a dophamine high to get a RT, favorite, a story shared on Facebook, conversation via Linkedin. Most but not all activity online occurs between 9-8 or so. Nothing is exact but remember, you can’t keep up with it all, even if you are the world’s best library staffer. You do need to eat, exercise, our bosses would like us to work some, and our families want us to look at them and not have a screen inbetween us.Time limits can vary depending on each of us and life’s demands and what we are willing to give up to put to it. Networking and work give us feedback which makes it very appealing compared to life’s other demands such as housework, cooking, etc.
  • Creating and Maintaining Your Personal Learning Network

    1. 1. Creating and Maintaining YourPersonal Learning Network
    2. 2. P 2
    3. 3. What’s in it for YOU?• FREE consulting with other professionals• Instant news• Exponentially more contacts to help withresearch & finding information• Locate resources such asexperts, websites, links, blogs, articles & more• Find & create communities of commoninterests• Share stories• Get tech tips• Create and share your work• Get help, empathy & sympathy
    4. 4. YoufamilyCo-workersTLAKnittersFriendsof thelibrary
    5. 5. Where to Find Your PLN• Start with the peopleyou know• Email• Professional Associations• Social Networks
    6. 6. Email
    7. 7. Social Networks• Facebook• Twitter• LinkedIn• Blog
    8. 8. Facebook• Find library staff that you know personally• Find & follow people you admire• Check business cards, websites, blogs…• See who the people you’ve friended have forfriends• Look at blogs and websites forlinks to Facebook pages• Like pages for ALA, PLA, TLA• Look to see who has liked postson the same pages as you• Professional publications
    9. 9. Twitter• Identify library staff that you know &/or admire.Use Twitter search to find them• Check business cards, blogs, websites• See who the people you’ve selected followand are followed by• Look at their lists• Check Retweets to see if they may be aperson of interest• Look for #ff,Follow Friday suggestions• Follow conference & webinarhashtags to expand yournetwork, #tnla13
    10. 10. LinkedIn• Find library staff you know personally• Check people’s business cards, blogs,websites• ‘People You May Know’ suggestions• Search for people from former workplaces• Look at your connections’ connections• Join groups such as TLA, ALA, LibraryLeadership and look at members• Professional publications
    11. 11. Blogs• Identify library staff that you admire• Find their individual and/or organizationalblogs• Subscribe to their blogs RSS feed• See who they recommend Follow links on theirblog• See if people you follow elsewhere have blogs• Check people’s business cards• Professional publications
    12. 12. Top Lists•••••
    13. 13. Connect Your Networks• Hootsuite• Social Oomph• TweetDeck•
    14. 14. Hootsuite
    15. 15.• Share across multiplenetworks• Edit tweet• Add comment for Facebook• Provides short url forposting elsewhere
    16. 16. Apps• All of the social networks mentionedare available as apps for both iOSand Android• Apps are available for RSS feeds aswell (Newsify, Feedly, Newsblur)• Set alerts on your tablet orsmartphone so that you are notified ofnew activity / mentions on varioussocial networks• Respond in a timely fashion• Remember, interaction is keyin maintaining your PLN
    17. 17. Tap the Power of Your PLN
    18. 18. PLN Maintenance• Different voices for different networks• Be positive• Be human – share your accomplishments• Be responsive• Be consistent across networks• Link to your differentnetworks
    19. 19. Key points & conclusions• Create an account on a social network youfeel the most comfortable• Lurk - Set your privacy setting high at firstwhile you get a feel for how the socialnetwork operates and how you want toparticipate• Set guidelines for yourself, keeping youronline reputation / professional vs personalpresence in mind• Don’t be shy, interact• Be adventurous, go out of yourprofession for new ideas• You get out of it what you put intoit
    20. 20. ••••••••••• http://www.slideshare.comKey Websites in Creating &Maintaining your PLN
    21. 21. Questions? Contact us!• Jeffie NicholosonEmail: jnicholson@williamson-tn.orgTwitter: @jeffielibrarianErin HoltEmail: eholt@williamson-tn.orgTwitter: @LibrarianE13Williamson County Public LibraryTwitter: @wcpltnFacebook:
    22. 22.