As I close in on my first full year of being a “connected educator” I think about how I managed to be successful. I am atypical in that I fearlessly jumped in and started sharing with everyone. Now that I have been in the arena for a while longer, I feel like I have learned some very important things about being a connected educator. Here are some of my reflections in no specific order:
– You can’t see/do EVERYTHING. I am among the many connected educators with Yes disease. I say yes to nearly every project, request for information and challenge. It took me a while to realize I cannot do it all. I need to be more selective and decide what is most important to me in order to make sure I spend my limited time wisely.
– It’s ok to disagree! Some of the best conversations and the most interesting people I follow are people with whom I generally disagree.
– This is perhaps my most important lesson of all: You need to find your people. Being connected isn’t about building a PLN like a house, it is more like building a home. Your PLN is about the relationships. It is really about how and not who. It is about how you develop the relationships with your PLN, not who you add. If you are not creating meaningful relationships then things like twitter become overwhelming and fail to meet their goal.
You cannot just build up a PLN by adding people who you have seen or know. You have to engage with them, learn about them not just with them. That is how you get the most out of PLNs.