Goal: Make A Connection

Part of the Goals 2010 Challenge Series, Goal 10

Months after joining Twitter, I got the bug to meet my new friends face to face. After all, I had to see if this virtual relationship would extend to the physical world! Also, I had to prove to myself I was not nutty like many of my friends and family thought at the time. I attended conferences and met at least 20 folks from Twitter within a four month time frame. I am happy to report that all relationships transpired nicely in person. I believe the reason is that through Twitter, I am able to have short conversations with friends on a consistent basis. My family is scattered all over the world. Therefore, we rarely speak as much as I speak with my friends on Twitter. Communication is the foundation in any relationship, therefore, it makes sense to me that daily communication helps build tight-knit relationships. My long-term goal this year is to continue to meet many more friends I have connected with through social media. However, this series is about short-term goals or completing small steps to motivate you to complete your long-term goals. Therefore, the challenge today is to take the time to make a real connection with a person either on social media or in your surrounding community.

Friends, Followers, and Acquaintances

In our working environments, like our online environments we have many acquaintances. People laugh at social media when someone claims to have 10,000 followers or friends on their various profiles. However, many people can say the same about their physical environments. How many people have we shaken hands with at a conference, ball game, or other event? The amazing part about social media is that we have the potential of making acquaintances quickly. Why? It is not about the follower count, but more about building a strong Personal Learning Network (PLN). The more you have participating with various backgrounds and skills, then the wider your library of knowledge. It is like the difference between having 1000 books versus 10 books in your personal library. In modern terms, it’s like having 1000 bookmarks versus 10 bookmarks. Now, some wonder with search engines and Wikipedia why do we need people. I think of this as former arguments when people feared robots would replace all professions. Having a network of people for support really benefits you. Yes, I can sift through 1000s of links provided by a search engine, but why waste the time when I can ask a question on Twitter and have educated people provide me with resources they have already used? If I want to have a teacher group Skype my class at the last minute, then this is easily accomplished through having a variety of people you can choose from. Furthermore, the more people in your PLN, the more your message spreads. This is really helpful when you have a hashtag, event, survey, or collaboration project where you need contributions.

Connecting

At your school try introducing yourself to teachers you haven’t connected with by asking them questions. You could also try meeting the parents of your students. Today, I receive a new batch of students so this goal is quite easy for me. However, the key is to connect. Therefore, I am preparing to introduce myself to the parents, then communicate with them via a wiki page. If you want to connect through social media, here are some ideas.

  • Blogs- Leave a well-thought out comment in a blog you never visited before and subscribe to the blog to continue the conversation. Recently, I have met some wonderful new bloggers by doing this and they have inspired me to keep up with this series and complete these goals. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, comment back and visit their blog. Jerry Blumengarten, @Cybraryman1, regularly updates his educational blogs website with new links. You can also check this list of new bloggers!
  • Nings- Join a group, reply to a discussion, or leave a comment on someone’s page. Did you know that many of the nings will show you people’s birthdays. This feature should be on the right sidebar. Often, when I am visiting my ning page, I look and leave a happy birthday message for someone.
  • Facebook and LinkedIn- Add a new recommended friend and introduce yourself or join a group and respond to a link or discussion.
  • Twitter- Introduce yourself to a person who has connected with you. I have noticed Jerry does this often and shares a link related to their area of specialty. Genius! Some people have different ideas on this etiquette, but I like to thank people for retweets. Sometimes, I do this in a private dm and spark a conversation with the person. I see it as a way of communicating with people and have met many this way. However, this is only a suggestion. Above retweeting a post, try replying to that person about the link. You can ask the person a question about the link or respond with some information about the link.

These resources will help you on your journey to building your Personal Learning Network.

If you are new to the 30 day Goal challenge, then you may want to read this post with more details!

Challenge:

Make a connection with someone in either your local environment or through a social media network.

You may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

This is goal 10 of this series! If you’d like to join the challenge, please read this post!

Don’t forget to leave a comment that you accomplished this goal using the hashtag #30Goals!

What are your tips for making connections online and offline?


Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

16 comments

  1. Hi, Shelly!

    Thanks for the recommendations! You’re posts are really helpful to grow professionally and to improve our personal beings.
    Marisa

  2. Love this challenge as well. I’ve received some great tips and tricks from you and your guest bloggers that I plan to put into practice. Thanks for being the amazing educator that you are!
    Marti

  3. You know, a year ago I couldn’t even have imagined how useful these new technologies would become to my professional life. My biggest problem these days is actually an *excess* of input, connections, ideas and even goodwill from other teachers around the world.

    These days I find that where I have to make an extra effort is actually in connecting with teachers in my own department! So many don’t have online PLNs yet and don’t seem interested. I really hate to admit this, but it is getting a bit difficult sometimes to maintain engaging discussions on teaching with many of my ‘meatspace’ colleagues.

    Not because they don’t know their stuff–they certainly do–but because they just don’t offer the massive breadth and depth of information I have at my fingertips when I’m blog-surfing. Plus it gets a bit frustrating having to explain the usefulness of Twitter or edublogs all the time. 😉

    Anyone having this experience?

    • @Marcos Benevides,

      I’ve had the same experience and I’ve been called the “techieteacher” at the language school where I work; not in a negative way but with admiration. Anyway, none of the teachers make the effort to become acquainted with edtech. I’m far from being an expert bue I do my best to become updated so as to motivate my students.

  4. You were one of the main reasons I decided to give twitter a second try, and get more involved in all things related to technology for professional growth.
    Having just started my own blog, I can see the benefits this goal brings to all those who are willing to experiment the power of PLNs and how effective these may be in one’s professional life.

    Always a pleasure to follow your tweets and posts!

    Cheers,

    Henrick

  5. I follow you on Twitter and now I am going to follow your blog as well. The post has inspired me and supported my thinking.

    I am increasingly seeing, feeling and believing in the value of a social/connected network to my personal growth and learning. Groups like #lrnchat has taken my learning to a whole new level and I cannot be thankful enough for the technology that enables such knowledge sharing.

    Love your blog…I will keep reading…

    My Twitter id: sahana2802

  6. Shelly,
    You have become a master of the PLN. You make others feel welcome and included in the conversation right away. I appreciate these ideas to further connect and reach out.

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