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.

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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?