Refining a PLN

Creating a PLN involves time and searching. Refining the PLN so that it is something of use to me in the future is the next step in my PLN formation. I think that I learned some important things from the article How to cultivate a personal learning network: Tips from Howard Rheingold. Here are two of my reflections from this week’s information.

First, some background…

I do not social network. I’m an introvert, remember? I tend to talk people in person or by phone. (You know, if I feel up to it!) If I am online it in is on Pinterest, where I can just check things out that other introverts put up.

This class has been a stretch for me. I am learning to interact on twitter, and write blog posts. I have no idea what I am doing, but I am learning. Thank you all, by the way, for your patience! This article was good as it helped me find better ways of interacting and learn to set some boundaries .

Be the friend you want to be. Awww….


Photo CC- by bekassine…

Interact, don’t just consume. I vaguely remember this from my first post on digital literacy. I had to admit that I was a digital consumer and provided absolutely nothing of value to the online community. I learned from the PLN tips that I need to interact. I need to interact not simply by way of reply, but by way of reciprocal provision.   When someone gives me a link, say thank you, and tell what I got out of it. Next time I see something they may like, I should send them a link. I need to try to have a mutually beneficial relationship with those in my PLN.

Set boundaries.

Beacon Boundry

Photo CC- by Lee Jordan

I learned that a personal learning network is an evolving organism. It grows, and it needs to change.   A PLN can change in two ways.

  1. I can continue to add to it as I find helpful contacts that provide excellent information.
  2. I can remove contacts that are not helpful.

The first is self-explanatory. The second is hard a bit more difficult. I worked for hours to find all those contacts! Now I need to cull some. There are some good reasons for this. They may be contacts that I chose because of their teacher-friendly profile, but they do not provide information about teaching. I have already seen this. I want to learn, I do not want to know what someone ate for lunch, or what illness their dog has at the moment.

Also, they also could be providing great information, but not any that is relevant to my field. For example, I choose some subject-specific twitter contacts that I am very excited about. However, I have a limited amount of time to glean good info. If it cannot be used in the field of elementary education, I will likely drop the contact after a while.

Last, has anyone else found twitter contacts to be advertisers? They lured me in with edu-speak and then – BAM – junk in the social networking part of my Gmail inbox! This has only happened to me a couple of times, but I am not interested in advertising. Following these twitter accounts is like providing my phone number to telemarketers so they can give me a phone call during dinner.

When I have set my boundaries and begin to cull contacts, I already know I will feel guilty. Will this hurt their feelings? Will it reflect poorly on me?

Answer: No, it will be fine.  I need to focus on refining my PLN so that it helps makes me a great teacher and a helpful asset to others who include me in their PLN in the future.


4 thoughts on “Refining a PLN

  1. I’ve got to say, for someone who’s not an avid social media-ite or blogger, your posts are some of the more-organized and better reads, in my opinion.

    Funny story about Twitter advertisers: one of my new follows was a page about writing where they would have tweets every day that offered hollow, “inspirational” words like “To write, you’ve got to want to write,” but the page never shared anything about successful writers or the market or anything. They sent me a personal message asking if I wanted a writing job, and after doing a little digging, I found out they’re an online scam. One of those places that “pays you for your opinion.”

    I thought I was too choosy with my follows, apparently I wasn’t choosy enough!


    • That’s funny! That’s when it is time to say thanks, but no thanks, I no longer want to be your friend or follower.
      Thank you for the complement, I have found that I really enjoy writing, and it is nice to hear that I am able to communicate what I intend to.


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