When I think about my PLN I think about one of those flipbooks where each page has an image and as you quickly flip through the pages a single image becomes an animation. Sometimes I start at the beginning of the flipbook and sometimes I start in the middle. If my fingers are really sticky or I’m a little sluggish, I don’t see all the pages that pass by but just a few.
Each page holds a unique image that stands alone on its own but as a group it tells a story. At times I can refer to only one image to find what I want whether it be learning or pleasure or I can rely on more than one page or even the entire book to find accomplishment. My PLN is the same. I don’t use all of my network or tools everyday, or even every week. Some are used more often and some are pulled out for special occasions.
My PLN is composed of both individuals, whether it be single people or collaborative entities or organizations that contain reliable training resources like atomic learning or lynda.com. I have individuals in my network where I go to for inspiration or when I need an answer for a problem. By establishing a relationship through communication and collaboration, I have a network or people (or websites) that I know I can trust and feel confident I can get the help or guidance I am looking for.
Even though my job centers around online interactions, most of my most reliable resources are people whom I have seen face-to-face, can recognize them (and their voices), and would invite them into my home for dinner. In these relationships I feel that I often give as much to the network as I get from it, although it isn’t always an even exchange.
For my other social media interactions, for the most part, I am a taker, a user of information rather than a creator. So maybe these activities are my “P-Listening-N”. I am gradually trying to give back to the network and this is something that I need to work on. When I do create, I am not always sure that the artifact I create is being viewed by anyone, other then the intended. This might be part of my “P-L-Environment” where I am collecting, connecting, reflecting, and sharing. I do know what it feels like to get an unexpected comment as I mentioned in a previous post from experiences from my personal blog, so that anticipation continues on in my professional side. This feeling of building a community has encouraged me to make comments or give other feedback to an originator when I visit blogs or other social media site. I must admit though, being a user of information, might be one reason that I like twitter since the interface isn’t one that expects a response.
I see the potential for growth in my PLN as I’m able to focus on more clearly defined ideas about technology in education, social media, and other interests. When your interests are so varied it is something harder to focus in on specific resource that will help you and it often becomes overwhelming. I have learned to that I can’t read and participate in everything and I need to pick and choose. I can only see this getting easier as I get more focused.