Get Your Networking On!

I never really understood the importance of all this until my former social media guru showed me how to build a network. Now, I find it a useful part of my education world, and also my blended one. For education, it really makes a difference in connecting to like minded people across the country. But it can also be really overwhelming to keep up with different accounts for personal and professional reasons. So the following tips are designed to help make it more manageable as well as more personalized. You get to be selective when using social media for professional reasons. Go ahead and jump in!

Here are a few pointers to get you started down your educational social media journey:

  • Pick one platform for work and keep the others separate. I like Twitter for work and I keep everything else separate for personal use. LinkedIn is a thing where I keep a resume, but I fully admit it isn’t one I use regularly, though that would technically be work related too. By selecting just one, you can feel like it is manageable and not consuming your life by being on too many sites.
  • Market yourself – especially if your company is a vendor. I have worked for two companies that are technically vendors. This is really challenging when you want to attend or present at a conference. Immediately they judge the RFP and assume that you will be selling something. So, sell yourself. Make yourself your brand and highlight your expertise. There needs to be a reason for conference committees to accept your ideas and knowledge; the more you can point to your public work – a blog, social media account, webinars hosted, etc.- the better your chances of getting to present.
  • Follow people who matter to you in the education world. They often can spark great discussions or give tips for your content areas. You don’t need to follow any and everyone…just those that matter to you. If you are a math teacher, Jo Boaler, Dan Meyer, and Geoff Krall are great places to start. If you are interested in the national conversation, try Ed Week, eSchoolNews, or Edutopia. Just start small and pick what matters to you. It’s not all or nothing. The great thing is that you can be picky.
  • Be bold. Reach out to people when you have a question. As part of a book club, I posted my results from an exercise found in Elena Aguilar’s The Art of Coaching. I mentioned her in the post and had a nice exchange as a result.

    You never know what response you are going to get. So throw it out there – ask and you shall receive from most people.

  • Know your communities. Sure I was pretty excited when for some unknown reason I received a notification that Taye Diggs was following me. Sweet! Still not sure why, but what’s better is when people who are part of my professional learning network (PLN) jump into my world. You just have to know where to look. Hashtags are amazing for educators! Instead of just getting sucked into a social media feed, be specific with your posts and search for what you need.

It’s always really fun to meet someone in person who you know from your social media channels. So, find great minds, be adventurous, and try to dabble a bit in an area of education where you’d like support. There are great people out there willing to help – you just need to network to find them. You might be surprised what you will find and what you can learn.

Share your tips for educational social media in the comments.