Saturday, April 30, 2011

PLN Problems Part 1

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Something that has been weighing heavy on my mind lately is how my views on my PLN has changed. I am not saying that my network of educators and technology cohorts are not trustworthy and of course invaluable. I do believe I am the professional that I am today because of my wide-ranging network.

My concern is in regard to the increasing frequency that questions and/or posted resources go without comment. There are times in which I would like to have opinions, links, support, etc. and get no response. I gather from reading posts by others, it is not an uncommon for posts to go unnoticed.

With your help, I may have some answers. Please take time to fill out my Google Form so I can gather data for a second blog post.


TJ Shay said...


I feel the same way you do at times. In fact, I rarely post to Twitter anymore because of the sound of the crickets after I post. It feels like posting to a vacuum. However, to be honest, I go to tons of links I have found on Twitter, but I don't always go back and retweet or give a thanks shout out. I guess the answer might involve faith. I guess you have to post things and hope they are helping someone.

I have always felt that Twitter was some sort of a clique and the people who get the most feedback are the same semi-famous people. In fact, very early on, I deleted anyone who wasn't following me back.I figured they were not interested in conversation. However, after meeting some of the 'heavyweights' I think the status I gave them was in my head and not theirs. They are mostly just people trying to do the best job they can in education and life.

Good luck on your quest. I filled in the form. I was reminded that it IS important to go back to the source of the link I follow and validate. We all need a little of that.

pshircliff said...

I have the same question. Often the few things I share go by without any comments/responses. None of my "200 friends" has anything to say about my thought???.

paul bogush said...

Twitter is high school all over again. The popular kids stay with the popular kids, and deny they are only staying with the popular kids, and deny that they are the "cool kids."

That goes for tweets, and blog posts. A "cool kid" can write the same thing as some new blogger but everyone gushes over the cool kid's post...even the outsiders.

Twitter has been split into factions and is no longer a reliable source of dialog unless you are in the inner circle...or course the cool kids will deny this.

That all said, it can be a reliable source if you are willing to work your way into the inner circle and become a trusted member. Twitter, just like life, I guess depends on the connections you make....and who you can get to re-tweet your stuff :)

And I guess one more counterpoint to my point...I think as twitter has grown, you do have to show an interest in others before they show an interest in you. I can remember in the early days, back when 500 followers was a lot, that one could hop on and tweet anything and get a lot of responses. Now there is so much one-way chatter that it seems people use twitter more to give, than to dialog. It seems now my tweetstream can go an hour without an original thought being tweeted, the majority of tweets just being links, top ten lists, and foursquare tweets. One thing you might want to try is changing the time of day you tweet out questions. My stream is VERY different at different times of the day. For example, I know if I tweet something around 1pm I rarely get any kind of response based on who follows me.

Anonymous said...

I know where you are coming from. I have my own blog and it seems as though no one is reading it, because no one comments.

cmay said...

As I said in the survey, sometimes I just read what's going on in the PLN and other times I contribute. I feel if you have something to say, say it. If you are able to help just one person, you've done your job. Keep posting. People are reading!

bethstill said...

There is no doubt that sometimes requests for help on Twitter go unheard. Even people with hundreds (even thousands) of followers do not get the volume of responses they used to get. Why? I think it is because there are so many more people on Twitter than there were a few years ago. As the number of users has increased so have the number of requests for help, suggestions, etc. It isn't that people have stopped caring or dialoging, they are just busy answering the requests of other people in their network.

I also think people are busier than they were a few years ago. I know that for a while I had quiet a bit of time on my hands during my planning time, but an increasing number of responsibilities mean that I don't have the luxury of replying to every request for help that comes across TweetDeck.

Before I go on to some of the other things I want to say I feel the need to address something TJ Shay said. He said he used to not follow anyone that wasn't following him. I follow about 1/10 of the people who follow me. Some people probably look at those stats and think I am a snob without realizing why I do this. I follow just under 500 people. (That is still A LOT of people!) I do not ever follow people just because they follow me. For the most part I recognize all of the names of the people I follow and I gain valuable information from all of them. Some of the people I follow don't share much that is useful, but they are such great people I cannot help but follow them. The great thing about my personal learning networks is that I get to determine who stays and who goes. It is my "dream team."

I was at a conference last week (Lori was there too) where someone said that "Facebook is all your friends from high school while Twitter is all of the the people that you WISH you had gone to high school with." That statement really resonated with me because I have customized my network to be filled with only people that I....well...for lack of a better word, LIKE! The nearly 500 people I follow are all people whom I love learning with. Some of them tick me off on a regular basis because they do not always have the same way of looking at things, but that is GOOD! I have learned the most from those people who do not act as my "echo chamber." I don't keep track of who is following me and who isn't. That isn't the point of Twitter. The increasing use of hashtags doesn't make it necessary to follow a person to engage in a conversation anymore.

I cannot end this comment without addressing some of the points Paul brings up. Twitter is definitely like high school and there are cliques. There are groups that have inside jokes and interact with each other frequently, but I think that is normal. There are many of us who have met in person and have become very good friends. The cliques I am part of are very open to welcoming new people. (Heck---we are heading up a special lounge at ISTE for Newbies!) However, there are some cliques that seem to be very intolerant of others who do not think like them. They openly (and proudly) bash the efforts of some of the educators I follow who are simply trying to start conversations. Some of these people are the "heavyweights" that everyone talks about. Heavyweight or not, if someone is a jerk I will not follow them anymore.

In order to interact on Twitter YOU have to be the one to reach out and make the connection. If nobody replies then ask again. If you still don't get a reply then "@" or DM someone to get a response. Sometimes on Twitter you have to be a little pushy! Trust me....I KNOW!

Lisa Parisi said...

Wow. So much to say. I am someone who came on twitter when there were only about 50 of us on. It was very easy to follow and very easy to connect. Now, like Beth, I only follow about 1/10 of people who follow me. The reason for me is twofold. One, too many conversations at one time make for no significant conversations at all. I limit myself to 200. Two, many people who follow me are new and just lurking. When they talk to me, I respond, but there is no reason to follow them at this point since they are really not tweeting much.

As for the inner circle, the longer I am on, the more I see only a couple of people in that inner circle. Most of the people I find online will talk to me and help me out. But, also like Beth, I can be pushy. I DM, I @, and I ask again and again.

I think the ignoring just comes from having too many people talking at once. It is hard to hear. Be louder (tweet more) and be more secure in your voice (give opinions, retweet and share links, etc.). It's harder to ignore the squeaky wheel. :)

Lee Kolbert said...

What Lisa and Beth said...

Stephan said...

I equate twitter sometimes to be a form of parallel writing.