Sunday, June 12, 2011

PLN Problems Part 2

 A little over a month ago, I wrote a post about PLN problems. The gist of the post was about how some on Twitter (and other social networks) may feel invisible at times. Many of us pose questions or share resources that may go unnoticed. So, I decided to create a Google Form to survey social networkers regarding their experiences online. When I published my blog post I had low expectations. Call my cynical, but I did not think I would have much of a response. At first, my suspicions were right. Not much activity. Even with retweeting. At that point I was going to write about my findings, and then other members of my PLN began to retweet my call for input. 100+ responses later, it is time to put it all together.

Question #1: Which social networks do you currently use?
73% said Twitter was their main social network. Plurk came in second with 34%.
Question #2: How often do you log on to a social network?
 88% log on multiple times per day, 6 % once per day, and 6% check a couple times per week.
Questions #3: How often do you reply to a social post? 71% said as much as possible,  22% said rarely, and 5% said they only reply to those they have met face to face.
Question #4: Have you ever felt invisible on a social network?
88% felt they had in some form been invisible or ignored, 15% said they had not felt that way.

Looking at timestamps on the Google Spreadsheet there was a difference between Plurkers and Tweeters (definitely a separate blog post). Initially when I posted on Plurk and Twitter for help with writing a blog post my impression was that I was getting feedback only from my Plurk PLN. I could tell because Plurk was mentioned exclusively or in addition to Twitter. The Twitter responses came in much more slowly, even with multiple retweets. I have to say, the action picked up once my friend, and ISTE roomate, Beth Still retweeted my post. My Twitter PLN came through!

How do you feel about such an overwhelming response of people feeling that they are not noticed when they post links or questions? I think we have all felt that way at one point or another. But I did not expect that the response would be so high. I was helped by direct blog post comments such as the sheer size of social networks making it very hard to comment on each post read. Advice was given to send direct messages (DMs) and @ messages. I see the merit, yet, I think this limits responses since they are person specific. Others felt that there are cliques reminiscent of high school. Paul Bogush commented: "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". 
It is hard to dispute this when you see the frequency of interactions between certain groups. This inner circle as some have called it, may not be able to reply as much as you think. Consider that some of the most prevalent networkers may only follow 1/10 of those that follow them. Great point! Lisa Parisi said:" 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.". Paul Shircliff however follows and is followed by fewer than most (on Twitter) and still feels that he receives  few responses. On Plurk he has a higher level of responses. I must admit, I feel the same. Maybe it is the format, or the types of conversations that take place. But I will continue to use both. 

I have learned much from writing this post. I was reminded that just because I see certain names on my screen does not mean that they will see mine. Just because I follow someone, doesn't mean they follow me back. I learned that some will not follow those who do not follow them. I learned that there is not enough time in the day to respond to every post read. The time of day you post, may impact responses. And finally, I learned that my mission to find the answer is not complete.

I look forward to all of the potential responses on this blog and on social networks. Feel free to contact me for individual conversations.


Mike said...

As you mentioned, it's tough to draw comparisons between building a PLN on plurk and twitter (and facebook for that matter). All 3 have benefits and can be valuable, but not in the same way. Twitter is much more impersonal than plurk, and much less conversational. It's a great place to get information and share information, but not such a great place to discuss that information. You don't get the same volume of info on plurk, but you do get much more meaningful interaction about what's shared.

olivia marina said...

very impressive post! thanks alot for making it readable!

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