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35 Ways To Build Your Personal Learning Network Online


Personal learning networks are a great way for educators to get connected with learning opportunities, access professional development resources, and to build camaraderie with other education professionals.

Although PLNs have been around for years, in recent years social media has made it possible for these networks to grow exponentially.

Now, it’s possible to expand and connect your network around the world anytime, anywhere. But how exactly do you go about doing that?

Check out our guide to growing your personal learning network with social media, full of more than 30 different tips, ideas, useful resources, and social media tools that can make it all possible.

Tips & Ideas

Get started developing your social media PLN with these tips and ideas for great ways to make use of social tools.

  1. Actively make ties: It’s not enough to just follow and read, you need to connect. Leave comments, reply to questions, and start your own conversations.
  2. Join Twitter chats: Educators can chat, collaborate, and connect through Twitter chats like #edchat and #edmeet.
  3. Share your lesson plans, presentations, and documents: Use services like Tumblr, Edublogs, or Facebook to share lesson plans with your learning network.
  4. Crowdsource ideas: Turn to your PLN to crowdsource ideas or perform social searches.
  5. Use Twitter resources to discover more people to follow: Check out following/follower lists, RTs, #followfriday suggestions, and Twitter lists of the people you admire to find even more great resources to add to your PLN.
  6. Discover new people to add to your network: Lots of educators use social media as a passive way to check out people they’d like to add to their personal learning networks. Analyze the quality of their posts, point of view, and signal to noise to decide if they’d make a good addition to your network.
  7. Start conversations: Use your social media accounts to ask questions and spark conversations that encourage new thinking.
  8. Find new blogs and resources to follow using social bookmarking: Social bookmarking services like Diigo and Delicious can help you not only find great blogs and resources, but also get your connected with other educators to add to your network.


Check out these guides to find out how other educators have used social media and other tools to grow their personal learning networks.

  1. How Technology Helps You Build a Personal Learning Network: Explore technology’s new role in building personal learning networks through this guide.
  2. 50 Great Ways to Grow Your Personal Learning Network: Our very own guide to growing your personal learning network has lots of great ideas for tapping into social media.
  3. The Innovative Educator: 5 Ways to Build Your 1.0 and 2.0 Personal Learning Network: Check out this post from the Innovative Educator to see how you can use blogs and other social media to build a personal learning network.
  4. How to Use Twitter to Grow Your PLN: Here, Edutopia shares an insightful post on why educators should use Twitter to grow their PLNs, plus a great list of chats to join.
  5. 21st-Century PLNs for School Leaders: Take your PLN into the next century with this guide for using social media tools like Twitter and blogs to grow your PLN.
  6. How to cultivate a personal learning network: Chuck Frey’s post explains how you can cultivate a strong personal learning network, through social media and beyond.
  7. Tools for Building Your Personal Learning Network: Check out this LiveBinder to find several great tools for building a personal learning network.
  8. Using a Twitter Chat Channel to Support a Personal Learning Network: Check out this guide to see how one Texas school district is using a Twitter chat channel to support a PLN.
  9. Using Social Media to Develop Your Own Personal Learning Network: This presentation from Sue Beckingham and David Walker is a great resource for learning about the many ways you can use social media to grow a PLN.
  10. Nuts and Bolts: Building a Personal Learning Network: Jane Bozarth’s article on building a personal learning network hits on the need for interactivity in PLNs.

Tools & Resources

Want to really make the most of your PLN? Use these popular social media tools for learning to grow and take advantage of your network with the latest technology.

  1. Classroom 2.0: In this networking group, you can get connected with other educators who are interested in Web 2.0, social media, and more in the classroom.
  2. Ning: On Ning, you can create your own social website to bring your PLN together all in one place.
  3. Diigo: Collect, highlight, remember, and share all of the great resources you find online with your PLN on Diigo, and annotation and online bookmarking tool.
  4. Google Reader: With Google Reader or any other great RSS tool, you can subscribe to blogs and stay on top of it all.
  5. Slideshare: On SlideShare, you can upload presentations to share with your personal learning network.
  6. Twitter: Perfect for finding people to add to your PLN, participating in chats, and sharing what you’ve found, Twitter is one of your most powerful tools for growing and maintaining a personal network.
  7. Facebook: Another powerhouse for PLNs, Facebook is a great place to connect, share, and grow your network.
  8. Scribd: Read, publish, and share documents on Scribd with your PLN, whether you’re sharing classic novels or lectures you’ve delivered. Plus, you can find documents and get connected with their owners.
  9. Yahoo! Answers: Find and share information, connect with others, and build upon your personal learning network on this popular answers site.
  10. LinkedIn: The gold standard in professional networking, LinkedIn is a great place for education professionals to get connected.
  11. Quora: Similar to Yahoo! Answers, Quora offers a professional place to share your knowledge and grow your network.
  12. Google+: Often overlooked in favor of Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is a growing network that offers lots of great possibilities for developing PLNs.
  13. Pinterest: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ get a lot of love from personal learning networks, but Pinterest offers a great way to find other educators, and great resources.
  14. Delicious: One of the most popular social bookmarking sites on the web, Delicious makes it easy to share what you’ve found and find new followers for your PLN.
  15. Using, you can curate and share your favorite PLN tweets on a daily basis.
  16. Like, is a great tool for curating an engaging PLN magazine based on resources from your network.
  17. AddThis: Become a sharing machine with the AddThis toolbar, a great way to immediately share web resources on the web’s most popular social media tools.

This is a cross-post from  Online College.

35 Ways To Build Your Personal Learning Network Online

Education Is Key – Education Is A Key To Success

Using Twitter to Crack Down on Bullying

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have developed a computer program that caught 15,000 bullying-related tweets in one day.


It’s hard to prevent bullying if you don’t know it’s happening. That’s why researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a program that they say is capable of detecting evidence of bullying from among the hundreds of millions of tweets sent each day.

The program uses an algorithm to scour Twitter for words that “mark bullying events.” Out of the 250 million public tweets sent each day, the program usually identifies about 15,000 bullying-related messages.
Getty Images
A close-up view of the homepage of the microblogging website Twitter.

VIDEO: YouTube Bullying Confessions

The researchers found that while kids aren’t often open in real life about what they are going through, online, they are much more verbose. “What we found, very importantly, was that quite often the victim and the bully and even bystanders talk about a real-world bullying incident on social media,” Jerry Zhu, a professor of computer science at UW-Madison said in a release.  ”The computers are seeing the aftermath.”

SPECIAL: What You Need to Know About Bullying)

As GOOD notes, the program could be a way around one of the inherent problems with the reporting of bullying incidents, which is that the targets are often reluctant to report their tormentors, fearing an escalation in the aggression. Its developers hope that not only will their software help alert teachers and parents to bullying early on, but also show victims that they are not alone. “A way victims often make sense of their bullying is by internalizing it. They decide that there’s something bad about themselves — not that these other people are jerks,” Amy Bellmore, a professor of educational psychology at UW-Madison said in the release. “When they’re exposed to the idea that other people are bullied, actually it has some benefit. It doesn’t completely eliminate the depression or humiliation or embarrassment they might be feeling, but it can decrease it.”

Next up, the researchers hope to expand the program to include other social networks, such as Facebook and China’s microblogging site, Sina Weibo.

Read more: 

Newton Coull Videos – We are a video performance network.

Blekko Launches ROCKZi To Generate Social Search Signals


Blekko just announced a new social site called ROCKZi. The company is describing it as a “curated social platform that brings communities of likeminded people together to discuss and comment” on news and information.

“Unlike other search sites that force social features to the search interface, blekko has created a new standalone social environment that enables the masses to curate content on the web,” a spokesperson for the company tells WebProNews.

It does, however, utilize “search assets,” the company says, to let users engage with content. In fact, the site will provide social signals to the blekko search engine at some point. The company says it can use the signals to identify the highest quality content, and curate search results, while “pushing spam to the bottom”.

The site has a “news boards” concept for categories like sports, politics, fashion, tech, recipes, etc. Stories are voted up, and whatnot. A familiar concept, for sure. Here’s what it looks like:




“ROCKZi’s great content, its state of the art design, and its very intuitive, low touch set of tools, creates a social platform that brings curation to the masses,” says blekko CEO Rich Skrenta. “Everyone reading content from anywhere in the web can now also be curating it.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of user adoption ROCKZi is able to put together. Blekko says it had 5.5 million unique visitors to its search engine in May. These people made over 110 million searches.

Blekko Launches ROCKZi To Generate Social Search Signals

Tools For The Internet – This Blog Will Help You Explore Tools For The Internet

Homeless Hotspots: Is It Dehumanizing?

A Report On The Backlash

By Amanda Crum

In a time when everything has an app–when just about every company worth knowing about is mobile and everyone uses some form of social media–some would say digital services are their first priority.

But should that priority come at the cost of another human’s dignity? Let us know what you think in our comments section.

Some would say that is exactly what’s happening with a new “charitable innovation experiment” called “Homeless Hotspots“. It’s spearheaded by a company called BBH Labs, the “innovation unit” of the marketing company BBH. The experiment–which has already ended–debuted at SXSW this year and involved thirteen homeless participants as mobile hotspots; each person was given their own MiFi device and a t-shirt emblazoned with the words, “I am a 4G hotspot.” Also included was their name and a code which gives customers access to 4G broadband service. Minutes could be purchased for a donation of the customer’s choice, although the recommended price was $2.00 for fifteen minutes of service.

Watch Video Here

While WiFi is notoriously hard to come by at SXSW–largely in part because of the huge crowd it draws–the of using a person as a walking broadband service has a lot of people upset. BBH claims that this is just a new spin on the old idea of Street Newspapers, which are staffed by homeless individuals and sold by them for a donation. But many are disturbed by the comparison, citing that Street Newspapers allow the homeless to have a voice.

In their defense, a representative of BBH Saneel Radia–who is also being touted as the “mastermind” of the marketing event–wrote on their blog, “The biggest criticism (which we agree with actually) is that Street Newspapers allow for content creation by the homeless (we encourage those to research this a bit more as it certainly does not work exactly as you would assume). This is definitely a part of the vision of the program but alas we could not afford to create a custom log-in page because it’s through a device we didn’t make. However, we’d really like to see iterations of the program in which this media channel of hotspots is owned by the homeless organizations and used as a platform for them to create content. We are doing this because we believe in the model of street newspapers.”

Early criticism also points to the fact that the homeless issue should be met with concern on a daily basis, not because something is being offered in return for a donation.

“It is sickening that people will only consider giving to the homeless if they can receive a petty luxury in return. Homeless people don’t owe you anything” said one commenter.

And there are other things to consider, such as some of the questions raised in this article by Campobello how many people are really willing to do business with a vagrant and what are their motives?

Twitter has been abuzz on this topic since news of the event broke.

But not everyone meets the idea with contention. John Bird of wrote “I suggest we turn BBH’s plans into a new form of street smartness, and begin to turn street people into news and information providers. The homeless have more to contribute than simply being a part of the gadgetry. Many have been to the edge of the abyss, and looked over. They may need our encouragement and support, but more than anything they need our respect.”

One Twitter user tweeted that she would be interested in the service:

Radia admits there are with the way the campaign was promoted and stated, “The worry is that these people are suddenly just hardware, but frankly, I wouldn’t have done this if i didn’t believe otherwise.”

Do you agree with Radia, or with some of the event’s supporters? Let us know in the comments section.

Homeless Hotspots: Is It Dehumanizing?


4 Effective Ways Your Brand Can Use Pinterest

by Mo Moumenine

Pinterest is pretty much the newest sizzler in the social networking industry. We cannot deny that the said virtual pinboard happens to provide a fresher way to experience and share photos to many users online. But can this social media “underdog” be able to help people with their businesses/brands?
Well, most probably, yes it can definitely help brands. And there are so many ways it can do so. In fact, many brand owners are already incorporating Pinterest in their brand building strategy.
So, the big question is… how can brands use Pinterest?

Create a Brand Pinboard
Pinterest is a massive website of photos and pinboard collection of various subject matters from its 12 million unique users. This makes the website a great “environment” for brands, businesses and even entrepreneurs.
The first thing to do is to create a pinboard to specifically house a brand’s photos of its products, services, information and other essential information. Visuals such as photos and videos are fast mediums for branding and brand awareness especially in Pinterest because pinboards are easily shared, viewed, commented on and published in many platforms such as blogs and social networks.

Curate Visual Content
A brand can easily build up authority in a certain niche or filed of interest by curating content. Content curation focuses on the distribution or sharing of quality content to groups of people sharing a common interest. In Pinterest, a brand can “pin” others’ content to improve its image and reputation on that certain field. Of course, credit should still be awarded to the original source.
This works in content distribution on blogs and websites and it is not far from being effective inside Pinterest.

Crowdsource for Ideas
Crowdsourcing is a very efficient way of getting the best ideas for a project. It allows people to know what appeals the most in a particular group of people. Pinterest allows this massive technique to improve one’s brand.
A brand can hold contests among its Pinterest followers. Contests are great tools to improve audience awareness and engagement to one’s brand or business. For instance, a brand selling custom-made shirts, jeans and shoes can ask its followers to create the trendiest combinations of the brand’s products. The winner will then receive his/her winning fashion combo as the prize. Well, it all falls into the brand’s jurisdiction of what the prizes are.

Build Communities Through Pinboards
Social media is all about interaction and communication. Pinterest allows users to manipulate their pinboards and tag them to the people of their choice. This way, a brand can address audiences relevant to what it offers and its field of interest through the use of comments and discussions.
This can also serve as a medium for better customer relations. A brand can easily post and tag pins on their pinboards where followers can view the latest news, products, services and offers and many more.
There are so many ways in which Pinterest can be of use for brands. In fact, Pinterest can already be badged in anyone’s website for faster following or pinning. This makes many people anxious about using Pinterest to market their brands.

Related Post:

1. How To Market Your Business On Pinterest

2. Is Pinterest The Next Big Thing In Social Media

3. How to Build A Social Brand

4. Social Media Trends in 2012

5. Branding In The Age Of Social Media

Gregory Newton Pinterest

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