Thing 2: Online Communities/Personal Learning Networks

Holy Information Overload!!

I am not new to social networking. I have a love/hate relationship with my Facebook account. I joined LinkedIn, but have not found it personally useful. I putzed around on Pinterest in August. I’m pretty sure I made up a Twitter account a couple of years ago, but was reluctant to jump in. So, I wouldn’t say I’m at a novice level, but I am certainly not what anyone would consider a “veteran tweeter” or an “online community maven.” I’m also pretty sure that I do not plan to become one in the foreseeable future.

Why? (Or, in this case, why not?) It takes gigantic amounts of time to take in all of that information, process it, and filter the things I could potentially use. And here’s the thing – there is a lot that I could potentially use – hence the feeling of being overwhelmed. This evening I read Twitter is Stupid. (until you realize) (excellent & informative), Joyce Valenza’s For newbies: Just Heart the (#) Hashtag! (also excellent & informative), and checked out Twitter’s hashtag #tlchat per Valenza’s suggestion. So many of those tweets directed me to blog posts to read or other sites to visit, and lo, two hours have quickly passed and I’m feeling extra thankful that tonight I have one extra hour thanks to the end of Daylight Saving Time. I was already feeling information overload having rejoined lm_net in the past week!

I think because of where I currently am in my life, it is hard to carve out time dedicated to keeping up with these communities on a daily basis. What I think I would mostly find Twitter useful for is if I had a specific need and wanted to reach out to that community for assistance (brainstorming/info gathering, etc.) My question becomes – is that an acceptable use? Or is that not playing fair? (Always an information requester, but not a contributor.) I think that once I get to the next stage in my life, I could envision myself contributing regularly in a productive way.

And now, having re-read my post, I wonder: do I sound resistant? I hope not because that’s not my intention. I am very interested to know what my colleagues in the “Cool Tools” group have to say about Twitter!

3 thoughts on “Thing 2: Online Communities/Personal Learning Networks

  1. lsochia1 November 7, 2012 at 11:25 am Reply

    I locked myself in the bedroom the other night with just a cup of tea and my laptop. I told my boyfriend I was spending the rest of the night doing this and not to interupt! :) Before I knew it, over 2 hours had literally flown by. I had spent that whole time looking through the hashtags that were recommended to us on Twitter and creating my own account. I loved this time, and I actually created a word document of resources I wanted to actually go back to and learn more about them or actually use them in the classroom with my students. However, I too thought the same thing, HOLY INFORMATION OVERLOAD! I felt so overwhelmed with not only the things that I didn’t know about but also the things that I did know about and now want to integrate into my lessons with students. I wish that we had more time in this profession to do this, to take the time to learn more about all these cool new tools and technology but the truth is I don’t have that time to do this every week. Thanks for the post!

  2. Dee Portzer November 8, 2012 at 11:41 am Reply

    Laura,

    Great comment. Very honest and I totally understand where you are coming from. I look forward to when you start contributing and not just gathering : ). Dee

  3. pollyalida November 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm Reply

    Holy Information Overload! Love that. I feel that way every day. But I also know that it’s ok not to worry too much about it and not let it keep me awake at night (I have other things that do that!) In a way, that’s why I do like twitter. I can jump in and have a quick conversation about something serious (or not) and also take a quick look at a few things others have linked to. Mostly, I just end up bookmarking things that are relevant to my work in delicious or making notes in Evernote and quickly tucking the info away for another day.

    As for sounding resistant – not at all! You’re just being sensible and wondering where these tools can fit in your life without drowning you.

    One tip with twitter though, it’s very hard to use it to brainstorm and get help if you haven’t already made connections with others. Kind of like asking a question in an empty room. That’s where the hashtags can come in handy. If you don’t have a lot of followers, then make sure to put a hashtag (like #tlchat) on your question, others will see it then. I’ll be the first to say that it does take some effort to develop a good twitter network, just like developing a good in-person network.

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