I confess. I love my PLN (personal learning network). Engagement is the key. I am not the most extroverted person. In fact in junior high I was one of those guys standing uncomfortably next to the wall while the “cool” guys asked all the girls to dance. That’s ok, I never liked Spandau Ballet anyway. While I have definitely overcome that paralyzing shyness, I am still not one to “work the crowd” as they say. So, the social media thing kind of threw me for a loop as far as engaging with people. I am starting to build more relationships, mainly via Twitter and through reading more blogs. At first I didn’t get Twitter. 140 characters? C’mon, that’s a bunch of crap. I don’t have the time or inclination to participate in that. But, I stuck my toe in and did what a lot of people do. I followed a whole bunch of people. Some followed me back. I asked questions (mostly of the how-to variety) and received no responses. Most of my tweets were retweets rather that anything new or anything I had personally found.
Example #1 of why I love my PLN
Then I read a tweet by Mark Britz that kind of woke me up. He basically said,
If you are going to retweet something, at least add something to it or comment on it. Don’t just retweet for the sake of retweeting.
He’s right. Add something to the conversation. Share. Now, I’ll admit, I do still sometimes hit that RT button and send as is. But, it is far less often, and I at least try to add my own 2 cents when I do RT something. I love the fact that a short line from someone I’ve never met in person has such resonance.
Example #2 of why I love my PLN
I’m gonna do a little more name dropping. I was reading Brian Dusablon’s post on how The Time is Now and was getting inspired, particularly by this line,
Sure, uncertainty and craziness persists, but that will never change. That’s life. It’s how you respond to the challenges that matters, right?
Indeed. He hit the nail on the head for me. I recently lost my job to budget cuts, and for the first time in my career, I am responding the way I want to respond. I’m not hanging my head looking back. I’m looking up ahead at all of the exciting possibilities that await.
Example #3 of why I love my PLN
Brian had a link to Aaron Silvers‘ latest reflection on the year of awesome making that is ahead. Now the awesome making post was inspiring enough, but he also had a link to a year-end reflection from last year where he “took command of his career.” Thank you Mr. Silvers. I needed that. For too long, I have been letting my career lead me rather than the other way around. Rather than steering the boat, I’ve let the boat steer me. I’ve done a lot of great things and had some great opportunities to learn new and exciting stuff. However, I haven’t owned it, really owned it as mine. So for 2012 I’m going to take the paddle and steer this life boat where I want it to go. And while I don’t personally know Mark Britz, Brian Dusablon or Aaron Silvers, I know what kind of valuable information and insight they share via multiple mediums. Their willingness to share, be honest, and move the conversation forward are why I love my PLN. Thank you gentlemen.