SoMe so what?

SoMe, so what?
Social media and Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)
Vanessa North

Social media and learning are great partners; learning by its very nature is social.
In the field of learning and development the ability to connect with others has been dominated by the face-to-face vs e-learning divide. Social media crosses the divide and allows people to connect in ways that transcend ‘either/or’ scenarios and opens up a whole new way of how we ‘do’ learning.
Since attending a conference in November 2013 where I met a fabulous woman called Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn on Twitter) I have become a ‘social media for learning devotee’. I was on Facebook and LinkedIn but thought Twitter was just for telling people what you were having for lunch, the footy scores, that kind of thing. Boy was I wrong!
I joined up the day I met Helen and haven’t looked back. People connect with like-minded people and professional groups via Twitter. I have ‘talked’ with people all over Australia and the world – L&D colleagues, HR & OD practitioners, academics, leadership gurus, and thought leaders. People share ideas, questions, articles, and blogs. The new ‘discussion group’ is the ‘Tweetchat’; people go online at the same time, anywhere in the world, and join a hosted discussion around a topic, usually for an hour; questions are asked and answered at a furious pace. I’ve joined Tweetchats with special guests such as Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings and Clarke Quinn.
Twitter was voted the number one tool for learning in Jane Hart’s 2014 Top 100 Tools for learning and has topped the international list for 6 years in a row (Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies).
I’ve recently run sessions for Adelaide Site Leadership on using Social Media for personal learning; it has been a great experience to see the technology demystified for people and the delight when they make their first post/Tweet.
Here are my favourite personal learning tools:
• Twitter, Tweetchats and Storify – connecting with people in your professional community, learning from thought leaders, sharing resources and curating social learning
• LinkedIn – for personal learning and networking
• Google Hangouts – real-time free video-conferencing to connect people in a virtual ‘meet up’
• Today’s Meet – an easy web browser-based synchronous chat tool that can be used before/during/after learning events
• Meet Up – when virtual connection is not enough – organise to meet in person with your PLN

Want to know more? Connect with me on:
• Twitter @vanessaAnorth
• LinkedIn au.linkedin.com/in/vanessaAnorth

If you are not using social media for learning you are missing out and your learners are too.

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