The Educator's PLN

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I just joined twitter not too long ago and I'm overwhelmed. Lots of info, lots of RT of the same stuff, and then some fluff. But also amazing links and amazing people who are so eager to offer help from across the globe. Thanks for that...

I'm following a lot of you on Twitter and I can't figure out a few things: I'm trying to use Tweetdeck but find I still miss stuff - unless you stay glued to it. I've read a ton of links and articles on Twitter tips, but still haven't found answers for these. Here are my questions so far:

1. How do you follow a conversation? With all the @ it's never clear what the person is responding to?

2. How do you join a group? - I saw someone say they just joined Twitter group #teachers, but I don't know what that means other than searching that tag.

3. Best practices for keeping yourself from going nuts or drowning in all the information?

4. How do you manage those that follow you? If they follow you, they're only seeing your tweets, right? You won't see theirs unless you follow them, so does it matter?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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1. You could just wade through all the messages of the past. Personally, I only read a screen's worth of information.
2. Groups come from other places. You can join tribes, for example, of people with similar interests.
3. Limit! Limit! Limit! I only follow people who are pertinent to me and my interests. You don't have to follow everyone who follows you. In general, I only read a screen's worth of information.
4. You can't manage those that follow you. They're your stalkers. :) They only see your tweets. You would have to follow them to see their tweets. I look at the profiles and tweets of my stalkers and decide if I want to follow them.
Thanks Laura! I found this link today in my one hour of sifting - it confirms you just don't see everything.
Hi Jane-
You can also follow a conversation by using twitter search (just google that.) Type in some key words from the tweet then click show conversation. It will show you the back and forth.

As far as drowning in the information - I am amazed at the number of people who seem to be on twitter ALL of the time. I can't. I do a brief check in a few times a day, and as Laura said, go back maybe a screen's worth.

As far as managing followers, look under management tools in this link. I use friend or follow and twitterless occasionally to sort out people I follow who don't follow me (usually I don't follow them - there are exceptions) AND to determine if there are people following me that I haven't followed back and should. Read their profiles and decide if they will add value to your network.

Hope this helps. Feel free to tweet twitter questions. I find people are really generous there if you have a good PLN.
Thanks Nancy - I also just noticed on the front page of our Ning, there's a link to a PDF "The Complete Guide to Twitter" now on my to read list!
Hi Jane!

For #3, I used to go crazy trying to read everything too. A colleague recommended TweetDeck to help organize my tweets. If you don't have it yet (or a similar app), I suggest getting it! It has helped me a lot by allowing me to create and customize categories for who I'm following. For example, right now I have several open-- I have a list strictly for tech educators, another for science educators, and one for family and friends, etc. Tweetdeck also has buttons that allow me to filter tweets for a specific topic, and clear my screen after I'm finished going through the tweets. Also, just read what you can! I used to sit for hours, trying to read what everyone has I just go through my lists for a few minutes, RT and share interesting resources. If I find something that I wanted to read more in-depth but have no time, I email it to myself or send it to Instapaper. Instapaper saves my reads offline, and I can go back and read it when I have more time. Clear out your tweets after each time you check them. Don't worry about "missing" anything; great resources will be tweeted more than once over a period of several days, and you can always send a PLN request out should you find that you need one of them.

#4: I'm very picky when it comes to other people following me. I check out the profiles and look for ways how that person may be useful to my professional development. Most of my Twitter networks are other educators; I have little to no personal real world contacts simply because I use Twitter for educational purposes. Don't be afraid to unfollow anyone you feel who isn't really contributing to the PLN. What's the use of having a Twitter network if you have followers that you don't want to follow back?

Hope some of that helps! Just go at your own pace! :)
Great questions!! I see you have wonderful answers below! If you get overwhelmed or miss things, you can DM (direct mail) for answers too. I have had several who were overwhelmed and didn't want to publicly ask a question who sent me DM's.

It is overwhelming at times. Take it slow... I had one teacher who set her "timer" for a certain amount of time daily. What passed at that time, she caught and didn't worry about the rest.... It gets better as you go!

Good luck!

Hi, Jane.
I'm still a "peeper" more than a tweeter, but I absolutely love Twitter because of the tremendous resources I get from it each and every week. I'm much too busy to check my Twitter account every day, but I usually do make time on the weekend where I will spend several hours going through the past week's tweets, reading blogs and saving links. I have been a Google addict for years and now I can add Twitter to that list because I learn so much from it. I'm working up to sharing (tweeting) more and feeling comfortable doing so amongst people that absolutely amaze me. I don't worry about the tweets I miss; things technical change so often that I can play catch-up or learn the new stuff at a later date. There are only so many hours in the day!

Twitter on........when you can..... :-D

Dianne Aldridge
One thing no one has mentioned yet is the RT of the same information. While it does feel like you see a lot of the same stuff, it is because everyone has a different network of people they follow & (as mentioned by others) you have to limit your time on it. Retweeting good links/resources/etc makes it so the "good stuff" gets to everyone. I am trying to be better about retweeting the good stuff so maybe someone that doesn't follow the same people I do can have access to it also. I'd rather to be hit by the same link 50 times than miss something that may be the best resource of my week.
The power of the PLN is real! Thanks for all the support! I'm learning about the importance of RT and mentions. I also found the great resources at Twitter Group on this PLN.



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