Today I conducted another workshop for one attendee. What started out as a list of four faculty dwindled to two after I sent out my workshop reminder, and then one didn’t show up, so it was just me and one other person. It’s not a problem for me, though, because it’s more like the consultations I am used to doing, but I suppose those lone attendees could end up feeling like more pressure is put upon them to participate. Usually it’s just fine, as today, and we have more of a conversation than a workshop and are able to focus on just what is needed.
Today’s workshop was on Twitter & LinkedIn and the business of creating a personal learning network. I like to focus on how faculty can help direct their students in becoming professionals and how to use social media to do it. The LinkedIn part was easy, because it’s mostly an online profile or résumé. There are a few social aspects to it, but its strength is in the ease of putting together a profile and updating it. Yes, you can build up connections to people and groups, but LinkedIn lacks the draw of most social media, and that’s a good thing, in the end.
Twitter is my favorite of all the social media tools. It’s the first thing I open every day, next to the inevitable email. Students can be schooled in how to search for topics and groups and people to read every day, and how to wisely use the hashtag in carefully crafted or tossed off tweets. They can learn how to make the most of the limited tweet space, adding links and images and videos in order to be valuable to their own readers (followers). Twitter is not demanding of your time; conversations are brief and do not, in my experience, sink to the level of attacks and drawn-out argument. Well, maybe I’m just not controversial there, and that is my plan. I use Twitter to keep track of what’s new in my field and to build connections.
Today, I built one more.