Ready to be an Active Participant

George Couros @gcouros July 20, 2012

This tweet is what moved me from being an observer on twitter to being ready to be an active participant.

The Harvard Business Review article could have been more appropriately titled “Mark Palmerston Still Fears Social Media” and would have summed up very visually how I have felt for many years about many aspects of social media; however the statement that most struck me is the sentence “Fearful, folly and flippant attitudes keep organizations from realizing the benefits of mass collaboration.”

I could not stop thinking about this and was pushed enough to reflect on my personal fears of social media and how this was keeping me from realizing the benefits of fully collaborating with my coworkers, increasing interactions and collaboration with parents, students, and my community, as well as benefiting even more from the international online community.

My first tweet, a retweet of the above (thank you George), this blog, and my desire to fully immerse myself in creating an active personal learning network are part of my journey to move from fearful, folly, and flippant to formulating–>forging–>fusing.

Background

Early in my teaching career I had a teaching partner who had students who created a MySpace page, without his permission, that contained his picture and some very slanderous information. While I never viewed the page, the response by the school, students and circumstances surrounded the experience created a fearful impression upon me that has lasted almost 8 years now. It has kept me from ever using MySpace, it has kept me from joining Facebook, and fully engaging in social networking. Now I wonder, in some ways, what meaningful learning experiences I have missed without these experiences?

I can’t say that all my fears are relieved. Instead I am ready to begin moving beyond my fears to learn how to better use social media to improve my own personal learning, to increase meaningful collaboration within my own school, and to encourage others to explore the powerful learning opportunities available through online networks.

Social Networking

I have, for a long time, spent a considerable amount of time reading online, on a variety of subjects, both personal and professional. I have used Google Reader and iGoogle to organize my feed, which range from schools, school districts, education news, to business reading, and a passion of mine-food blogs.

A little less than a year ago I created a LinkedIn profile, viewing this as much more of a meaningful way to connect professionally. I found groups to be an improved way to search for me to find and access information of interest. While this was better for me than iGoogle, I quickly found the increased benefits of twitter feeds.

Shortly after joining LinkedIn, twitter has allowed me to filter, find, read, and observe a much larger amount of information. I have found myself excited to share information I find with others, and attempting to keep a record of things I find interesting; however I have been hesitant to do so through twitter, instead finding myself emailing links to myself and others. This now seems very ridiculous as it would be much more effective to be doing so directly through twitter by retweeting or even creating original tweets to share.

I have found myself connecting with much of the information that is found here on The Principal of Change.

Blogging

I’ve done this before, you can see my experiences here. Great fun, and a great learning experience. Blogging was a way for me to document my experiences, share with others who couldn’t be there with me for the meal, but more importantly connect with others who could help me learn more than what I could learn independently.

Some of the things I learned while blogging before include:

1. Setting regular pattern of posts was extremely helpful for me.

2. Long-term blogging is a challenge (sustainability), recognizing this and supporting this as part of the process is important.

3. People from all over the world have interest in, and willingness to share.

My Hopes

I hope that, by moving from observer to active participant, I can reap the benefits of collaborating with an increasingly large network, contributing as much as I take and encouraging others to do the same.

I welcome you to join me on my journey: sharing your thoughts, suggestions and opportunities to collaborate.

-Original Post: 7/21/2012

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About mpalmerston

Husband, parent, educator, and student
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