Building Your Network

I’m always encouraging my students and fellow PR professionals to build their PLN.

Never heard of a PLN? Well, in short PLNs are personal learning networks. It’s tangible and not tangible at the same time. Your PLN is a reciprocal networked group of people that you create to learn from, connect with, gather information, cull resources, and share what you’ve learned.

PLNs are unique to each individual and are developed over time both in-person and online. For me, my PLN is made up of connections and resources that contribute to my professional development and enrich my knowledge base. Mine includes connections in the local community, across the country and around the world.

With my PLN I can expand the classroom walls and gain access to resources and expertise that were not previously available.

Typically I like to learn more about what I teach, research and present on. So I look to educational websites, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, professional directories like LinkedIn, blogs, wikis and forums to help me build my PLN.

If you are unsure how to begin here are my suggestions:

  • First ask yourself “What do I want to learn?” You may have many interests and it’s OK to want to learn lots of things, but start small. If you don’t you will become overwhelmed.
  • Next ask yourself “Whom do I want to learn this information from?” For example, you may want to know more about content marketing. Find folks online who are blogging, Tweeting and sharing information about content marketing. Start to connect with them by reading their blog, following them and conversing.
  • Participate regularly by reading blog posts from those in your PLN, respond to daily updates, and  following & participating in Twitter conversations. At your next conference or business meeting be sure to exchange information and keep in touch with those you meet.
  • Contribute and share by commenting on others’ posts and engaging in conversation. You can also take part in Twitter chats and contribute to your learning community via your own blog.

 Share with me your suggestions and thoughts on building PLNs. I’d love to hear new ideas!

P.S. Here are a few people I love to connect with and learn from online:

Heather Whaling from prTini

Howard Rheingold

Brian Solis

Social Media Delivered

Mari Smith

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