Sue Waters Blog

June 21, 2009
by Sue Waters
14 Comments

Baiting the Digital Hook to Build A Professional Learning Community!

Last week I was invited to present on PLNs (personal learning networks) as part of Getting Connected 09 for The Australian Flexible Learning Frameworks.

As the conference targeted the VET sector I decided to take a different PLN approach and share how social networking tools can create communities of professionals, and students, that help each other.

Skills level of participants

Participants were surveyed near the start of the session to help guide how little/much information on each aspect need to be explained. The results are shown in the table below (Yes= has their own or uses with their students; No = doesn’t have own or use with students; No response = they didn’t respond to the question).

Value of Creating Communities

The message for creating professional learning communities using social networking tools was similar to PLNs. Our daily face-to-face interactions offer limited opportunities for:

  • Asking our work colleagues/students questions
  • Reflecting on ideas with each other
  • Effectively sharing information

Social networking tools provide the ability to easily connect ourselves, our students, with educators in the same/similar fields, and people from industry to form a global community. This greatly increases opportunities to receive assistance and provide assistance.

The main difference to a PLN is technology skills of individuals you may want as part of your professional learning community are often (very) low. This means you need to use a range of tools including ones they are more likely to feel comfortable using.

To stay sane remember:

  • Not everyone will share your excitement (and it is unrealistic to think they will)
  • Let them choose whether or not they join
  • Don’t be offended if you can’t encourage everyone to participate
  • Be grateful for those that do participate
  • It takes time!

During the session I discussed the main tools I use for aquaculture industry to highlight their benefits and how it can be done.

Facebook

In terms of aquaculture Facebook is used mainly with my students (but I do have some work colleagues in my account). My students are given the option to add me to their Facebook account knowing that they can email me, use the chat or leave comments on my wall.

Years ago I used to give students my email address and never get got any emails. With Facebook student regularly contact me to help with both my work and other courses. Many continue to remain in contact when they leave.

Ning

Our AquaEd Ning community to connect educators, industry and my students together (consists of members from within Australia and oversees).

Benefits of Ning are ability to have forums, upload photos, upload/share videos and easily email all members etc.

For me this Ning community meant I was about to source training material and images to use for an aquaculture elearning unit. I couldn’t have sourced this material as well (or as quickly) using traditional methods.

My students, and other community members, are using this Ning to share what they are doing and ask others questions.

Ning challenges are you need to be prepared to facilitate and encourage conversation. The more people you can encourage to help you facilitate the more likely it will grow. As a Ning owner you need to closely monitor all new members (using RSS) due to spammers.

Twitter

Never thought it would happen but have people from aquaculture joining my twitter account. Which has been excellent because they also then join AquaEd Ning.

As these people are already into social networking they add value to your community because they aren’t reluctant users.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This session was recorded and you can watch it here!

My advice for building a community remains the same as for a PLN — your first step is to start using these tools for your own learning then start thinking how you can connect with members from your industry. Check out my PLN Yourself website to get started!

Meanwhile for those that have created professional learning communities — please share your stories. What has worked well? What aspects have caused problems?

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January 28, 2009
by Sue Waters
27 Comments

Dealing With Naughty Ning Neglect!

Image of Ning nong shirtI’m BAD!

Don’t adequately facilitate Nings I’ve created and don’t participate enough in Nings I’ve joined. Do they make shirts for people like me?

UPDATE: Thanks to borborigmus (Vyt) we now have a shirt which he has given me permission to use.

We can’t inflict me on more Nings just to complete Day 3: Search for and Join a Forum for the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve connected with people through Ning interactions.  It’s just that I already belong to several and I find forum discussions take considerably more time to engage in conversations than blogging.

My Solution

Instead of joining new forums I decided to address my extreme Ning neglect by:

  1. Tidying up my Ning profiles – Wouldn’t an option to import profiles across Ning social networks be nice?
  2. Subscribing to Latest Activity Feed, Forum Feed and Blog Feed for all Nings using Google Reader

My guess was I belonged to 5 Ning communities.  After wasting considerable time trying to locate all my Ning communities (and failing) I admitted defeated and my Twitter network helped me.  DUH – log into Ning home and then click on my social networks (how can the obvious take so long to find?)

What planet am I from?  5 Ning communities!  Get real! Obviously can’t count or am really absent minded.  Make that 17 Ning communities (of these I created Etools and AquaEd).  Have now tidied up all my profiles and subscribed to all RSS feeds from my Ning communities.  But now decided profile information doesn’t sounds great (= crappy).

FINAL THOUGHTS

For those new to using Ning communities – check out:

For experienced Ning users I would love to know more about:

  1. What Ning communities do you belong to and what have been the benefits of being part of these commmunities?
  2. What tips would you give new people to help them get more out of being involved with Ning Communities?

Image of Ning Nong shirt created by Vyt used with permission.

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December 8, 2008
by Sue Waters
10 Comments

How Tweet It is! PD in the 21st Century

Image of Slide TitleThis week I was invited to Melbourne to present at Converge08 by eWorks. I was involved in two presentations:

  1. How Tweet IT is! PD in the 21st Century
  2. The Connected Trainer – presenting with Simon Brown

Emphasis of both was on the different aspects of personal learning networks (PLNs). This post is a quick overview of my “How Tweet IT is! PD in the 21st Century” presentation.

Why this title? To highlight how increasing numbers of people are using online tools to create their own personal learning networks (PLNs) which enhance their professional development (PD) beyond what is often achievable in traditional f2f workshops.

Throughout the entire presentation (1 hr) I tried to model how a PLN works by:

  1. Making the conference participants part of my personal learning network (approx. 300 people) by giving people tasks and encouraging conversation
  2. Sharing results from my PLN survey while also live demoing the most popular tools used in building PLNs
  3. Asking my online PLN to engage with the audience (using Twitter)

Using Conference Participants as a PLN

I explained that in a PLN members frequently help each other and provide assistance. This is how I used conference participants as my personal learning network:Image of macbook

  1. Official photographer (Becky) – used my Canon Powershot to take photos of whatever interested her.
  2. Flickr Poster (Steve Cahill) – used my iphone to take photos and upload immediately to Flickr using FlickrUP.
  3. MacBook Assistant – Seconds before my presentation was due to start we discovered a problem with my Internet connection so had to borrow Carol McCulloch’s laptop to use her wireless and she had to use my MacBook for the conference live blogging. She had never used a Mac previously so an audience member stood behind Carol and helped when necessary.
  4. Office 2007 Assistants – I’d never used Office 2007 or Vista so I enlisted the participants to help whenever I got stuck
  5. To answer questions and vote (on if they used a tool and off course their favorite chocolate :) )

Becky, Steve and Carol had never used the technology which I used to emphasize that in PLN’s we learn by playing until we find out how it works; and if we get into trouble we ask others for help (which they all did). PS Carol may have muttered some un-nice words about both the MacBook and me (I definitely owed her big time! Thanks so much Carol for the help).

Poor Steve, my iphone was playing up and the SIM card locked up on him….. So he also learnt that being part of a PLN can be stressful sometimes :)

Below are photos taken by Becky and Steve during the presentation:

Survey Results of Conference Participants

Most people at the conference had limited knowledge and experience using the main tools for building a PLN.

Very few had used Twitter so during the presentation I demonstrated the instantaneous nature of twitter by sending the following tweets to my twitter network:

Image of Tweet

I added the discussion of chocolate so I could highlight that what question you ask impacts on whether people respond and how online tools like twitter can be used to build relationships.

Interesting fact — dark chocolate was the most popular chocolate by both my twitter network and conference participants. I used this to highlight that you can’t always trust your PLN (chuckling).

FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks to eWorks for inviting me to Converge08 and all the people at the conference who made me feel welcome. Special thanks to Dean Groom for helping choose the title of the presentation (with added help from my twitter network) and for writing the conference abstract.

Don’t forget:

  1. I’ve posted the results of my PLN survery here
  2. I’ve created a PLN Yourself site to help new people work through setting up their own Personal Learning network.

If anyone can locate statistics on chocolate sales by milk, white and dark could you please share? Would love to know what is the top selling flavor. Surely it can’t be dark chocolate?

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December 4, 2008
by Sue Waters
20 Comments

Here Are The Results From My PLN Survey!

So far there has been 196 responses in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) Survey since it was created in October.  And I know a lot of people are interested in what it all means and how I am using this information so let me explain.

About the PLN Survey

I’ve been doing a few presentations on building your own personal learning network (PLN) and wanted to demonstrated the power of a PLN in action. My focus on PLNs was for two main reasons:

  1. If our aim is to use online tools with our students we first need to be using these tools for our own learning to appreciate how they benefit our learning and to ensure we use them effectively with our students
  2. Ability to receive and give advice in our normal f2f interactions is mostly limited.  Personal learning networks greatly enhance our ability to get assistance, increase our learning, reflection and innovation.

Originally I asked my network to help me by sharing their advice by responding in the form of comments on a blog post. While it worked extremely well analysing the information was hard due to the number of comments.  This is when I decided that an online survey was the better option.

So in October I created a PLN survey using Survey Monkey and promoted it using Twitter and blog posts.  The questions asked in the survey are:

  1. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your PLN?
  2. Rank tools in terms of importance in your PLN
  3. What 5 tools would you recommend as a starting point for building a PLN?
  4. What are your 5 tips for new people to help them get started building their PLN?
  5. What country are you from?

Thoughts on The Survey Design

The main design flaw in the survey is Question 1 where respondents were asked to rank 10 types of tools in level of importance in their own PLN. I decided to use ranking of tools that I provided rather than allow respondents to name their top 10 tools because I felt it was more likely they would miss an important tool and it would also make responses harder to analyse.

While the concept of ranking was a good idea unfortunately I missed two important tools – wikis and virtual worlds such as Second Life.  It also meant by supplying the tools to rank potentially I was biasing what options people choose.  Also it would have been good if the survey design provided greater flexibility for respondents to replace the supplied choices with their own options.

Other challenges were with 196 responses analysing short answer questions such as your 5 tips and most important thing learnt from your PLN became harder to analyse.

The Results

Due to the number of response it was necessary for me to pay to use Survey Monkey which was great in terms of the fact I was able to download and analyze the responses using Excel. If you would like a copy of the raw data please leave a comment and send to you.

Most of the people who responded where from USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada.

For Question 1 about ranking the importance of tools in your PLN I used a weighted formula to determine the relative importance of each tool.  The following diagram shows the importance of each tool in their PLN with size indicating relative importance.

Based on these results microblogging tools was the most important tool in a PLN.  Would be interesting to know if how the survey was promoted (i.e. via blog posts and twitter) influenced this result.

For Question 3 “What tools would you recommend as a starting point” responses were not weighted and it was based on counting the number of responses for each type of tool.  The top 5 tools were:

  1. Set up your own Twitter Account
  2. Start your own blog
  3. Subscribe to blogs
  4. Start using a Social Bookmarking tool
  5. Join a Ning community

Please note the order above doesn’t indicate order of priority as respondents weren’t asked to rank.

There was lots of great advice and it’s impossible to provide all the tips for building your own personal learning network however these are the main points:

  1. Start slowly and find mentor(s) to help you.
  2. Use the same username across tools
  3. Share as much as you take
  4. Ask as much as you answer
  5. Try new TOOLS before you decide they’re not worth the time
  6. Comment on other people’s blogs
  7. Life long learning is the key!

How I have Used The Survey Results

I used the survey results for form the structure of my presentation and I have created a PLN Yourself site to help new people work through setting up their own Personal Learning network.  Hopefully people will find my new PLN Yourself site useful. All feedback welcome as to any changes required.

One concern I now have is while thePLN Yourself site site explains how to work through setting up your PLN based on the top 5 recommended tools I think it is lacking in terms of top 5 handy tools.  Why handy?  Well there are some tools that are everyday tools that are important to us all that aren’t necessarily as important for building a PLN.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Would love to have your feedback on my new PLN Yourself site:

  1. Have I missed anything important?  Is the information too hard?
  2. What about including top 5 Handy tools?  Will it overwhelm?
  3. And if I did have Top 5 Handy tools what would your 5 choices be?

Let me know if you would like a copy of the survey results.

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November 27, 2008
by Sue Waters
4 Comments

Have Added Your Voice To My Personal Learning Network Survey?

Next week I will be in Melbourne (from 3-7th December) for Converge 08 and will be doing two presentations:

  1. How Tweet IT is! PD in the 21st Century
  2. The Connected Trainer – presenting with Simon Brown

Image of a stickyEmphasis of both will be on different aspects of personal learning networks (PLNs). I will also be sharing the results of my PLN survey (which I created in October) to demonstrate how my PLN extended my ideas beyond what’s achievable by me working individually.

So far there’s been 149 responses and if you haven’t taken the survey here’s your chance to add your voice! Here’s the link to my Personal Learning Networks (PLN) survey – there are 5 questions and it takes a max. of 10 minutes to complete.

Looking forward to catching up f2f with people in my personal learning network:

  1. Please come up and say hi if you see me at the conference.
  2. Sue Tapp’s organizing a blogger’s meet up for lunch on Saturday — if you want to join us please leave a comment on her blog.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Please leave a comment if you would like a copy of the survey responses (in Excel format) and I will send it to you via email.

Image was created using Superstickies.

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October 7, 2008
by Sue Waters
19 Comments

Twitter and Building Your Personal Learning Network

Image of twitterIt’s well known that I’m a self confessed Twitteraholic and twitter is an important part of my personal learning network. I’ve even written a Quick Start Tips for New Twitters.

Yet I’ve never been comfortable with recommending twitter as a starting point to build a personal learning network.

Maybe I’m too conservative?

Twitter is currently ranking the highest from 128 response in my Personal Learning Networks survey question “Which five (5) tools would you recommend as a starting point to build a personal learning network?”

My thoughts are twitter must be freaky and intimidating to people new to using Web 2.0 — especially given the etiquette involved in using twitter. Let’s not forget there are numerous very experienced elearning professional who aren’t comfortable using it.

So I’m interested to know:

  1. I started as a podcaster — where did you start?
  2. What was the first tool you used to build your personal learning network?
  3. Is twitter a good starting point to build a personal learning network?

Also there’s still time to add your responses to my Personal Learning Network survey!

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October 2, 2008
by Sue Waters
32 Comments

Building Personal Learning Networks!

Image of Personal Learning NetworkI’m going to be doing a series of presentation on Personal Learning Networks (PLN) over the next few months. With these types of presentation I like to to demonstrate the importance of PLNs by asking my network to help me.

For my previous presentation I asked my readers a series of questions on PLN. The answers were an essential part of the presentation. They showed how using a range of free web tools we are able to build our own networks that extends our learning beyond what achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share it with a global audience.

This time I want to fine tune, increase the number of people who respond, and increase the information I share on building your own Personal Learning network.

I’m hoping you can help me in the following ways:

#1 – Please complete my survey on Personal Learning Networks (PLN)

There are 5 questions which take a max. of 10 minutes.

#2 – Please ask your Personal Learning Network to complete the survey

Would really love it if you are able to promote the survey in a blog post otherwise there is a risk the responses will be biased by responses of people who use twitter. Please link back to this post so I can thank you.

#3 – Share useful links for building a personal learning network.

My aim of these links is to use them as a basis for building a site that helps new people with setting up their own personal learning network.

#4 – Four Questions to Use In The Workshop

I really loved how Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in her Hale School Workshop broke the participants into four groups and got them to move around the room answering the four questions on butcher’s paper. Would be a great way for them to physically feel a personal learning network in action.

Trouble is I’m struggling for ideas for the questions. Sheryl’s were:

  1. How has world changed?
  2. How have students changed?
  3. What should we doing to instill curiosity & creativity?
  4. What will Classroom 2.0 look like?

Any thoughts on what questions I could use? Or can you suggest any different activities?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Would appreciate any assistance you are able to provide and I’ll be sharing the information as I collect it.

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July 19, 2008
by Sue Waters
29 Comments

Listen To The Wisdom Of Your Network

Thanks to everyone who helped me demonstrate the power of personal learning networks for my presentation yesterday. Your comments, tips and advice were THE essential part of my presentation because I wanted to demonstrate a personal learning network in action to show how it extends our learning and reflection beyond what is normally achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share our learning with global educators.

The aim of this post is to show how I used your comments in my presentation, explain the main points covered plus to provide links to help others get started setting up their own personal learning network.

Background

Many of the educators at the Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA) State Conference had never heard of the term Personal Learning Network (PLN) or Personal Learning Environment (PLE). Sarah Stewart provides an excellent overview on Personal Learning Environment and the tools that she uses in her PLE.

As Graham Wegner highlights “it is hard to explain and sell what an online PLN is to educators without diving and experiencing it themselves”. This is why I felt my best chance was demonstrating a PLN in action by using the network to help create the presentation.

My presentation involved a Keynote presentation composed of information collected from 27 reader’s comments to questions on Personal Learning networks blended with visiting web sites to show a range of different online tools. The title for my presentation and this post is from Ines concluding comment ” As I’ve been told myself in my first days: “You must listen to the wisdom of the network””. Thanks Ines!

I only had 30 minutes so the main points I tried to emphasize were:

  1. Face to face interactions within workplaces provides limited opportunities to exchange ideas and thoughts.
  2. Your Personal learning networks increases opportunities to help each other and is available anytime, anywhere, whenever connecting you to a global network.
  3. If you are planning to integrate online tools into your classroom it is important that you use these tools first for your personal learning to gain greater understanding of how to use them effectively and to realize their importance for empowering personal learning.
  4. It does take time “to get” the value of some online tools and it is important to engage with using them using an open mind. “Not getting” the benefits of a tool often relate to not using it effectively.

Global Nature of PLNs

I started by demonstrating the global nature of PLNs by showing a World map with the names and locations of readers who left comments.

Location of people who wrote comments

A quicker method would have been to use a Frappr map but didn’t want people just to add their names and not answer the questions on PLNs.

Importance of PLNs

Next I showed a Wordle of commenters’ responses to “Why is your personal learning network important to you?” to emphasize the key reasons why educators use PLNs. Thanks Jane Lowe for providing me with the idea to use a Wordle.

Image of Wordle on PLNs

Tools Used in PLNs

I then discussed tools people use to create their PLN by showing a diagram I had created using commenters responses to “Which tools are the most important part of your personal learning network?.” It was created by counting the number of readers who recommended a tool; the size and number indicates the relative popularity of each online tool.

Online tools written in white text were sites mentioned by one reader only. RSS aggregator refers to use of RSS readers like Google Reader and Bloglines.

Diagram of visualsing PLNs

Which tools people use in their PLN are very individual that is why they are personal :) . The benefit of the diagram was it meant I was able to discuss and show a wide range of web sites that they could consider including in their PLN.

Features I noted from this diagram:

  1. Twitter was the most popular tool – as expected
  2. Most readers included online bookmarking sites as an important tool in their PLN however some readers included both del.icio.us and diigo in their list – I’m assuming because they use each differently?
  3. I was surprised to see Facebook included and would love to hear more from readers as to why they value Facebook so highly in their PLNs.

Setting Up Your PLN

Finally I talked about the tools for getting starting with setting up a PLN. I did this by counting the number of readers “tips on how to get started setting up their own Personal learning network” and listed them in order of popularity.

Their advice for getting started was:

  1. Join Twitter – read this post on setting up and using twitter
  2. Start reading blogs – You could use this list of top Edubloggers to find some blogs you would like to subscribe to.  Alternatively check through this list to find blogs.
  3. Subscribe to RSS feeds using Feed Readers – understanding RSS and using it’s power to make your life easier is an essential part of using these tools. Read this post to learn more about RSS and setting up a feed reader.
  4. Start own blog – If you are interested in setting up an Edublogs blog here is where all the how to information is located.
  5. Comment on other people’s blog – read Dean Shareski excellent post on Student and Teacher Blogging that Succeeds
  6. Join Classroom 2.0 – Classroom 2.0 is the largest Ning network for educators. Read this information on how to get more out of using a Ning site.
  7. Join diigo - Watch Liz Davis screencast on using Diigo. Personally though I’m sure my network meant join del.icio.us so here are my instructions for using del.icio.us.

During my presentation I also showed my twitter network and asked my twitter network provide links to help educators get your PLN started. Here are the links:

  1. Knowledge Bank Conference 2008 – free online conference for educators on 22 & 23 July – link supplied by Janning.
  2. Top 100 Tools for Learning 2008 – list created from top 10 tools recommended by learning professionals. Link supplied by Michael Chalk.
  3. John Pearce’s tutorials.
  4. Contribute to Rodd’s survey on what tools you use in your PLN – Scroll down the page to read other people’s responses. Link supplied by Rodd Lucier.
  5. 23 Things Program – There is a 23 Things program starting on 21 July. This type of program is really good for learning about a range of online tools. Link supplied by Katherine Greenhill.

FINAL THOUGHT

It isn’t possible to capture all the information contained in readers responses to my question so I strongly recommend you read:

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July 9, 2008
by Sue Waters
41 Comments

Help Me Demonstrate The Importance Of Personal Learning Networks!

Image of helping each otherI’d really love your help to demonstrate the importance of personal learning networks so I’m hoping you will help me with my presentation by sharing your thoughts.

The Background

I’m doing a presentation for Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA) State Conference next Friday to overview the ways educators can use online tools to forge personal learning networks related to our areas of interest. Time is limited and I’ve only 30 minutes to talk on the topic.

During the presentation I’m planning to share this post to show how web tools can extend our learning and reflection beyond what is normally achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share our learning with global educators.

The Questions

So can you please leave a comment or write your own blog post to let me know:

  1. Your name, what you do, what part of the World you are based (to demonstrate the global aspect) and, if applicable, your main web site
  2. What do you think are the 3 most important aspects on personal learning networks I should cover?
  3. Why is your personal learning network important to you? Which tools are the most important part of your personal learning network, and why?
  4. Can you provide examples of how your personal learning network has enhanced student learning within your classroom?
  5. Your tips for educators on how to get started setting up their own Personal learning network.

If you are based in Western Australia and interested in networking with other educators interested in ICT in the classrooms – please join us at the ECAWA conference next Thursday July 17 and Friday July 18, 2008.

Image by lumaxart licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

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March 30, 2008
by Sue Waters
35 Comments

Is Your Photo Avatar Making You Look OLD?

Meeting people who you network with online for the first time face to face is always an amazing moment because your mind has created a mental picture of them based on your interactions. Unfortunately the online identity you develop for yourself and how it appears to you may not match what your online friends expect when they meet you, f2f, in real life.

Take for example KerryJ (who I had the great pleasure of meeting this week for dinner with Kathyrn Greenhill). KerryJ and I’ve been networking online for awhile, both share a wicked (evil) sense of humour.

Let me say I’m glad KerryJ told me this (& thanks KerreJ for letting me tell the story) — but apparently my photo avatar is making me look OLD. She pictured me a a much older looking person compared to the person standing in front of her. Now with my birthday tomorrow there is no way I want to look my AGE. She said in person I looked in my 30′s (which many people take me for) but my photo avatar makes me look in my 40′s (which unfortunately I am).

So here’s the offending picture:

suewaterschoc.jpg

I liked it because to be honest there are not many photos of me because I’m one of those people whose photos turn out like crap. And at least the photo looked okay.

This was my previous photo which I liked but felt made me look too bland:

me2.jpg

Here’s what I looked like at dinner:

suema.jpg

Developing Your Online Identity

Developing our own unique identity is an important part of being online which we don’t always appreciate when we first start setting up our online accounts. Personal connection is really important for interacting online. The better others can visualize you as a real person the more likely they will be to want connect and network with you.

1. Branding

Having the one online identity across all your accounts makes it easier for others to connect and relate to you. When starting out we often feel nervous about using our own identity but there are many long term benefits. Read Vicki Davis’s advice to educators on the value of using their own identity (take the time to read the comments also).

It’s amazing how often I network with people using sites like twitter, and their username is so unusual that it can take me months to realise “Oh that’s really John from John’s Blog and I love reading his blog.”

2. Sharing Your Human Side

Giving people a glimpse of your human side, warts and all, is important — this makes you human as opposed to a machine. Show people that you have a sense of humour, that stuff upsets you, that something exciting has happened….. Help them connect with you.

Take for example my post Vacation Without Internet Access? What The? — those readers who network with me a lot, know how addicted I am, were laughing at the idea of me not coping well without Internet access and know in reality that a break would be healthy for me. Others could relate because they’ve faced similar situations themselves.

3. Build Your Identity Using Variety

Text can convey your feelings, emotions and to some extent your personality but won’t help others build the visual picture of what you look like. Your photos means others can visualise what you look like to some extent e.g. no sense of height (I’m 167 cm).

I find twitter gives others a much deeper insight into my personality than blog posts; because I tend express more sides of my emotions and my interactions with others can be synchronous.

A voice to go with a photo helps further to create the mental image. But video is even better as it adds an entirely different dimension again — it helps complete the image. Kate Foy showed me the power of this at the end of the 31 Days to Build A Better Blog — thanks Kate.

I’ve created a quick video of me talking so you can check it out. If you are reading this in your feed reader — you might prefer to watch it on my blog — just press the play on the Edublogs image.

sue-waters.mov

Check out Michele Martin’s post which has lots of great links to Tools and Resources for Managing Your Online Reputation.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So what do you think? Should I change my photo to the one from dinner? Perhaps I should mix them up to keep you guessing?

How do you create your online identity? Have you found mental images you have created been considerably different from the real person when you’ve meet?

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