How to work a PLN

Yesterday, TheCleverSheep made a post where he challenged us to identify the most important thing that we’ve learned from our PLN.  (Personal Learning Network)  In his post, he put a link to a Google Docs survey and made the results immediately visible.

One of his questions was:

“Which tool would you recommend as a starting point to build a personal learning network? ”

It was interesting to see the results.

My first reaction, when I read the question, was to just jump in and nominate Twitter as my choice.  As I moved to the next question, I reconsidered.  The question included the words “starting point”.

Now, many folks use Twitter.  I use it constantly.  In fact, I will have Twhirl or Spaz open on my desktop at all times.

I follow some interesting people and likewise, I try my best to be interesting and productive for anyone who cares to follow me.

I’ve been a real fan of Twitter since joining it.  It took a while, but I now have a pretty good PLN that I’ve developed there.  It’s very comforting to know that I can do a shout out or ask a question or just make a comment and get the response from a segment of the Twitter network.  But, is that for the beginner?  Is it a good starting point?

Upon further review, it isn’t.  There have been lots of folks who create a new account and sit back to watch the magic happen.  But, until you’ve cultivated a following and jumped into the fray, it’s futile.

I decided to opt for Delicious.  Here, you create an account and can get immediate results.  Find a few people and you aren’t looking for the magic to happen.  It already has.  Good Delicious users have already found the answers and contributed to themselves and to their network.  You just have to sit back and reap the benefits.

I think you’ll be off to a better start for the beginner looking for that starting point.

Once they get the knack of things, it’s time to move onto real time interaction and that’s where Twitter steps up to the plate and is so powerful.

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