Building community on Twitter

One of the key reasons for joining Twitter is to become part of a community.  A “community” can take several forms.  It might be:

  • your Personal or Professional Learning Network
  • a Community of Practice (CoP) – – a collection of like-minded people who join together to improve their practice
  • a Learning Community – a body students/learners and others who learn together

Building your Personal or Professional Learning Network (PLN). 

“A personal learning network can be your most powerful learning tool no matter what the subject.”
(Building your personal learning network, Daniel R Tobin 1998)

What is a Personal or Professional Learning Network (PLN)?

“There is nothing new about personal learning networks. They are the people and information sources that help you accomplish your goals, either on the job or in your personal pursuits.” (The Art & Technique of Personal Learning Networks, David Warlick)

Who should be in your PLN?

“The members of your network do not need to be people with whom you work directly. In fact, you do not even need to know the people personally. The members of your network should be people, both inside and outside of your work group and your company, who have the knowledge that you are trying to master and who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with you” (Building your personal learning network, Daniel R Tobin 1998)

The people you choose to part of your PLN will  share with you links to useful sources of information,  answer your question and reinforce your learning.

Building a Learning Community

Whether you are joining or building a Community for a one-off event or an ongoing basis Twitter has a lot to offer.
Students who see themselves as a “community” are often more open to communicating and learning from one another in a class situation.

You can establish contact with people by “following” them and this means you will receive their tweets. Who you follow is completely up to you. Take a look at their profile page and their recent tweets and decide if they are someone you
would like to interact with. If you are looking for a good deal of interaction with people, then it might be a good idea to avoid choosing people who follow lots of people, as they are unlikely to have the time to interact with everyone on an individual basis.

How do you find people to follow?

Twitter lists are another great way to find users you might want to follow. There are lists out there
for just about every topic compiled by thousands of people.

Follow Friday: Look out for tweets that contain the hashtag #followfriday or #ff for recommendations of people to follow.

How many people should you follow?

Some people only like to follow a small number, others can cope with hundreds if not thousands.  Note: you do not HAVE to follow everyone who follow you.  Also, if it gets too “noisy”, you can stop following someone by going to their profile page, and clicking the Unfollow button. You can also block someone from following you, if required.

What other places can you find people to follow on Twitter?

Letting people know you are on Twitter

If you have a blog or website, you could place a Twitter badge on it that displays your latest tweets, This is a useful way for people to find out you are on Twitter, and to follow you if they want.  Twitter provides a number of different types of badges to embed on your blog or web page. The badge you choose will depend upon if you can use Javascript on your site, or whether only Flash is allowed.

Reading list

7 reasons Twitter is central to my life, Ross Dawson, 20 June 2011

2010, the year of the personal learning network, blog-efl, 9 January 200

How to build a personal learning network, Richard Byrne

20 ways you can use Twitter lists, Mashable, 4 November, 2009