Monthly Archives: December 2015

Twitter Pays Off

I’ve been promoting Twitter to students for several years now. At first, they didn’t see the point. To students, social media was merely for entertainment or staying connected with family and friends.

I’ve used Twitter mostly for building a PLN of educators and creative professionals, although entertainment does weigh in from time to time. I think that students often miss the fact that Twitter can have serious uses.

I think that digital media students need to be aware of the marketing potential of the various forms of social media. Most students don’t miss that this is going on. But perhaps they don’t yet see themselves as needing to acquire skills with promoting themselves and their work through this medium.

If they are stuck in the “family and friends” mindset, they are missing out on the opportunity to interact with various brands on Twitter. One of my students recently won a bunch of merchandise simply by interacting on Twitter :

Twitter is a great way to bring attention to problems you may have as a customer. For example, a few years ago on Valentine’s day, I along with thousands of others received an order of flowers that were damaged by cold weather. But with one tweet, I received a voucher for free replacement flowers.  

There have been other examples. For example, Adobe helped me to straighten out an issue with billing by communication through social media that I had never been able to get resolved through any other means.

Social media is great for consumers. It is great for businesses. And it is wonderful for making professional connections. Until something better comes along, I will continue advising students to get involved in serious uses of social media.

What is a Personal Learning Network or PLN?

For many years now, I have been developing and enjoying the benefits of having a “Personal Learning Network” or PLN. Some of the best teachers I’ve ever seen are out there freely sharing their best stuff on teaching. This normally happens in the form of blogs and through social media. Over the years, I’ve received enormous benefit from my self-directed efforts at professional development in the form of the PLN, although over the past few years things have slowed a great deal for me. As we enter the new year of 2016, I am looking towards renewing my PLN learning with new vigor. In fact, this QUEST group could absolutely be considered a PLN. But I would like others to be aware that there are amazing possibilities out there to be discovered.

For now, I will share two of my favorite resources.


My original Techintersect blog includes some of my favorite writings on teaching. I changed to this new Techintersect blog and while it hasn’t had as much love and attention yet, I hope to change that in the coming year.

You don’t need to have a blog to benefit from the blogging phenomenon. You can just visit the blogs of other blogging teachers and begin the conversation there through the comments.

Social Media

I follow a number of educators on social media that I admire. This is an important topic by itself, but to get started I recommend searching for people with similar interests on Twitter. Just go to and enter terms you are interested in. Once you find someone who seems credible (lots of users, lots of interactions, great ideas) look at who they are following and follow those people as well. Building a PLN on social media is an ongoing process.

Another idea is to connect through social media with educators you already have met in person. For example, I follow a good number of people on Facebook whom I’ve met at the Wakonse Conference on College Teaching.

Well, that’s it for now. These two are great ways to get connected with amazing educators out there that can keep you busy with new ideas for your entire career.

Finally, a question for dear readers – Are any of you doing either of these things? How are you using electronic communications to stay in touch with other educators? Any tips or advice on things that work?