This is the twenty second post in the Professional Development 2.0 series. If you have not already, I would encourage you to start with the first twenty one posts:
- Introduction to the New Professional Development
- Old and New
- What is a PLN?
- Parts of a New PLN
- What’s all that tweeting about?
- Why Twitter?
- Instant PLN!
- Investing in the Follower/Following Relationship
- Differentiating Development with the Educator’s PLN
- How Building a PLN Can Help Your Students
- What’s the Difference Between Social Media and Social Networking
- Introduction to Social Bookmarking
- How Social Bookmarking Works
- Characteristics of a Reflective Educator
- Writing to Grow – an Introduction to Blogging
- Why a Blog Instead of a Private Journal?
- Where to Start Blogging
- How to Find and Follow Great Blogs
- Comments – The Currency of Blogs
- Blogging With Students
- The Secret of Any Conference
You do not need to wait for conferences for authentic networking with people from your personal learning network. It is quite easy, actually, to setup small meetings with others on your own terms and time schedule.
One of the easiest ways to stimulate in-person networking is by organizing a TweetUp. A TweetUp is simply a meeting of people from one’s personal learning network, other from Twitter. There a no hard and fast rules about TweetUps. Often, though, they do share a few simple characteristics:
- Meet in a public place, like a coffee shop or a restaurant.
- Announced in advance and open to anyone.
- Free to come (This is not to say that you pick up everyone’s bill at the restaurant; rather, just that there is no fee to come to the meeting.)
TweetUps are simple things that can be very worthwhile. By taking the initiative and simply asking, you can have meaningful interaction with people you might not otherwise get the chance to meet.
For example, I have been talking to @amandacdykes, a science teacher, and @kevindwashburn, owner of Clerestory Learning, for a long time. Since they both live in Alabama, I really want the chance to meet and interact with them on my first visit to the state. So, we talked and settled on a local Starbucks. Then, we posted a message on Twitter inviting anyone else who wanted to come to our informal gathering:
This time, since it was short notice, no one else was able to come. However, I still had a great time. I was able to learn a lot from two very smart people and I was also able to get to them better, which strengthens the friendship as well.
TweetUps take much less effort than conferences to attend usually and are enjoyable learning experiences.