Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Building a Network with Twitter (#eci831)

I have been part of Twitter since early in July of this year. I have gradually built a network, one person at a time. On August 6, I wrote a blog post titled "31 Tweets, 6 Followers, Following 24" ( If I were to write about the state of my Twitterverse today, the title would be "369 Tweets, 115 Followers, Following 194". In the past six weeks, I have been working on building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) as well as a local community network (for the cit

English: Illuminatable Earth globe, Columbus, ...Image via Wikipedia

y of #Saskatoon, #yxe). Many of the people I follow on Twitter have an either/or network. Is it possible for me to effectively build a network that includes both types of followers?

I remember in August when I followed Alec Couros (courosa on Twitter), I sent him a message asking him for Saskatchewan people to follow. He gave me two names. This is an influential Open Education guru living in Regina, Saskatchewan and teaching at the University of Regina. As of today, Alec has more than 5000 people (the size of a small Saskatchewan city) following him on Twitter. Alec has been so generous with the Twitter community that he has a Professional Learning Network that spans the globe. (I know I'm simplifying the picture somewhat. Alec is also offering an Open Education class, #eci831, which has given many , including myself, the opportunity to hear his voice.) Alec has a Twitter community from around the world. His PLN is enormous.

Here's my point: If I engage with other educators and share resources and ideas on Twitter, what will my local Saskatoon followers think? If I tweet about #CupcakeCornerSk that just opened in Saskatoon, will the members of my Professional Learning Network decide to "unfollow" me because these

sktoon09h01 Saskatchewan River, Saskatoon 2009Image by CanadaGood via Flickr

tweets are not of interest to them?

My question for other people in Alec Couros' class (and for any of the others who read my blog): How have you been able to build both a local and a professional Twitter community? Is it best to select one or the other as the priority? Is it possible to have my cake and eat it too?
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  1. Ruth - I think both are key, and yes, for me, I've been able to build both a global network and a strong NYC network.

    Sometimes you just need to get coffee with someone to make sense of the hard stuff, ya know?

    I think in this case you can definitely have your cake and eat it too. Look for twitter to come out with location based tools in the next 6 months to make this much easier.

    Helping people find a network - or PLN if you like - on twitter is a key business priority for them. Too many people sign up and never connect.

  2. Hi Ruth - I recently changed my career to become a learning mentor and am also relatively new to both Twitter. I have created two Twitter accounts, one of which I am using to build a PLN the other I use more for a more local network. I use Hootsuite to manage these accounts allowing me to post to either or both accounts. Works well for me so far.

  3. Thanks Kevin and Steve for your advice. I definitely agree that if Twitter comes out with some location based tools, this will make building a local network much easier.

    I have considered doing what you are doing Steve in creating two Twitter accounts. However, I am finding it hard enough to keep up with one account.

    Do both of you try to read every tweet that comes your way? I think that is one of my difficulties. I try to go back and read every tweet that I missed (usually stop by twice a day). As I follow more and more people, that is more tweets to go back to view. How do you manage the tweet flow?