Feeding Your Personal Learning Network

Earlier this week I talked about the importance of having a Personal learning Network.

Though now I want to discuss a little bit more about something I have recently learned and that is feeding your personal learning network.

I get it. Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. are all overwhelming with information good and bad once you start following a massive amount of people (okay my 185 followers isn’t massive… but it will get there).

I also get that we are busy people. It’s difficult to take the time to scroll through several different uninteresting thing, to find a great article shared or a great conversation happening on twitter.

So here’s the thing… we actually have the power to feed through our networks!

Here are four basic tips that I have been studying and practicing the past couple of days after following a lot of different people in the education world and literature world.

Photo CC-By Mark Owens

TIPS – From Howard Rheingold

  • Feed the people you follow if you come across information that you suspect would interest them.
  • Engage the people you follow. Be polite, mindful of making demands on their attention. Put work into dialogue if they welcome it. Thank them for sharing.
  • Inquire of the people you follow, of the people who follow you. But be careful. Ask engaging questions – answers should be useful to others
  • Respond to inquiries made to you. Contribute to both diffuse reciprocity and quid pro quo

(for more tips check out his post)

Feed the people.

It is so important I have learned this week to share information that is relevant and interesting. I have found that like it when there are visuals and white space on the page of information. What you are talking about may be interesting, but if it doesn’t catch the eye of the reader or viewer it is likely that they may not read it because it looks to be just another “boring read” that they won’t learn from.

Also, online many of the followers you have or people you follow only know you by what you post. So, make sure it reasonable and appropriate to your followers. Nothing is more surprising than going through your feed and seeing something that you find to be rude, inappropriate, or not something related to your personal learning network.

Engage the people. 

Engaging with people in person is really important, but engaging with people online is also very important. Taking the resources that others are sharing for granted is somewhat selfish, so take the time to say thank you to them for taking the time out of their day to share information and thoughts!

Another way to engage with people is to create a discussion. The discussion should always be related to the topic and something that you are overall interested in… maybe you have a question, answer, or comment you think you could add!


Inquire of the people. 

How will you contribute to the personal learning network? In other words, what do you have that they are interested in? What experiences or knowledge sets you apart from others. Share these things with people so they can learn! Give and take.

Respond to inquiries.

Respond to your followers and be aware of how you respond. The voice you use on your accounts is the only voice that your readers/viewers/followers know you by, so choose a good one! I have learned it is best to stay away from sarcasm and definitely unpleasant language use. If we like to read comments, we must also know that our readers like to hear back from us… so it’s important to engage with them in this exercise!

This is a process that will take time and practice… like most learning does at first! However, i’m positive I will get the hang of this networking and so will you! Confidence, asking questions, and reading relevant information to help us navigate our way through the new world of networking are all ways to help us become relieved of our overwhelming feeling.

Photo CC-By Dexell1827

If dogs can do it we can too! Good luck to all venturing out of their comfort zones!




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