Growth through a PLN does not come from only reading, watching, and listening to the creations of others. It is important to also take time to reflect on the resources examined (for instance, by writing a blog) and to share your ideas so that people who are part of your network can learn from you and a dialog can take place.
I was recently listening to a podcast and the discussion of post-secondary education was brought forward. The hosts were debating the value of higher education and made a point that resonated with me. University is not necessarily about academics, but it is a place where people go to make connections, to grow their networks. According to this article by Bauer, “growth through a PLN does not come from only reading, watching, and listening to the creations of others,” (2010), it comes from an active community participation. They go further by saying it is also valuable to take the time to reflect on the information received (for example, by writing a blog) and to share your insights so that people in your network can potentially learn from you and a meaningful dialogue can take place.
I have recent experience building a PLN before creating a social media campaign. I am the assistant to my department chair, and we wanted to bring the Victoria Francophone community together for a back-to-school event on campus this past September. This really demonstrated the importance of a diverse and broad PLN, as it was much easier to get contacts through other connections we already may have had. We started by contacting the larger associations such as school districts and francophone societies in the lower mainland and on the island, asking them to share the news with their members. We created a survey so that guests could respond to the invitation to get an idea of how many people to expect. We also asked for their contact information so we could contact them for any future community events like this. After we had a good idea of who we wanted to contact, we began advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter groups already followed by community members. The student-run accounts were very helpful, as they already have a large following and can therefore get more people talking.
According to Mojo Media Labs, the first step to creating a social media campaign is understanding the goal of the campaign. Our goal was to bring the Francophone community back together after a long period of isolation. We wanted everyone to come and talk to each other in French, to create new connections with the major associations involved in the festivities. Then, the article suggests deciding how to promote the campaign. It was important that we have a poster with the information of the event while being nice to look at. This poster was plastered all over campus as well as on all the social media platforms mentioned above. It is said that advertising on social media is essential if you want people to see and interact with your content. The article emphasizes the importance of monitoring the public’s reaction to the campaign and keeping their suggestions in mind when making future adjustments.
It is very important to make as many connections as possible to ensure that as many people as possible are talking. People know other individuals whose connection might someday be useful. Because the event I organized was for a broader community, we had to adapt to using older modes of communication, like email and the good old-fashioned phone call. I found it helpful to use the survey because all the information I needed was in one place and I now have a long list of contacts for the next time I need it.
8 Steps To Creating A Social Media Campaign That Gets Results. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mojomedialabs.com/blog/8-steps-to-creating-a-social-media-campaign-that-gets-results
Bauer, W. I. (2010). Your Personal Learning Network: Professional Development on Demand. Music Educators Journal, 97(2), 37–42. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40960201