Week #3: Using Twitter Professionally

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By now you’ve at least heard about Twitter, right? If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to jump in and see what it’s all about –you’ll be glad you did.

One of the most common reasons many people don’t want to use Twitter is “I have nothing to say.” The truth is, you don’t have to say anything to benefit from being on Twitter.

Twitter is a fantastic source of valuable information. Messages from users you choose to follow will show up on your home page for you to read. It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting – you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.

You Don’t Have to Tweet Anything To Benefit

If you remember one thing about Twitter, it should be this: reading Tweets and discovering new information whenever you check in on your Twitter timeline is where you’ll find the most value on Twitter. Some people find it useful to contribute their own Tweets, but the real magic of Twitter lies in discovering the information that matters most to you.

Check out this great New York Times article, Getting the most out of Twitter.

You don’t have to take my word on it.  Pop over to Twitter and search for a topic you are interested in to see for yourself.

Twitter gives you the unique ability to access experts in your field.  One good way to find them is in a scheduled Twitter chat.  Two of the best for learning pros are #lrnchat and #chat2lrn. You can even tweet someone a coffee! I’m @tmiket if you want to try THAT out! 😎

Another great example is how you can use Twitter to follow what’s happening at a conference, even if you aren’t there. That’s called the backchannel and uses hashtags, which is a simple way to organize all the tweets related to a particular event or topic. (We’re using #learncamp as the hashtag for this program).

Twitter is not something you can “get” without putting your hands on it and actually experiencing it.  Here are 10 Easy Steps for Twitter that can guide you as you’re getting started.

To help you find some excellent people to follow, here is a list of 100 people who tweet about Learning & Development assembled by Jane Hart (@c4lpt). They are all excellent…except  maybe that guy at #39

Activity 1: Share Your Twitter Info

Let us know what your Twitter account is so we can follow you. Leave it as a comment below, or tweet it to us using this link: ( Create a Twitter account first, if you don’t already have one. )

Activity 2: Find & Follow

Follow at least 3 people in your field.  Search Twitter or use 100 people who tweet about Learning & Development list.  Leave a comment to let us know what accounts you followed and why?)

Browse at least one hashtag. (That’s another good way to find people to follow)  You can use the ones listed above or go try out RiteTag to find other hashtags you might find interesting.

Extra Credit:

Tweet your reaction to this statement? All L&D people should be on Twitter. (If you don’t have a Twitter account sign up for one first, then come back and tweet.)

CLICK TO TWEET: I agree, L&D practitioners should be on Twitter #Learncamp

CLICK TO TWEET: I disagree, L&D practitioners do not need to be on Twitter #LearnCamp

CLICK TO TWEET: I’m not sure yet whether I think  L&D practitioners should be on Twitter #Learncamp

Even people who’ve been on Twitter a while have questions. Tweet your questions using the #learncamp hashtag.

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Week 2: Social Media

Welcome to all the folks who joined us last week! So glad to make such great connections so that we can collaborate and learn along with each other.  This week we’ll turn our attention towards social media.

Social media can be a bit overwhelming at first. Don’t worry though, that is a totally normal feeling just dive in and give it a chance. Social media is definitely something you have to DO in order to understand. Even the best explanations can’t replace the experience of participating. Heck, I had a Twitter account for over 2 years before I knew what to do with it.

If you’re just getting started with social media—as an individual or an organization—the potential of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms can generate a lot of questions.

  • Where do I start?
  • What do I share?
  • Who do I follow?
  • How do I keep up with it all?
  • Who has time for all this?

Over the next several weeks we’ll help you answer these and other questions. But before we dive into the details, you should give some consideration to what you want achieve. As Stephen Covey, says “begin with the end in mind”.

1.   Which sites should you use?

You don’t have to be on all social media site, just the ones that work best for you. The ones that typically work best are those where you’ll find your colleagues and other people you want to connect with.

2   Create a personable profile?

Take a few minutes complete your profile including avatars, cover photos, and a personable bio.  A completed profile gives you the best chance to gain followers and build a solid reputation on social media

Visual content attracts more attention. The quickest, easiest way to create great-looking visuals for your profile is to use a tool like Canva, which comes with prebuilt templates right-sized for each platform.

I don’t claim to have the world’s greatest social media presence, but if you want to see what I’ve got going on you can find me here:
(please feel free to connect with me while you’re there and mention how you got there)

To help you create your social media profile, here is a helpful checklist from Buffer’s Social Media Kit that covers the major channels:

How to Complete Your Social Media Profile

Other things you should think about is how you plan to fit your social media participation into your schedule. Will you dedicate 15 minutes a day to social media over your morning coffee? During you commute? (As long as you’re not driving of course!) Only on weekends? What works best for you?

Activity 1:

Complete your social media profile worksheet online .  or you can print a copy to work with offline. 

If you already have social media accounts, take this opportunity to review it for completeness and think about how you can improve it. For example, are you using the same profile picture across platforms, are you linking to your personal website or LinkedIn profile and do you have appealing visual headers.

Activity 2:

Take 2 minutes a day this week to learn by  subscribing to this Social Media 101 email course from Buffer. It is a quick, easy way to get a good foundation for the things to come over the next few weeks.

Tweet this!

Leave a comment below or tweet anything you learn that you find valuable.

Extra Credit:

Share which platforms you are already on so others can connect with you. If you like, feel free to ask for feedback on your personal profile(s) in the comments below.

Week 1: Getting Started

Welcome to the Learn Camp program! We’re glad you’re here.

Jane Bozarth writes in the opening of her book “Social Media for Trainers

The possibilities for uses of social media to create community and collaboration are dazzling, although the array of tools and their applications can seem daunting.

Jane, as usual, hits this digital nail right on the head. (You should go read her book.) And that is exactly the type of thinking behind this program. My goal is to introduce you to some of these tools and get you thinking of ways you can apply them to provide solutions for you and your organization.

Just like most things in life, the more you contribute to this adventure the more you’ll take away. So fasten your seatbelt and let’s get going!

#learncamp Hashtag

We encourage  you to question, comment and share things you discover along the way using the hashtag #learncamp  We’ll discuss hashtags more in a few weeks, so for now just know that adding that hashtag to your Twitter, Facebook and other posts you’ll help others find yours and you’ll find them.

Tweet: Come join me in #learncamp to learn new tools & strategies to improve the way you learn and work

Activity 1: How do you define ‘digital literacy’

The basic definition of literacy means to be able to read and write. To be successful in today’s digital world, literacy goes far beyond being able to read and write. What does that look like for you?

Leave a comment below answering this question: “How do you define digital literacy?”

Activity 2:  Rate Yourself

Our second activity is a short survey to rate your current familiarity with some of the tools we’ll explore in this program.  It takes less than 1 minute and we’ll share the results with everyone next week.

Extra Credit: Tweet about  what digital literacy it to you using the program hashtag #learncamp

Learn Camp 2015

Image 1Great news! Learn Camp is coming back for another run. We’re cooking up a few new changes. We’re starting to get excited to reconnect with some old familiar faces along with discovering some new ones.

If you have any comments, questions, etc. please feel free to leave them on this post or shoot me a note directly at t.mike.taylor@gmail.com

#23 That’s a Wrap!

 

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Congratulations!! You’ve reached the finish line. I hope you enjoyed the process and learned a few things along the way.

I’d love to hear your feedback on your experience by completing this super short online survey and by reflecting on your learning by posting a few thoughts.

Here are some questions to prompt you:

  • Has anything changed as a result of this experience?
  • What were your favorite things or discoveries?
  • How did you connect with others as a result of Learn Camp?
  • Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or content?
  • If we offered a another program like this in the future would you participate?
  • How would you describe your learning experience ?

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for taking this journey. I truly hope that it’s not the end, but the beginning of something amazing for you personally. What you choose to do with what you’ve learned is up to you, but I hope that as you look back over the program, there are things that you can take from it, be it having more comfort with technology, continuing a connection you made, or going out on your own and discovering new things on the Web.

Let me know if you’re curious about any of the behind the scenes stuff that went into creating and running this program or if you have any questions about running something similar with your organization.

Thank you!
Mike

#22 How to Build Your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

The social channels available to us today provide virtually limitless opportunities for us to learn from others. Barriers such as time and geography have disappeared and building your own Personal Learning Network (PLN) is not only easy to do but also a tremendous asset.

Here are a few things you can do to begin building your PLN:

  1. Identify people in your field whose work you admire. Follow them on Twitter or via their blog.
  2. Follow #hashtag chats (like #lrnchat and #chat2lrn) on Twitter and actually participate!
  3. Join LinkedIn Groups and reply to questions, comment on posts, connect with others.
  4. Follow and message people who follow and message you. No matter what social network it is.
  5. Check out people who re-pin you on Pinterest. Talk to them. Follow their boards.
  6. Do more than ‘like’ groups and organizations on Facebook. Participate in the comments.
  7. Find a blog you like. See who they link to or follow on social media. Follow those bloggers and repeat.
  8. Use an RSS reader (Feedly, etc ) to stay up to date with bloggers you follow.
  9. Get your colleagues to join you online and offline!

Resources

Discussion:

  • Think about the people in your Personal Learning Network. How do you benefit from being connected with them? How did you find them?
  • Comment or post about how you connect with others in your field or topic of interest.  How do you determine who to follow and where have you found to be your best sources of connecting and learning from others online?
  • Share your social media credentials so we can all connect with each other.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to connect with me. Here are a few of the places you can find me.

 

#21 About Your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Now that we’ve been introduced to a variety of social media tools, lets talk about incorporating them within a workplace learning context. One of the best ways to apply these types of tools is for your own development. Social media can be a fantastic way for trainers, instructional designers, teachers, consultants or anyone else for that matter to become better at what they do.

With the tools available today we are not limited to learning  from conventional sources like courses and classrooms anymore. Learning can happen anytime in many different ways. More and more, people are realizing the value of the networks they belong to, with some of their most valuable learning coming from a dedicated group of chosen and trusted resources. This network of resources is commonly referred to as a Personal Learning Network (or PLN), and it is one of the most powerful learning tools you can have.

Often there are few,  if any, other people in your office,  who does what you do. It’s great if you have a robust collection of people to learn from in your organization but for many training and learning folks that isn’t an option.

Stages of PLN adoption

Benefits of Your PLN

Your PLN can be an amazing source of learning. They can inspire you, challenge your ideas, point you towards great resources, answer your questions, and provide support in so many ways.

In his webinar, Mark Britz shared how asking a question on Twitter helped him solve a problem within minutes. And that sort of thing happens constantly within PLNs. Jane Bozarth shares a similar story in her great article about PLNs.

No Time?

I often hear from people that they don’t have time for this. Unfortunately, it seems those people don’t see the value a PLN can bring. Instead of being a waste of time, it is an investment. Like  most things in life, you get back what you put in. So give it a try and get started. Share links to things you find interesting or helpful. Odds are it will be interesting or helpful to someone else too. Comment on blog posts. Jump into LinkedIn groups and join the discussion. Ask questions. Learn new stuff. Share what you learn.

In the next post we’ll share a few practical ideas for getting started.

Discussion:

  • What does your current PLN look like?
  • Do you have any cool PLN moments you can share? How have you benefited from your PLN?
  • What is your personal strategy for using social tools this way? Do you dedicate time for this activity?
  • What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out? If you’re just starting what questions do you have?

 

#20 Personal Knowledge Management (PKM)

For this activity, we’ll borrow heavily from Harold Jarche and his Seek-Sense-Share model of personal knowledge management (PKM).  Over the past couple of months we’ve discovered a number of new tools that can be used to help you find, manage and share information. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never stopped to give much thought about this process?

Seeking is finding things out and keeping up to date.

Sensing is how we personalize information and use it.

Sharing includes exchanging resources, ideas, and experiences with our networks as well as collaborating with our colleagues.

To quote Harold, “The most important aspect of PKM is that it is personal. In order to stick with a routine over time, people have to find what works for them.”  And to build upon that I think we should all share what that process looks like. Here are a couple of great examples to get you started.

Harold Jarche’s PKM Routine

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Jane Hart’s PKM | Read more about Jane’s process here.

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PKM Model of  Sacha Chua

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Activity:

For this activity, share your PKM routine. If you don’t have one, sketch out an idea of what you might like it to be.  What tools are you using to Seek? Which ones help you manage and make sense of things? And how are you sharing the good stuff you find? 

You can leave a comment, sketch it on paper and post a picture of it, draw it up on a slide and upload it to Slideshare.  Just be sure to share the link here in the comments.

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours!? 😎

#19 Collaborating with Web-based Apps

Documents

The availability and use of online productivity applications (i.e. word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past few years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications. One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC or Windows to Mac! You can create a document at home, but work on it anywhere that has an Internet connection. Another bonus is that they easily accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and PDF).

This Common Craft video about Google Docs gives a good explanation of some of the benefits of using online tools like these instead of emailing multiple copies of a document around to people.

For this discovery exercise, try out any of the web-based document creation tools. Create a simple document, spreadsheet or presentation and see how it compares to whatever you currently use for those types of things.

One of my favorite parts of Google Docs is the forms which can be used for all kinds of things including registration forms or any other type of data collection you might want to do.

If you do any presentations at all (and who doesn’t?) you should check out Nancy Duarte’s “State of Presentations: New Tools for New Communication Needs

If you just want a place to share your presentations online check out SlideShare or SpeakerDeck

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If you don’t want to create an account feel free to jump into this Google Doc I’ve shared with you and play around a bit.  Open it up and leave a comment in there!

You can also try out a presentation or spreadsheet if you want to kick the tires on those.

Online Meetings

Today, more than ever, we are working and collaborating with people in other locations. Fortunately, we have some pretty amazing tools to help make the process much easier than it used to be.

Skype | skype.com

Skype is an application, designed specifically for video and voice communication, that allows you to communicate via the internet to other Skype users, anywhere in the world, for free. In addition to free PC to PC video calling users can choose to pay for additional features. However we’re only going to look at the free features of the program, so here’s a list of free features and what they do:

  • Skype to Skype Calls– Call another Skype user’s computer, works like a telephone.
  • One-on-One Video Calling– Make a video call using your computer’s webcam.
  • Instant Messaging– Like with AIM, Yahoo IM, and MSN messaging.
  • Screen Sharing– Show another Skype user your desktop, images, or a game without actually sending them a file.
  • Conference Calling (Non-Video, between Skype users only)– hold a group phone call with two or more Skype users at one time.
  • Call Transfer (Skype only)– Send a call to another Skype user.
  • Sending Files– Send an image or document to another Skype user.

Google Hangouts

Connect with up to nine people at once from your computer or the Google+ mobile app (Android, iPhone). Use video chat for free with up to nine friends at the same time to connect with family,  share the latest news, get work done, or even watch YouTube clips together.

Hangouts include built-in productivity apps (like Google Drive) that improve team collaboration, even when you’re not together. Your team can make last-minute changes to that important presentation, get live input on your analysis from remote team members, or just plan the company holiday party over coffee.

Join.me | join.me

join.me combines instant screen sharing and meeting tools in an app that anyone can use to present, train, demo or concept. join.me is designed to be intuitive and accessible, providing features that you’ll use every day for everything from show-and-tell to formal presentations.

This is the one I use when I’m helping my Dad on his computer in another town.  Trust me, if he can use it –anyone can! (Love you Dad!)

Vyew | vyew.com

Vyew allows you to meet and share content in real-time or anytime. Upload images, files, documents and videos into a room. Users can access and contribute at anytime. Unlimited use with up to 10 people.

Leave a comment about your experience with these types of web apps. 

  • Do you already use these apps? If so, how?
  • Are any of these new to you?
  • How could online applications such as these help you in your day-to-day work?
  • How could your organization incorporate and ultimately benefit from these tools?

 

#18 Share Your Top 10 Learning Tools

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Extra Credit Activity for 100 Bonus Points: 

Now that you’ve had a chance to see last year’s Top 100 list of learning tools and explore some news ones for yourself it’s your turn.  What are your personal top 10?

You can either leave them in the comments below or even better yet, submit your own personal Top 10 Tools for Learning list for the 2014 version.

Either way, be sure to share them with us here. If you blog your list, please link to this post and it will be included in the comments automatically. (FYI that’s called a Pingback)

A learning tool is defined as any software or online tool or service that you use either for your own personal or professional learning, for teaching or training, or for creating e-learning

After you’ve submitted your own top 10, here are a few notable lists worth checking out:
(You should subscribe to their blogs while you’re there!)