Thursday, June 26, 2008

Social Networking - not Just for Sales Anymore

  • I decided to try my hand at answering a question in the Linked In forum to show off my expertise. Don't laugh. I chose this one: Are sales people more or less likely to engage in social networking than those in other professions?

My social networking experience started when I was transitioning from teaching fifth grade to middle school business. I had to find a group for support, and so I joined the "I Must Be Crazy, I Teach Middle School" Yahoo Group. It was great. We'd share lesson plans, discussion board topics, etc. I also entered chat rooms and joined in conversations with other single parents, movies, books, and other topics of interest - but this group was my true network. I never met a single person from the group, but we had some great times.

And I'm not in sales. Well, not really.

I later joined a network as a member and then as their manager for North Florida. You know the one, Discovery Educator Network. I really enjoyed the connections we made and the power the DEN gave the teachers. Empowering. Empowering Passionate teachers. Infusing technology, methodology, and the trends. It was absolutely fantastic.

So of course I had to write my thoughts and tell Doyle Stanton my feelings. I edited it down big time to say, "Social networking is very strong in education as well. I would say any profession that is truly enhanced by reaching out and getting to know others in order to share ideas, connections, resources, and even help in a time of need engage in social networking. I think the amount of traveling a sales person engages in though increases their likelihood of networking."

When I edited, I cut it down by accident. I left off the thought that I see the same with teachers who travel to conferences, participate in activities not necessarily sponsored by their district, and are willing to try something new. The teachers attending NECC next week are busy planning where they'll meet up if they follow on Twitter, how to connect during the conference, and where to connect afterwards.

  • David Warlick has created a fantastic tool called hitchhiker that pulls all the blogs and topics about conferences together.
  • There is a Ning for the NECC attendees to join and stay connected before and after the conference is over.
  • Twitter people are keeping an eye there to keep up to date with what's going on at NECC, and I'll bet Plurk will be busy too.
And those are just a few ways teachers will network. By meeting in person, sharing an experience, and making these initial connections, their online connection will be even stronger.

So is it limited to just sales people? No. Social networking is there for anyone willing to join and take the time to contribute and connect based upon jobs, hobbies, or interests.

Take the summer to connect with teachers. Start off by joining in on Scholastic Discussion Boards, look for a Ning for you, or really plunge into a network like DEN or others.

1 comment:

m said...

I enjoyed catching up on your blog this evening.

I hate to do this but you have been tagged. Feel free to ignore me :)