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Suivre, folgen, seguire . . . or just plain follow? January 5, 2010

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD, Inspiration.
Tags: , , ,

'Walk this way' by Mel B. (via Flickr). CC BY licence.

A colleague new to Twitter asked me earlier who would be good to follow.  I was about to fire off a few suggestions when it suddenly struck me that what appeared on the face of it to be a simple question, actually merited a more considered answer.  The quick and easy reply would be to say just follow anyone I follow . . . but how arrogant would that make me?  It presupposes that those people of interest to me would interest someone else . . . though to be fair, I’m constantly grateful for the stimulation and inspiration my PLN provides and I think they’re pretty damned hot!  But someone else might have different imperatives or want to pursue different interests, so how should I advise?

Well how about starting with Mashable’s Twitter Guide Book which includes an explanation of how to build a Twitter community?  Or  a visit to the Twitter4Teachers page which lists hundreds of educators on Twitter arranged into areas by subject and/or interest?  But perhaps these are better explored when someone is a little more comfortable with the way Twitter works and can begin to make more informed judgements.

To return to the original question for a moment, essentially I was being asked for my recommendations . . . if someone asked me what music I might recommend, I suppose my first question would be ‘what do you like?’ (already covered that), but I wouldn’t then say ‘go and have a look at what’s on iTunes.’  No, I’d offer a few alternatives that I liked, trying to be as eclectic as possible. So the criteria I’m going to use are as follows:

  • People from different phases of education – primary, secondary, tertiary and beyond
  • People who are prolific Tweeters and some who Tweet less often
  • People from different countries – it’s good to get a different perspective

And here’s my list, in no particular order and sticking to a hopefully manageable dozen:

@simonhaughton, @dajbelshaw, @josepicardo, @timbuckteeth, @maggiev, @zaidlearn, @c4lpt, @lasic, @mwclarkson, @grumbledook, @digitalmaverick, @lisibo, @courosa.

(And the only reason @tombarrett is not on the list is because I know he’s already being followed) . . . but I could just as easily produce another dozen or another.  It’s just like recommending music – once you start, you could go on and on and on.

How would you have answered the same question?  What would your criteria have been?



1. Nick - January 8, 2010

Good question, Mr. G! It is interesting, because for me the process of ‘growing’ the community of people I follow on Twitter (and well beyond) is the point. I suppose you do need a starting point, I had those that Twitter suggested in the first place – only one of which I still follow. I had you, and a couple of the people that you seemed to be following at the time and that was it. I have added and disgarded people to and from my emerging PLN as I have gone along and that’s the way I thought it worked… so I’m not sure that I wouldn’t say,”Go and look on iTunes” but if I did I think I’d add “And here are my tips for connecting with people and building a community that you find valuable.

I’m pretty sure that your suggestions were accompanied by some tips on how it worked for you so that your colleague had both a starting point and a few strategies for finding their way because that’s what you’re like (I presume to suggest). But for me, I think the emphasis would be more on developing strategies than providing starting points, so my approach would be more like (and I haven’t given there a great deal of thought, so my apologies);

1. Think about what you want out of the process (and keep this in mind)
2. Follow a couple of people you find through a simple search or recommendation
3. If you like what you get from these people, look at who they are following.
4. If you don’t like what you get from these people, ditch them (politely)
5. Search a couple of hashtags you see them using and see who else pops out of the woodwork.
6. Engage, becuase the more you put in, the more you get out (he says, painfully aware that he’s rather inconsistent on this front himself!)

Well, that’s my tupenny’s worth, anyway!

2. ianinsheffield - January 8, 2010

Aaahh, now that’s much wiser than my answer and despite the claimed lack of ‘thought,’ offers a more sustainable solution, more likely to lead to embedded practice. “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day, but . . .” sort of thing – I like it and doff my cap! In fact I think it’s worth at least a tanner!

Here’s hoping the colleague who prompted the post gets the chance to read this.

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