At the beginning of twitter life, most people focus on numbers. Anyone that tells you different is lying! At some point in the life span of twitter, a connection happens. Those numbers turn into people, stories and conversations. I’m fortunate to have been able to make some pretty amazing connections this year. I thought that it would be nice to let people in on the secret to doing that. It’s not hard but there are some steps that you can take to make connecting easier.
Step 1: Talk to people
The first time that I met Kristy Vincent, (@bigpurplehat) she doesn’t even remember. It was our state technology conference and Kristy was sitting on the floor next to Lisa Johnson (@techchef4u), who probably doesn’t remember this either. I just walked over, sat down and started talking. I did a lot of that at TCEA. It wasn’t even to build a network, I just wanted to learn more about people and what they were sharing. To build a strong network, one that exceeds the “walls” of twitter, you have to connect with the person behind the handle. Start a conversation. Reply to thoughts. Jump in the middle of conversations. By all means, don’t just lurk. Engage!
Step 2: Don’t be weird. (Be silly, yes….not weird)
When I met Kyle Pace for the first time, I said to him… “I follow you on twitter”. There was awkward silence. Only later, after a group discussion, that I inserted myself into(see step 1), did it get less awkward. When Beth Still sent me a message prior to our trip to Discovery Ed, I screamed. People thought that I was crazy. I mention these two because I’ve been learning from them for years. I wanted to get to know them without weirding them out. Looking up to other educators is a powerful thought. It’s amazing what twitter has done to uplift what we do. When you meet those that you admire, spark a conversation…a normal one. They are just like you!
Step 3: Share
If you really want to build a network, share what you know. Share what drives you. Share what you are passionate about. People like to know that. If you are under the impression that you have nothing to share, rethink that. We all have something of value to add to the conversation. Share and share often. Do it, expecting nothing in return. Do it because you want to share. People will see it. They always do.
Step 4: Be Yourself
Step 4 is probably the most important of all. You must be true to yourself online and off. Never change who you are for the sake of approval of others. When you are connecting, connect with people who share commonalities with you. It makes it easier to be yourself.
Step 5: Show Up for Stuff!
I said that step 4 was the most important of all but step 5 is pretty close. If you want to connect with people, you’ve got to go to events. Edcamps are a great start, especially since edcamps are based on conversations. You will have more time to connect. In addition, they are free. When you get there, start form step 1 and work your way down. Talk to people, share and be yourself. Before you know it, your network will grow!