While we use social media to participate in conversations and sharing, the questions of value and worth often come up.  There are certainly many metrics, site stats, and scores to monitor if one desires to have some quantifiable data regarding social media influence or interactions.

But if it is the idea that we are developing a personal learning network (PLN), should the question of value be more of a personal thing?  What one values about connecting with social media may be an individual thing.  One may value a “lurker” kind of participation and another may value an active exchange with others.  Some share links, some tweet in conversations, or share a variety of things, or all of the above.

One’s view of the value of time spent may also be affected by how they have added and connected in building their network.  There are many lists and suggestions circulating on Twitter with recommendations of who to follow. Building of a network may also be a more personally driven process.  I think we may need to let people find their way a bit too.  I think we need to be gentle about how we nudge others to use social media for connected learning.  I worry that too much “should” and “must” advice about whom to follow and connect with, as well as what and how to share could easily be detrimental to one finding what they will value and find meaningful in connecting with social media.  Relationships and connections can take time – confidence and trust in the medium can as well.

I just learned that August is connected educator month.  I am not sure about all that it means, but I thought that a recent tweet from a teacher, Andrew Campbell (@acampbell99), was timely and relevant,

“To encourage educators to be connected we have to be prepared to meet them where they are”.

I try to keep this in mind when I nudge adults, parents and educators to try social media to build a network, but I know it is easy to forget.  I know that I am thankful for how I was nudged by a few of my online mentors, but everyone can have their own unique path in how they begin and build to connect online.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/aphrodite/66231929/”>~Aphrodite</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>