Networking and Collaboration

One of me in SL

This is “me”

You always hear people going on about networking but what does that really mean and why is it considered so important?

We never only learn on our own, there are usually other people involved. They might form part of a class, be work colleagues or family and friends but they all influence what and how we learn. This video from Denison University in the USA is three years old but it is inspiring to hear how the students talk about learning how to network online. The wider the community we engage with the more chance there is for our learning to be honed by others. Basically that is what networking is all about, you find other people who have similar interests, you talk about those interests and, as a result, you learn. As you learn so do others learn from you, they also learn about you. So before you start networking you need to think about what it is that you want people to learn about you.

You need to be seen as friendly but professional, honest but not to the point of being rude and you need to be positive but not full of your own importance. You need to decide how you want to appear to others, this blog tells you about ten words you can cut from your writing if you want your argument to be more forceful. If you are trying to present a less formal personality you would want to leave some of these words in your writing; look to see how others write before you start. Be careful what you say and what you say about other people – let this video be a warning. Of course you also have to consider the law relating to what you do online. You might like to try out Accidental outlaw, a quiz about the law and online writing. One way to start networking is by blogging, like Laura Pasquini who writes about studying for her PhD. You could join discussions on Twitter, this might be with a support group such as #phdchat, it could be following a person who works in the your subject area, such as Richard Branson (if you are a business student) or a company such as TechSmith (if you are a computing student). You could join Facebook too and then link all your networking sites together thus enlarging your network. People often call this type of setup a Personal Learning Network (PLN).

You do not need to join in any discussions at the beginning, in fact it is better to lurk for a while so you can learn about the culture of the group you have joined. If you do not know how to join in here are a few tips:

  • If you do not have anything to say don’t say anything
  • Develop your listening skills
  • If you are not sure what someone means, ask them
  • Ask interesting questions about the site topic/subject area
  • Give helpful and interesting answers, do not use mundane phrases such as, “I totally agree”
  • Try to give only positive answers (this can be challenging), if you cannot be positive do not say anything
  • Do not comment or reply when you are angry
  • Provide people with links to useful sites/information
  • Do not use humour/sarcasm, it can very often misfire or be misunderstood
  • If you do say something humourous, remember to put a smiley, 🙂 , so people know you are not serious

In the next post I’ll be talking more about employability and how it is linked to digital literacy. If there is anything you would like to have explained further do let me know, especially if you would like me to put a video into Quiler for you.

Who knows you?

One of me in SL

This is “me”

We all think we know everything there is to know about the online aspects of our lives but I am constantly finding helpful tips about managing my own data and image. So I’m going to carry on with the idea of the Digital Footprint in this post and see if there isn’t something of interest I can turn up for you.

Just take a look at this video – it’s really good – by Tom Scott, who is a sort of digital literacy journalist. Once you have watched the video ask yourself if Tom could do the same thing with your Facebook page? If you feel a little worried by this video, instead of worrying go and look at the Facebook Help site. There’s loads of information here about how to control who gets to know you and your friends in Facebook. Look at your other Networking sites and check their Help pages for Privacy and Security advice too.

For some general good advice on how to keep your computer/mobile phone/tablet from letting in unwanted attention your should look at this video from Channel 4 News. It provides some very basic advice which can be applied to any networking you do, such as:

  • Keep your personal details out of any profile you create (put in the minimum required)
  • Check your privacy settings are at the level you need
  • Periodically check your “likes”/”friendships” to make sure nothing fishy has occurred
  • Make sure you update your internet browser software (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer etc)
  • Make sure you update your operating system regularly (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc)
  • Install and regularly update some reputable anti-virus software

If you have any problems sorting out your privacy or security settings do contact me – I might not know the answer straight away but I can usually find out 🙂

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