Thirty-four “my network” things. Whatever that is.
I cannot express how little I use LinkedIn – well, maybe those above semi-sentences just did. And I should. I really should, if for no other reason than I flipping teach social media, and LinkedIn is just a teensy bit of an important social media networking tool. You know, maybe just a little.
I don’t remember why I originally joined LinkedIn. I am really happy at my current job, which is something not a lot of people can say. So I wouldn’t have opened an account to search for new job connections (unless I was on one of my “WHY DO POLITICIANS KEEP SCREWING OVER LOUISIANA EDUCATION” kicks, which has occurred from time to time – see this link, this link, and this link for just a few recent examples). But LinkedIn is actually a very important tool, even for people like me, who are happy with what they do.
LinkedIn allows you to make connections with people who are in similar businesses with you. For me, as an educator, that is invaluable. Not only can I talk with fellow higher education professionals about what books they’re using, what service-learning projects they enjoy, and what new research they’re doing, but I can also make connections with people in the communication field, who would be able to help my students with internships and jobs.
My SM toys of choice are Facebook (because I’m old), Instagram (because I like pictures), and Twitter (why, oh, why?). I don’t use any of them really to aid in my occupational connections – not intentionally, at least.
But I do – quite accidentally, really. I tweet and retweet information that is important to my students and my colleagues – and occasionally some smart aleckness or quip about my kids. Because everyone is more than what he or she does at work – we are full, well-rounded individuals with families, with hobbies, with favorite foods, and with interests other than simply what we get paid to do.
So that’s why I chose my main three. It’s not for occupational connections, though I do have those. It’s for the original reason of social media: to stay in touch.
And, as we all get older (because it does happen, daily), it’s always good to keep up-to-speed with the changing technology – not just for ourselves, though that’s important, but when The Artist comes home in ten years and tells me she started a “Flickbook” account, I want to know what it is, how to use it, and to get my own account. Not to be a helicopter parent, but because if I don’t understand the technology as an adult, she as a teenager without the wisdom that comes with age and experience, won’t know either.
Plus, technology has offered us a wide range of communication tools. And if I don’t know how to use the technology, I won’t know what’s real news – and what’s fake news. But we’ll talk about fake news and media literacy next Monday.