- Becoming more active on social media starts with one invitation.
- As you begin to become more invested in your social media accounts, your confidence and connections grow.
- Growing your networks leads to more possibilities and fosters professional growth.
- Learning how to harness the power of social media can change your life. There is support out there for you.
A Network at Your Fingertips
On March 13th, 2020 the education world in the United States drastically changed for so many of us. As the country and world closed, my PLN multiplied exponentially. My world opened up in ways I never thought possible. I didn’t sign up for new local, state, or national associations, professional agencies, professional development, or any other “professional” groups. I accepted a Facebook group invite from probably the one member of my PLN.
Now, I had socially been active on Facebook since 2010. I also had accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and, Voxer, but I barely ever used them. When I accepted that invite to the Facebook group for educators, my eyes were opened to how I could or should be using social media.
A Network at Your Fingertips: Dive In
I’ll admit I was hesitant when I joined the group. First, I didn’t know what to share. There was only one person in the group I knew in “real life.” So I started following the posts in the group. Then as I felt more comfortable I began commenting on posts and videos.
As my comfort level grew, I began chatting and messaging with members of the group. I started making connections with different members. Suddenly I realized wasn’t alone. I participated in and even led a book club with the group. There were so many educators living through the same thoughts, feelings, and experiences as I was living through. I also realized how much fun I could have being connected with people I have never “met.” After a few months of participating in the Facebook group, I started to branch out.
A Network at Your Fingertips: Fostering Growth
I joined a Voxer group of like-minded educators with whom I now chat daily. We share life events, personal and professional questions, dilemmas we are facing, and challenge each other’s thinking. We help each other grow! As my network grows, so do the possibilities.
Things I had never considered doing suddenly became feasible. I have started two podcasts, one with a friend and one with my two boys. I have moderated two Twitter Chats and use my Instagram page. In June, I began meeting in the Teach Better Team Mastermind and became a guest blogger. I joined the Teach Better Facebook page and the Teach Better Mastermind Voxer group. The more I used social media and the more I put myself out there the more I got out of it.[scroll down to keep reading]
A Network at Your Fingertips: Don’t Wait
I know this has been a difficult year for so many people. The education world will forever be changed. My world will also never be the same and for that, I am so grateful. Learning how to harness the power of social media has changed my life. I now have friends and a network of support like I never knew possible. There are people all over the world that I communicate with daily.
Every day, we support each other, share life accomplishments and experiences, and more than anything, know we are not alone. Social media has opened up and shrunk the world for us. Don’t isolate yourself anymore. You are not alone. There is a whole world for you to connect with out there.
About Raymond Porten
Raymond Porten is a husband to an AMAZING wife, 2 wonderful boys, a principal of an elementary school in northern Illinois, and a Golden Apple Scholar. He spends his free time traveling with his family, cooking with his boys, and he finds the time to co-host 2 podcasts. He’s been in education for 20 years and has worked as a 5th grade teacher, middle school dean, 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher, middle school assistant principal and now as a principal. He believes in the importance of building relationships and of taking every opportunity to lead and make a difference in the world.