Now, I can talk on the phone walking down the street. I can use it to watch TV with or without commercials. And, I use it to connect and follow hundreds of friends and colleagues at the same time! Boy, have things changed!
Over the past year, I finally decided to jump into the Physical Education social networking world. It is a vast world of hashtags and links, videos and podcasts. I am overwhelmed and inspired at the same time. After hours, days and months of friending, pinning, posting, commenting and tweeting I still have not come close to scratching the surface of the physical education network on the World Wide Web.
So, for those of you that are contemplating joining the frenzy, I would like to introduce you to Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook so you can join in the fun.
Linkedin is a social networking site for professionals. When joining Linkedin you will be asked to set up a profile. This profile is essentially a resume of you as a professional. You will be asked to input your background including work experience, education, volunteer experiences, causes, publications, skills, honors, awards, and organizations. People will be able to search for you and you can search for others. You will be notified when people view your profile. However, to see a full list of who views your profile you need to upgrade to Linkedin Premium. I recently contacted an individual about speaking at our AHPERD conference and instead of a resume he directed me to his Linkedin page. This made viewing his credentials simple and instantaneous.
Next you will start developing a network by making connections. You can add connections from lists of people you already know by uploading your email accounts. You can also search for connections through alumni. When you make a connection, Linkedin will post a page of people with similar profiles that you might be interested in connecting with. From this page you can invite people to connect. They may or may not accept your invitation.
If you are searching for a job, there is a tab for Jobs. In this section, a list of jobs that are available in your network will appear. You can reach out to your connections for help in landing positions.
The most useful attribute of Linkedin for me has been the Interests/Groups tab. In the groups tab, you will be able to join networks that interest you specifically. There are several groups that relate specifically to physical education. Some of my favorites are Physical Education Professionals, The PhysicalEducator.com, The PE Scholar, Sports Medias Best Practice P.E. Videos, Physical and Health Education Specialists, Elementary PE+, Health and Physical Educators, and National PE Institute. Someone in the group will start a discussion and anyone in the group can respond. Whenever a new discussion or comment is posted, you will receive a notification in your e-mail. People you should connect with on Linkedin are Artie Kamiya and Guy Van Damme (and me!)
While I am still learning how to maneuver around the Twitter world, I am certain that it is a very powerful tool for connecting with other professionals and developing professionally. Unlike Linkedin, Twitter is not strictly for professionals. If you choose to use Twitter professionally I suggest you use a different site for personal social networking.
Your profile for Twitter is whatever you would like it to be. If you have a website, I suggest putting it in your profile. This gives people that are thinking of following you something to base their decision on.
The whole concept of the site is to post tweets. A tweet is whatever you want to say in 140 characters or less. Personally, I find this to be very difficult. Throw all of the English language grammar you learned throughout your life out the window and narrow what you have to say down to as few characters as you can and then end with a hashtag. Including a link in your tweet is the best way to get the most twitter in your tweet.
This is a hashtag #. A hashtag is used to identify a group that you want your tweet to be associated with. For example, I might say, SHAPE 4/1/14 St. Louis www.AAHPERD.com #physed. By hashtagging with the physed suffix, anyone that searches for physed would see this tweet. #Physed is very popular and specific to the physical education community. If you are looking for technology in PE then use #pegeeks. Also, on every other Monday night there is a group called #pechat that talks about issues relevant to PE. The topics, time, and dates can be found at http://www.thephysicaleducator.com/pechat/.
On your homepage you will see how many people you have following you, how many people you follow and how many tweets you have made. There will also be an unending scroll of tweets for you to peruse. If you like a particular tweet, you can favorite it or retweet it so that everyone who follows you will know about it. You can also reply to a tweet or tweet at someone specifically. Twitter will notify you via email or a message on your phone when you have a new follower and will suggest new people for you to follow. People you might want to follow on Twitter include Joey Feith, Nathan Horne, Adam Howell, Kelly Ann Parry, Jo Bailey, Matthew Pomeroy, Patty Kestell,and Lynn Burrows. These people will connect you with specific websites, podcasts, apps, and curriculum ideas that are trending.
Of course, let’s not forget about friending! In Facebook, you search for friends and send out friend requests. You will have a wall on which to post things. Think of a wall as your personal TV show. You are creating your own sitcom for anyone to see- sentences, photos, videos, links, etc. Notice I said anyone! Make sure that you set your account privacy settings the way you would like them- public, friends only, etc. What goes on in Facebook doesn’t necessarily stay in Facebook! Many professionals have gotten in a lot of trouble for posts about work that eventually got back to administration! If don’t have something nice to say- don’t say it! You may also want to consider having more than one page. I have a page as me, Lynn Hefele, which I use for friends and family, and a page for my business, LEPE, Inc. This allows me to separate my social life from my business life. Facebook also allows you to create groups within your social network. For example, if I want all of my school related people to know that we have a faculty meeting in the morning; I can send out a message to my Southdown group. Anyone in the group can post to anyone else as well. You may also wonder what happens when you “like” a business on Facebook. Simply put, once you like something, you will receive their notices (i.e. events, advertisements, articles of interest, etc.) Aside from your wall, you also have a home page. Your homepage is like a running newspaper of what is happening in your friend’s lives. Don’t ask me what the formula is for how Facebook determines what storylines to send you. I think it’s magic! My favorite thing about Facebook is that they remind me when it’s a friend’s birthday!
Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook are the more popular social networking sites out there. All in all, I think that people that like to say more than 140 characters prefer Linkedin and/or Facebook and people that are comfortable with technology are on Twitter. There are other social networking sites that the physical education community engages in including Edmodo, Pinterest, and Google Hangouts. Eventually, I may be qualified to write about them. Visit http://www.lepeinc.com/pe-websites.html for a more comprehensive list that also includes websites, apps, Youtube videos, podcasts and more. Like anything else in life, it takes time to learn and master something new. I encourage you to take the 14 day Twitter Challenge for PE Teachers, http://thepegeek.com/2013/04/09/the-20-day-twitter-challenge/. It will help you get started. I look forward to connecting and following with you!