Editor's note: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has named October as Connected Educator Month. The U.S. Department of Education’s Connected Educators initiative seeks to celebrate and encourage educators at all levels to collaborate and participate in online learning resources and communities. This piece was written to support this initiative.
If you're like most people, you're probably not a fan of junk mail. Whether it be digital or paper, getting something you didn't ask for can be an annoying waste of time cluttering physical and online mailboxes.
Today with the development of personal learning networks and professional learning communities junk doesn't only pertain to mail, it pertains to how we operate online. Here are 8 types of postings to avoid to lead you on the path to becoming a quality poster.
1-Useless sharerAll us fogies who still rely on email as our primary communication know the useless sharer well. It is that person who forwards a joke, photo, video, or story to their entire email list without giving any context or personalization around why these people may be interested in reading it. The useless sharer liked it and off it goes to everyone. God forbid someone "replies all" with a less than witty, "Nice one" and in no time your mailbox is cluttered with content you likely find neither compelling or relevant.
In social media, this person does the same thing, sharing the info with everyone willy nilly. It’s that same thing that everyone has or is doing on their own pages or Timelines, etc. By the end of the week you’re so sick of seeing the message, you want to scream!
-->When sharing online make it personal and be original.
This is the person that just shares "The Link" with no information about, or context around, why it is being sent. The Linker thought it was interesting and puts the onus on the reader to figure out why they posted it, if it is worth their time, or worse, if it is a virus.
-->If you have a link you think others will find interesting, take the time to let them know why you were thinking this was the case.
3- Frivolous fundraiser
These people don't typically contribute to a learning community to which they belong other than to ask for donations for you to support their cause. Granted, their cause may be a good one, but because they don’t add much value beyond asking you to care about their cause and aren’t really invested in the community, they are considered a frivolous fundraiser.
-->Raising funds isn’t just asking for money in every place you can think of. It is rarely effective when there is not a personal connection, outreach and/or relationship between the fundraiser and the contributor. Make the personal contact and outreach. Build relationships. Reach out to only those you know are invested in your cause.
This one is a no-brainer. They've snuck their way into your online space to advertise something. While it is certainly okay to mention something you have written, created, etc. in the context of a conversation, this is not that. Rather it’s a post, comment, or Tweet telling folks that their book, class, conference, product, etc. is available for sale.
-->If you want to advertise, request permission of a group moderator first (most won’t want it) or be on the up and up and pay for the advertising..
This person shares the latest "sky is falling" info without fully vetting it. You know the one. It usually turns out that someone has dredged up some old virus alert, identity scam, or rape warning and is telling everyone to watch out.
-->Do your research or get your information first-hand, from the source,
This is the person who is always posting about their cause, blog, pet project and asking you for support. They provide little to the community beyond telling you why you should support their great project, work, idea.
-->Sure, you have wonderful things you are doing, but share it in the context of group conversations at relevant times.
You know this person. You suddenly get 10 notifications that this person has posted the same thing in ten different groups or has sent the same Tweet to ten different people. Mass-posting is everything social media shouldn't be.
-->When you post in a group or page or tag someone, make your message personal, not one-size-fits all.
8-Sandra Dees (Remember her from Grease? No? Watch this.)
These are the ones who are always shouting, “look-at-me!” See what cool thing, event, activity I did. They crave attention and want you to know what they are doing, but there is little positive in it for anyone else.
-->When you post think beyond what’s in it for you and toward, why would others find this interesting.
When it comes to being a connected educator, following the simple advice, that it is better to give than receive, goes a long way. If you start out by being helpful and sharing your advice, ideas, different ways of thinking, etc. you will be surprised by how willing others are to be there when you do reach out with that personal request for support.
So, which of these types of posters do you know?
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.