I just read @web20classroom's blog post about relationships formed from his PLN. It really is about the relationships. It doesn't matter if those relationships are with family and friends, or people we only know through twitter, the relationships we form are the foundation for our existence as a people. But there is more to it than that, it is about the shared experiences we have with people. These shared experiences are what make having relationships worthwhile.
The #vanmeter team is at #iste10 for the first time. So far it has been a great experience. We have reconnected with people from our past, and met for the first time Mark Moran,his assistant Shannon, and Kyle Pace. These are individuals from my PLN, so it is cool to finally meet followers with whom I had connected with virtually over the last year. Many members of the #vanmeter team had a fun night on our inaugural evening in Denver for ISTE. Ask @johnccarver about Hamburger Mary's. Last night was really the first time I had socialized with some member of our group, and the experiences we had from last evening helped our relationships grow.
We all have a personal learning network. Our family, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors, are all members of our PLN. This concept has existed since the beginning of mankind. People have reached out to others for guidance and support long before twitter. However, even though we can post ideas on twitter and our followers can read them, it doesn't mean anything until we have an opportunity to share in an experience.
For example, yesterday, I observed a discussion at edublogger about the term Personal Learning Network. The question was, "Is PLN really an appropriate name for the relationships we build." It was interesting listening to the various points made. The conversation started before I got there, about a topic that I really didn't care to discuss, however because I was a witness to the discussion, I now have a better understanding of @jonbecker, @budtheteacher, and @mctownsley's thinking. But I didn't contribute to the conversation, so they don't know my thoughts. All of those individuals are people I follow on twitter, but there wasn't much sharing on my part, so our relationship had no opportunity to grow. It wasn't really a shared experience. I was more of a passive observer of the conversation.
If we want to build relationships with people virtually, locally, or within our own families and friends, we must be willing to share in the experiences by contributing to the discussion, by sharing our thoughts, by letting people know how we think and feel. This is what is most important about the PLN. If you want to develop a relationship with people, you must be willing to contribute. So as we continue to move forward, join the conversation, contribute to the discussion, and enjoy the shared experiences of your PLN.