I’ve created a LinkedIn profile…. Now what?

This post is brought to you by the word: minutia [mi-noo-shuh] /mɪˈnuʃə/

noun -usually, minutiae (plural)

1. precise details

2. small or trifling matters

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You’ve heard from Mary Huston on an introduction to LinkedIn and how to create a LinkedIn profile. This is Mary’s third and last installment on LinkedIn to help you get the most out of it as a PLN (personal/professional learning network). Take it away, Mary!

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Okay…you’ve created your account, built your profile, and found a few connections. Now what? When does the networking start? For many months, I had no idea what else I was supposed to do on LinkedIn. My profile sat unattended (and unviewed) and I was disappointed. After deciding to sit down and really look at the site, I realized there was so much more to it than I was using. There were actually groups on LinkedIn. Groups! Who knew? Once I figured that out, I was able to begin using LinkedIn for what it was designed to do – Professional Networking. Thankfully, you won’t have to wait quite so long.

Groups

At the top of your LinkedIn home page or profile page or pretty much any page in LinkedIn, there are tabs available. These will take you directly to those areas. Hovering the mouse over “Groups” will give several options including: Groups You’ve Joined; Groups You May Like, Groups Directory, and an option to Create a Group.

If you click on Groups You May Like, you’ll be taken to a list of groups that are based on your profile. There is a logo for the group, a short paragraph describing the group, the owner, the number of members, and the option to join. There is also a “similar groups” button. If you click on the name of the group (usually in blue), you’ll be taken to that group’s page. There you’ll have the option of joining the group (again), seeing information about the group including any websites that may be linked to the group, and members of the group within your network. The members of the group within your network will be listed by the degree of separation (1st, 2nd). If you click on the name of one of those individuals you’ll be taken to their profile page where you’ll have the opportunity to see their information, add them to your network, or send them a message (although you may need to be a paid member to send them a message).


Why Should I Join a Group

There are many reasons to join a group. Many of the groups are filled with professionals searching for answers, sharing information and resources, and discussing hot topics of the profession. In addition, responding to messages and sharing information consistently in a group is a good way to establish yourself as an expert (or at least almost an expert). Perhaps even more importantly a member can review which individuals are most influential, stay current with discussions, and following influential discussions and members. In addition, some groups have jobs tabs and can be a great way to put yourself in place for a new position.

Finding Specific Subject Groups

There are a couple of ways to find specific subject groups. Clicking on the Groups Directory (under the Groups tab) will provide a list of featured groups. On that list you have the option of joining the group, finding similar groups, or just reading over to see all the different groups. Some groups allow any LinkedIn member to join; other groups require members to be pre-approved. Usually, that’s a way to make sure the person belongs in that group. For instance, to join a speech language pathology group, the owner may request individuals to provide information showing they are SLPs and not a spam engine. Some groups also have subgroups within their main group. That allows for a bit of different topic maintenance and diversity without the group being overwhelmed and unwieldy.

On the Groups Directory page (and a few others) there is a sidebar titled Search Groups where you can search by keywords. You can narrow the search by clicking on the All Categories widget and changing it to a narrower group (alumni group, professional group, etc.). You can further narrow the field by choosing which language you’d like. Click search and your page will be filled with any available groups. It may be necessary to tweak your search keywords; for instance, Speech Language Pathologist came up with six hits when I looked just now….however, speech therapy came up with 70. Now would be a really good time to watch this video.

Creating Groups

LinkedIn members also have the option of creating groups. To create a group click on Create A Group tab. You will need to attach a logo (after making sure you are not infringing on any copyrights of course), create a group name, determine the type, and write a description. Next you’ll need to determine if anyone can join or if they will need to request to join. One nice feature, is you can allow members of certain emails to invite others or be pre-approved to join.

Managing Email

Basically, anytime a member creates or responds to a message, an email is generated. When an individual joins a group they can choose to have emails (messages) sent one at a time or by digest (daily or weekly). A digest version allows for easier handling of the messages which is vital if it’s an active group. For individuals choosing daily digest, all the recent messages are saved and sent in one email each day. Links and headers to all the messages are in the email and the reader can choose which specific message they want to open. Weekly digest allows an individual to receive just one email a week with all the messages intact. If the group is very small and there are only a few messages a month it probably won’t matter a lot. However, some groups can have many messages in a day. I prefer to receive all my messages from LinkedIn groups as a daily digest for easier handling and less confusion. You can manage general email settings by clicking your name in the top right and then clicking ‘settings’.


If you start with one message setting and find that it’s not working for you, it can be changed very easily. If you click on My Groups, you will find a list of all the groups you belong to. When you click on the name of the group you will see there are several tabs: Discussions, Members, Search, More. Click on More and you will see a drop down box with Updates, My Activity, My Settings, Subgroups, and Group Profile.  If you click on Updates, it will give you a list view of all the recent messages and comments. You’ll also have the chance to just see messages from people whom you follow. My Activities gives you the opportunity to see all your posts and any comments that have been made.

To change your message settings, you will want to click on My Settings.

If you are on the LinkedIn group page and click on your picture you will see your posts and responses/changes to your post. This is an easy way to stay up to date with your posts and anyone who has responded to you without getting sidetracked by the other messages (which is a very real possibility).  You can also change your groups settings from your general settings.


Miscellaneous “Stuff”

There is a LinkedIn Blog for learning about all the new information LinkedIn provides (features, etc.) http://blog.linkedin.com/ .

LinkedIn Today provides the most shared news headlines for the day http://www.linkedin.com/today/ .

There is also a LinkedIn Blog post specific for helping new graduates (or soon to be) find jobs. http://blog.linkedin.com/2011/03/21/linkedin-student-job-portal/ .

A LinkedIn member can choose to have their LinkedIn account and their Twitter account linked. Tweets can be automatically updated to their LinkedIn status.

At the bottom of their home page, a LinkedIn member can search for new members within a particular network. So if someone wants to see if any new graduates of their university are on LinkedIn, the member can click that button and LinkedIn will populate with all the new members of that network. This can be a great way to network with different people who have common backgrounds/interests.

Go Forth…and Network

I’ve recently been asked if I think LinkedIn is better than Facebook or better than Twitter. The quick answer is no. However, it is different and it fills a different need. In my (not so humble opinion), Facebook (for me – your opinion will vary) is that Facebook is more personal and where I connect with family, friends, and the odd acquaintance. Twitter is where I network with my #slpeeps.  All but three of the people I’m following are SLPs or SLPs related on twitter. LinkedIn is professional and where I look for possible job prospects, network in a very professional manner with other professionals, and discuss specific topics. I spend far more time on Twitter than I do on either LinkedIn or Facebook; but all three are important networking elements.

This concludes my blog on LinkedIn. I am absolutely positive LinkedIn does more than I’ve talked about here…after all, this was an introduction to LinkedIn, not a comprehensive review.  However, you will learn far more by going there…creating a membership…joining a few groups…and actually networking. Enjoy. I can be found in several of the Speech and Language groups or by searching on my name. I look forward to seeing you there.

Mary Huston is a speech-language pathologist who works in a school in North Dakota. You can find her on LinkedIn and also on Twitter as @mtMarySLP.

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I have a LinkedIn account…now what?

This post is brought to you by the word: dossier [dos-ee-ey, daw-see-ey] /ˈdɒsiˌeɪ, ˈdɔsiˌeɪ/

noun

a collection or file of documents on the same subject, especially a complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic.

Want to know more about using social media for professional information and collaboration? See the top right sidebar for links to the entire blog series —->

 

Hopefully everyone has read Mary Huston‘s earlier guest blog post (in my series on social media) introducing you to LinkedIn as a social media outlet for extending your PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network). She’s agreed to come back and blog some more about LinkedIn and I couldn’t be happier because I learned so much from this post. And that’s not all, she has MORE to share with us at a later date. It looks like Mary’s going to be a semi regular guest blogger here!

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You’ve taken that first step and actually created a LinkedIn account. Are you wondering what to do next? If you haven’t already, you will want to watch this tutorial of what LinkedIn is all about.

Building a Profile

The first thing to do now that you’ve joined is to create a profile. A profile enables people to find you and represents you on LinkedIn. The profile also allows you to control your identity online – not just on LinkedIn. For instance, have you searched your name online lately? If not, go try it now…I’ll wait.

What was the first item that came up when you searched for yourself? According to LinkedIn, the first search choice is typically a LinkedIn profile (for those individuals who have one). How much easier can it be to have a professional image online? For individuals looking for work or starting in private practice, a LinkedIn profile can be a great source of free advertising.

LinkedIn walks members through creating a profile. A 100% complete profile has a picture, a list of current and past positions, education, a summary paragraph, and recommendations from other professionals. Some of this information can be incorporated very easily by uploading a current resume. Each area on a resume: Experience, Education, etc. will have a headline in bold with the information under it. In addition, each section can have a recommendation which will be discussed shortly.

The profile can be customized with different sections (e.g., Presentations, Publications, Websites, Associations, etc.) and to be complete, a profile requires recommendations. A recommendation is a personal statement from individuals familiar with your ability. LinkedIn recommends at least three (3) recommendations to be complete and makes it very easy to request recommendations from people. Of course, more recommendations are always a good thing.

LinkedIn has a great profile tutorial that walks an individual through most of the profile creation and makes it fairly easy to create a professional profile in no time. In addition, it tracks how complete the profile is and provides a Percentage Complete so it’s easy to see how much more work needs to be done. When the profile is complete, it can be viewed, emailed, and saved as a PDF file.

Building Connections

Once your profile is complete it’s time to start building connections. Connecting can happen in a couple of ways. The easiest way is to look for individuals you know; perhaps co-workers, employers, or friends. There is a search function where if you think someone has a LinkedIn account, you can search for them. Type in their name in the “People” blank and hit enter. A list of individuals who may meet your search criteria is generated. Click on an individual’s name and you will see their profile. You will also see whether or not they are “connected” to you by anyone in your network.

Once you’ve found who you are looking for, you have several options.

  • If you are a paid member, you can send an “InMail” which is a direct email.
  • You can ask a member of your network who is also connected with that person to “introduce” you.
  • You can add the individual to your network – IF – you have their address. You will need to let LinkedIn know how you “know” that individual.

If you are “connected” to an individual a “How You’re Connected To ____ “ box comes up. This allows you to see how you are connected. LinkedIn also allows you to shop contacts by seeing who else viewed the same profile.

Who’s Looking at Me?

The home page is where your personal profile can be edited and you can view other elements of LinkedIn. You are able to see how often your profile has been viewed in the last 90 days and how many times your name has shown up in searches. If you click on the number of times your profile has been viewed, LinkedIn provides a list of people and a bit of their information. If they are in your network, you will see their names and or pictures and which group or connection they share with you. If they are out of your network, you will see a notification that “someone at ____” viewed your profile. If you have a paid account, LinkedIn will provide a list of everyone who has viewed your account. This is a fantastic way to see how effective your profile has been at generating professional interest.

The home page also shows Your LinkedIn Network. This is the number of connections you have that are linked directly to you as well as how many people are in your network (connections of connections). This area also provides the number of new people in your network. There is also a box of Jobs You May Be Interested In, which provides job listings. Finally, the home page also provides People You May Know, which are suggestions of different people with whom you may be interested in connecting. LinkedIn compiles your interests, groups, and profile to generate this list.

Now that your profile is complete and you’re able to connect with individuals it’s time to find groups and organizations to connect. Finding groups will be the subject of my next post. In the meantime, go create an awesome profile!

Mary Huston is a speech-language pathologist who works in a school in North Dakota. You can find her on LinkedIn and also on Twitter as @mtMarySLP.


Etiquette Exists Everywhere (and Twitter’s no exception)

This post brought to you by the word:

punctilio [puhngk-til-ee-oh] /pʌŋkˈtɪliˌoʊ/

noun

1. a fine point, particular, or detail, as of conduct, ceremony, or procedure.

2. strictness or exactness in the observance of formalities or amenities.

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Cartoon by Oliver Widder, 2009

In my series on developing a Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN) with social media, I’ve discussed Twitter at length because I think it’s the most intricate and misunderstood portion of a PLN. I have described why I love Twitter, how Twitter works, and given you suggestions on how to develop your Twitter network.

Today I want to give you some suggestions on etiquette for Twitter. Basically anything that is rude in the real world is probably rude on Twitter. However, I have summarized several things that are more specific to Twitter and may be less obvious. Some of this list has more to do with being rude to yourself than just to others. Also, not all tips are absolutes, only guiding principles so that you’re tweeting with thought and care.

Have a real picture and a brief profile outlining who you are or what you do

Reality Check: Meeting someone at a party and not introducing yourself or smiling

It is rude to have no profile picture or description for several reasons:

  • It says you don’t care enough to find a pic of something that helps your network get a sense of you and spend a minute uploading it.
  • It causes everyone in your network to be super vigilant whenever they see an egg in case it might be you (if they care enough to bother – they’ll probably just miss a lot of tweets if they follow you at all).
  • It may cause someone in your network to accidentally click a spam link in a moment of weakness because they thought it was from you.
  • It forces people to do extra research into who you might be before choosing to accept you to follow their tweets or deciding to follow you. That’s if they are bothered doing the research at all – most will just not follow you back.

Always credit other people’s ideas

Reality Check: Telling a coworker you found a great resource or had a great idea that was actually your other coworker’s resource/idea.

When you RT someone, it’s OK to truncate their tweet a bit to make it fit the 140 character rule, but be sure you give credit where it’s due. You can either RT them directly or rewrite the info and add ‘via@tweetname’ at the end of your tweet.  It’s also best to credit an online source even if you didn’t get it from Twitter, especially if that source has a twitter account (e.g. newsmedia, bloggers, etc). At the very least, include the link to the info you’re tweeting about when appropriate/possible.

Thank ppl for RTing you

Reality Check: not thanking someone for a compliment or recommendation

I think the reason is obvious but the follow through can get tricky, as it’s not always clearcut and easy to find all the RTs of your tweets that exist. If someone is using a Twitter client instead of the web, especially mobile phone clients, they don’t always let Twitter know and Twitter can’t let you know in turn. The quickest place to find RTs is to go to the web and click ‘your tweets retweeted’ or http://twitter.com/#retweeted_of_mine. If you are using TweetDeck or a similar client, be sure in your settings that ‘don’t show duplicated tweets’ clicked or you often won’t see past the first person to RT you.  Finally, I sometimes find RTs I missed by searching for “RT @SLPTanya” in the search field on Twitter Web. Your Tweets Retweeted is still the best way to see them, unfortunately. Just make every effort.

Also thank people for giving you a shout out or a Follow Friday recommendation.

Respond to ppl who tweet you

Reality Check: Ignoring someone speaking directly to you

This falls under the ‘engage in your network’ advice from my tips on building your network.  If someone sends you a directed tweet (e.g. they started their tweet with your @Name) or a Direct Message, you should make every effort to respond to them in some way. You should do this even once you have a lot of followers. One of the most fantastic things about Twitter is that it makes other people more accessible, be they celebrities, companies, or regular folks.  Really amazing Twitter gurus who have thousands of followers are defined by responding to as many directed messages and tweets as humanly possible.  Will you miss people? Sometimes, but it’s the effort that counts. A simple 🙂 will often suffice (if a specific answer was not required).

Promote people in your network, not just yourself

Reality Check: Only talking about yourself or your interests and telling everyone how awesome you are

It’s fine to use Twitter to promote your blog,  company, and so on, but if you spend all your time promoting yourself, you can get very boring and come off as a ‘bot’.  If you spend time promoting others in your network with RTs, shout outs, Follow Friday (#FF) recommendations and so on, you more actively engage in your PLN and come off as an interested and interesting person to connect with.

Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t follow you back

Reality Check: Are you genuinely interested in everything everyone else is Tweeting?

Everyone has different ways of following people, and not everyone monitors who’s following them at any given moment (I certainly don’t). If someone doesn’t follow you back, it’s not personal. Give them reasons to notice you and follow you back by RTing them and engaging them with comments on their tweets.  Similarly, don’t take it personally if someone stops following you. In fact, sometimes Twitter has accidentally caused my account to unfollow people I’ve been following happily for a long time.  And sometimes people stop following someone else for a short time (e.g. if you’re at a conference or tweeting about a topic they are no longer interested in).

Along the same lines, I don’t suggest you blindly follow back anyone who follows you.  You should develop your PLN tailored to your specific interests and needs. Don’t feel you have to follow everyone and don’t feel that everyone should be interested in your interests.

Don’t tweet excessively or with too many tweets in a row.

Reality Check: hogging the conversation

If you regularly post multiple tweets in a row in order to tell a story to all of your followers, consider a blog; it’s a much better format for sharing stories and complex ideas.  Likewise, space out information tweets because the same peril may befall you for tweeting many different links in a short time period. People will often skip over your tweets if you do this too often, and then they may miss it when you have something really important or interesting to share or a question they may have been able to answer.   I know many people get unfollowed for tweeting excessively because you clog up their twitter feed.

NOTE: I’m adding this post hoc due to some confusion – I don’t mean getting online and responding to multiple people suddenly, I mean posting to ALL your followers EXCESSIVELY in a short period of time (or all day long, as some tweeters do outside of the SLPeeps).

Don’t RT a link you haven’t checked out yourself

Reality Check: recommending a book you’ve never read or an idea you don’t know anything about

It may be broken or otherwise in error.  Also, it may not represent your views and then you are, in essence, endorsing it to others. Don’t rely on the caption with the link in someone else’s tweet because it may lead you to think it’s about something it’s not.

Remember that Twitter is Public

Reality Check: acting inappropriately in public

Don’t tweet anything that can get you fired,  get you arrested, upset your mother, or otherwise paint you in a negative light to future/current people in your life. Also, swearing on Twitter is a bit like yelling profanities in a  public place. Along with the previous tip, I would posit that it’s rude to yourself to potentially damage your reputation because you fell prey to the ‘anonymity of the internet’. This is obvious if you are tweeting professionally but also make a careful decision about what you say even if using Twitter personally. You never know who will see your tweets (even if they are ‘protected’)!

Keep within the 140 character limit

Reality Check: talking for a long time at already long meetings

The best thing about Twitter is its 140 character limit. It does pose a problem occasionally, but if everyone began posting longer tweets, it would be impossible to keep up with the information flow.  Also, it’s rude to force your followers to constantly click ‘read more’ to finish your tweets.

If someone poses a question or comment directly to you and you are responding, it’s more acceptable to go over the 140 limit because it can be assumed that that person is motivated to click ‘read more’. It may even be more polite to any followers who follow you both than to respond in 5 or 6 tweets that clog up their timeline.

Use “reply” to keep a string of convo

Reality Check: blurting out commentary to a friend without cluing them into the topic

If you comment on someone else’s tweet, always click the ‘reply’ button. Not only does it save you time by filling in their name automatically, it saves them time and energy trying to figure out what specific tweet you are commenting on. At the very least, include info about referring comment (e.g. re: Frazier protocol convo).

Describe info in links you tweet

Reality Check: lending someone a book with no cover or title page

If you post a link, always include some description of that link so people know if they want to read more, save it to favorites to read later, or just move on. If you tweet ONLY the link, it’s impossible for them to make that decision (and they’ll probably choose not to bother).

Use punctuation for clarity

Reality Check: stringing along all your words in one giant monotone sentence for listeners to parse

I think the reality check says it all. Please use some punctuation (even if we short form words to death) to ensure clarity whenever possible. You know who you are.

Don’t just take my word for it, here are some other references:

14 ways to use Twitter politely

Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide

 

Getting in on the Conversation: Tips to Get Involved in Twitter

This post is brought to you by the word: exhortation [eg-zawr-tey-shuhn]  /ˌɛgzɔrˈteɪʃən/

noun

1. an utterance, discourse, or address conveying urgent advice or recommendations.

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Want to know more about using social media like Twitter for professional information and collaboration? See the top right sidebar for links to the entire blog series —->

 

In my first post about using social media for a PLN, I introduced various forms of online media (mostly social media) that can be used to help speech, language, and hearing professionals create their own professional/personal learning networks. I then introduced Twitter by explaining the terminology you’ll encounter and a bit about the way Twitter works.  Mary Huston then guest blogged on her intro to Linked In and has more in store for you on that topic at a later date.  Right now, however, I want to get back to Twitter, since it has been the richest source of professional learning and collaborating for me.

There are some things you can do in order to get into Twitter and start using it to its fullest potential. I have listed my top 10 tips to get the most out of your experience.  Some of these tips speak to gaining followers, but I want to be clear that you should never get caught up in how many people follow you. Twitter should not be a competition for followers for several reasons, but the biggest is that WHO is in your network is much more valuable than HOW MANY are in your network. Having more people following you is helpful because it gives you access to more connections, information, and makes crowd sourcing (i.e. posing a question to your community in the attempt to get multiple responses) much easier.  However, you get more bang for your buck connecting with people in your profession who will stimulate and challenge you. Besides, just because someone has many followers, doesn’t mean that those followers aren’t spam or random people who don’t contribute to the community.

Have a real picture (called an avatar)

This picture doesn’t have to be of you, per se, although it is very helpful. The picture should, however, convey some sense of you to your followers. Please, please, PLEASE never leave the Twitter default egg as your avatar. You come off looking like spam or worse (not that there’s much worse than spam). I also consider it poor Twitter etiquette because you require your followers to be more vigilant about whether or not you are spam when you contribute to discussions. If you want to get more followers, ditch the egg.

Say something in your profile and give us a real name

This is especially important if you are using Twitter professionally in any capacity. I would say that lack of information in the ‘profile’ section is the number one reason I won’t follow people. Mainly, it’s because I don’t know if you’re worth following if I don’t know what you do or who you are.  A brief description (e.g. ‘grad student in audiology’ or ‘SLP working in schools’) helps people to know who you are and why they should bother following you.  I also suggest you include at least a general location such as province/state and country.  It’s also nice if you can include your real first name (last name is more optional) so that people have a ‘real’ name to attach to you beyond your twitter handle.

Create a short, user- friendly  handle

When you create your Twitter name, or handle, you should consider that people will hopefully be using it a lot. The best possible handle is your real name (e.g. @LNLeigh) or your first or last name with your job title (e.g. @SLPTanya). Please avoid long names when possible because your name takes away characters when people include it in tweets.  Also, avoid strange characters like underscore or symbols at all costs – it is less user-friendly to type. Your handle, picture, and profile can work together to give people a  flavor for yourself on Twitter (called branding).  Give this some thought when setting them up.  If you already have a Twitter handle and would like to change it, this is easily done.  As an aside: if you are a speech therapist/pathologist, please avoid the word ‘speech’ in your handle – this has been flooded in our ‘market’.

Start tweeting

If you want to get into the game and start connecting with people you MUST start tweeting.  Even if you have no followers and feel you are ‘talking to yourself’ you should be tweeting.  Tweet relevant material such as links you found interesting and professional ideas or experiences you may have had.  Before I follow someone, I usually check their previous tweets to see if they are ‘worth following’. A ready-made community such as the SLPeeps does allow for some leeway but signing up on the SLPeeps and Audiologists Twitter List will not automatically get you plugged into the community.  At the time of writing this blog post, the audiologists do not yet have a centralized hashtag (that I can find) such as #SLPeeps to help create a cohesive community so it may be more difficult to plug yourself into that network without relevant tweets.

Retweet (RT) people

The BEST way to get people to notice you and to begin participating in the community is to retweet someone else.  I frequently become aware of a new person worth following because they RTed me. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll be followed, but it certainly helps show your willingness to join the community. As I’ve said in a previous post, retweeting is very important to Twitter and RTing someone demonstrates to them that you are genuinely interested in their ideas and information, so much so that you feel it’s worth sharing again via RT.

Jump in on conversations (politely)

Twitter is a public forum so treat it like a party or giant convention room  and join in on conversations at leisure.  It’s not considered ‘rude’ to jump into a conversation, so long as you’re on topic and contributing to the conversation. You may want to start your first tweet with “butting in” to acknowledge you’re joining the conversation if you rarely tweet with the other tweeters, more as an introduction that you’ve joined.  It’s also OK to just throw a link or resource that’s on-topic into the conversation and walk away again, although it’s better if you converse a little or acknowledge any tweets in response to your contribution. It is rude to bud into a conversation thread to plug your company, blog or similar in a random way, especially if you aren’t contributing to the conversation.

Tweet more than blog or company promotional tweets.

It’s just not helpful to the community and in a social network, while networking is important, so is the social aspect. This means there must be give and take or sharing involved.  If you are using Twitter SOLELY as a professional outlet for your company and your handle, profile, and picture proclaim this as such, it’s potentially OK. This is because people know what to expect when they follow you.  However, I still urge you to participate in related discussions and provide tweets that go beyond promoting your company. @CASLPA is a great example of a ‘company Twitter account’ who also engages the related community. CASLPA is a professional organization that uses social media  to maximize potential to connect with their members (and even their non-members). It’s the ‘social’ or relationship part that makes them so great at what they are doing on twitter.

Use hashtags to get noticed by people who aren’t following you

If someone is following a specific hashtag (e.g. #SLPeeps, #hearing, #slpchat, #audiology) they will see all tweets that include that hashtag (unless the person tweeting has protected their tweets). The #SLPeeps hashtag is probably the primary reason that SLPs on Twitter have been able to come together, grow, and create a very cohesive community.  I often find people worth following because they tweeted with the #SLPeeps tag.  Also, using tags appropriate to your conversation makes it easier to crowd source for information before you’ve amassed very many followers. You can add #SLPeeps to your tweet, for instance, and anyone following the #SLPeeps tweets will see your tweet as well, even if they aren’t following you.

Be unprotected (at least at the start)

Again, I can’t emphasize how important it is to keep your tweets public in order to develop your PLN.  Many people won’t bother trying to follow you if your tweets are protected because they cannot see examples of what you’re tweeting. Also, it’s a hassle to request to follow and then ‘wait and see’ to add you to a list they may have created to make following certain types of groups easier (more on lists another time).  Protecting your tweets may have its place, but when growing a PLN it is a hindrance rather than a help.

Engage with your network

People who contribute meaningfully to the community get followed. It’s as simple as that. This means put out tweets, join in on conversations, pose questions to your community and respond to tweets that mention you or are directed at you.  Even when you have many people following you it’s best to make every effort to respond to people if they direct information or a question at you specifically. You need to be contributing to your PLN in order to grow it and gain value from it.

Don’t just take my word for it. Here are some other sources if you want to see more:

Follow Fail: Top 10 reasons I won’t follow you in return on Twitter

20 Twitter Tips for New and Experienced Tweeters

Getting Connected With LinkedIn

Today’s post is brought to you by the word: vinculum [ving-kyuh-luhm] /ˈvɪŋkjʊləm/
n , pl –la

  1. a horizontal  line drawn above a group of mathematical terms, used as an alternative to parentheses in mathematical expressions, as in x+ y — z which is equivalent to x + ( y — z ).
  2. Anatomy

a. any bandlike structure, esp one uniting two or more parts

b. another name for ligament.

3. rare a unifying bond; tie

Want to know more about using social media for professional information and collaboration? See the top right sidebar for links to the entire blog series —->


Today I have another great guest blog post from Mary Huston.  I am signed up with LinkedIn, but as I said in my first post about using social media to develop a PLN, I don’t really use it; certainly not to it’s full potential.  Mary has been using Linked In for longer than me and with more purpose, so without further ado, I hand this blog over to Mary.

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What exactly is LinkedIn? The short answer is LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Try to imagine Facebook with a business slant instead of purely social. Professional networking allows individuals to exchange knowledge and ideas in a variety of ways. You can check out a short video of LinkedIn here: http://learn.linkedin.com/what-is-linkedin/

At a bare minimum, LinkedIn is a way to build a professional profile with your resume, job experiences, and interests. It’s also a way to keep in touch with colleagues, professors, and other experts in your field, even if they aren’t likely to connect with you via social networking sites. Because it’s a professional networking site, your LinkedIn profile may lead you to career opportunities and may also lead headhunters to offer you that dream position.

When I first joined LinkedIn, well over a year ago, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. It looked like a place to post a resume, connect with a few people, but it didn’t really DO anything. Recently, I found out that there truly was a lot more to LinkedIn than I was giving it credit for. Not only was it place to post a resume, but it was a place to connect with other individuals, share information, and collaborate.

One way to collaborate and share information is to join groups. For instance, I belong to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; Speech, Language and Hearing Professionals; and Technology for Speech and Language Pathologists groups. Within those groups, there are discussions, questions posted and answered, and surveys. One nice feature is the ability to have LinkedIn send a digest of posts to your email so you aren’t inundated with different posts, but you’re still up-to-date with the information.

One feature of LinkedIn that I like, although others may not, is the suggestions of other groups I may want to follow. LinkedIn takes my interests and my current groups and suggests other groups. I like this because I don’t have to search for groups; although, I do have the opportunity to search using keywords. Similarly, LinkedIn will suggest individuals I may know based on my connections (friends of friends). There are also jobs listings provided.

Everything on LinkedIn is linked to your profile and your connections. In order to complete your profile, it’s suggested that you have friends write recommendations for you. These recommendations show up in your profile. Recommendations are a great way of showing perspective employers and connections the information in your profile is accurate and really sell yourself, which after all, you want to do if you want that dream job.

LinkedIn has many settings which allow you to customize it to suit your needs. Depending on your account settings, you can send email to people on and off your contact list, request to follow people, and send your profile directly to connections and companies. There appear to be four account types ranging in price from Free (which is always good) and increasing in price to $99.95/month. The account type dictates how many emails you can send and how many results you get in a search. For me, the free account works just fine, but if I were truly searching for a position or building a professional network, I would explore investing in one of the others.

All in all, if you’re looking for the next best Facebook or My Space…LinkedIn probably isn’t it. However, if you’re looking for a professional site where you can connect with professionals and build your network, it’s a great place to visit.

In other posts, I plan to discuss more of the details of LinkedIn, such as designing your profile and finding groups you may be interested in joining.

Mary Huston is a speech-language pathologist who works in a school in North Dakota. You can find her on LinkedIn and also on Twitter as @mtMarySLP.