Using Social Networks to Increase Professional Learning Opportunities

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 —->


This blog post is meant to list the resources we cited at our CASLPA2011 presentation in order for people to reflect on them later (and ask questions in the comments). It is also so that people who could not be in Montreal today, can participate – of sorts- and in some ways ‘watch’ the presentation live or after the fact.

I should clarify that ‘we’ means Janelle Albrecht and myself, who presented this material originally on April 30, 2011 at the CASLPA 2011 Conference in Montreal, Canada.

Here is the prezi we used during the presentation (updated Aug 2011) – it outlines the majority of the information and contains video clips. We STRONGLY SUGGEST you view it in full screen for the best effect – especially during video clips embedded in the presentation.

Here is the handout for our presentation with links to various sites we discussed during the presentation. I am unsure how long they will remain on the CASLPA website so here is the list of resources and links we provided in the handout.

Blogs for SLPs

Sean Sweeney has made a blog bundle with 25+ blogs by people who are S-LPs. You can see it here.

CASLPA members

Becoming OliviaSLP: @OliviaSLP
Cree-zy, Crazy Speechie: @ndnspeechmom
Lexical Linguist: @SLPTanya
TiPS: Technology in Practice for SLPs: @SLPrj


Dysphagia Ramblings: @apujo5

Tech Use in Therapy and Assessment

Therapyapp411: various contirbutors
Speech Gadget: @SpeechGadgetDeb
Speech Language Pathology Sharing: @esailers
Speech Techie: @speechtechie
GeekSLP: @GeekSLP

General Therapy Tips/Ideas/Thoughts

2 Gals Talk…About Speech Therapy: @2gals
Artic Brain Blog: @ArticBrain
Easy Speech and Language Ideas: @speechreka
Pathologically Speaking: @speechbob
Speech Therapy Ideas: @SpeechTXIdeas
The Speech Pathway: @SpeechPathway

Professional Organizations

Express Yourself Speech and Language: Pearson Ed’s blog, @SpeechnLanguage
ASHAsphere: @ASHAweb
Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists:

Blogs for Audiologists

Cochlear Implant Online:
Tucson Audiologists/TIA Inc:
Deaf Village:



Stuttering is cool:
ASHA podcast: (rarely updated)


Audiology Talk:
Hearing Review:

MUSC Health:

Sources for webinars


Are there any other resources or links I am missing? Please add your fave SLP or AUD related blog, podcast, Facebook page, or webinar source in the comments section!


Follow Fridays (An Ode to CASLPA)

This post is brought to you by the word: extol   [ik-stohl, -stol] /ɪkˈstoʊl, -ˈstɒl/

–verb (used with object), -tolled, -tol·ling

  • to praise highly; laud; eulogize e.g. extol the supportive and inclusive nature of CASLPA


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 —->


Follow Friday (also known as #FF and #FollowFriday) is a way to recommend people in Twitter. The premise is simple: someone is contributing to your PLN or tweeting about things that you have enjoyed, you recommend them on a Friday. Any Friday. Every Friday. It’s your choice. In your recommendation, you include the hashtag #ff, #FF or #followfriday. There is also #SLPeepsSaturday which is along the same lines to recommend SLPeeps on Saturdays but I’m focussing on Follow Fridays today for a specific and good reason (see the end of this post).

The way you would do this is to tweet something like this:

#FF @CASLPA because they are the best professional association on Twitter and take care of their members (and non-members).


A huge #FF to @TwitterHandle for helping me out this week and making my life easier when I had to do a fluency assessment.


#FF @OtherTwitterHandle because his/her tweets are helpful to the #SLPeeps – especially for literacy info!

You get the idea.

Things to consider when giving a Follow Friday recommendation

Only recommend people you truly feel are worthy of being followed by others in your PLN.

People who should get recommended are those who:

  • Contribute meaningfully
  • Give you enjoyment from their tweets
  • Are tweeting actively

People you probably shouldn’t recommend:

  • People so new to Twitter that they haven’t yet tweeted anything or may not stick it through in the long haul (although giving a shout out or otherwise letting people know they’ve joined is still a good idea, just not in a “Follow Friday” way).
  • People who are not tweeting actively anymore (e.g. for more than a month or two).

You can choose to mention several people in an #FF tweet but it’s always better to provide one tweet per person you are recommending. It’s more personal, gives your followers the reason why you think they should follow someone and may actually cause people to follow them (which is kind of the whole point, right?). Most importantly, it’s paying that person a more specific compliment and building up others in your network.

@dayneshuda on said this and more very eloquently here.  Ever since I read that last fall I have more often than not created specific and detailed FF recommendations, rather than ramming in as many people as possible into each tweet. People really do appreciate it and I get a chance to publicly recognize others in my PLN in a much more heartfelt way.

FF Rankings

There is a ranking system for FF recommendations.  It’s managed through  and ranks people based on the number of FF recommendations they receive each Friday (no matter where in the world it is Friday) .  This is ranked globally but also by country.  I don’t think anyone should be overly concerned about their FF rankings in general, but it is interesting to look at who is getting the most FF recommendations to consider who you may choose to follow.

Points assigns points to each user for getting FF recommendations from other users.  It works like this: you get 50 points if you are the only one recommended in a tweet – if you are given a recommendation with others in the tweet, the points are divided by the number of people in that same tweet. So if you are recommended in a tweet with 5 other people, you only get 8 points for that recommendation.

Important Rules

The rules to get points are that you must be mentioned in an ORIGINAL #FF tweet (so RTs do NOT count, nor do replies or thank yous to the original #FF).  Another important rule is that your FFs won’t be counted if you recommend more than 50 people in a given week – probably because they think you are spam and who honestly has time to recommend 50 or more people?? The final important rule is that only your FIRST recommendation for a given person will be counted per week.

IMPORTANT: If your tweets are protected, they will NOT be counted for FF rankings!

I think those are the most important rules, but the other rules can be found here.

Challenge: Make CASLPA Top 10 in Canada for the #CASLPA2011 Conference

The CASLPA conference is running from April 27-30, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec.  I know that you all rave about @CASLPA (pronounced castle-pah) and love what they do for you and how they interact with you on Twitter, even those of you who aren’t members.  I’d like to propose a challenge – let’s make @CASLPA one of the top 10 #FF recommendations in Canada this coming Friday leading up to the conference. They didn’t know I was going to do this until now, so this is completely unsolicited on @CASLPA’s part!

How can you make @CASLPA top 10 in Canada on Friday, April 22, 2011?

I actually don’t think it will be difficult to accomplish this task. We simply need people to recommend @CASLPA in a heartfelt #FF tweet this Friday. Obviously feel free to recommend others in other tweets, but please be sure that your recommendation to @CASLPA only includes them so they can get the maximum points possible from your recommendation. Since each FF gets 50 points (assuming you don’t FF anyone else in the tweet) 20 people would give @CASLPA 1000 points!  That’s typically been enough points to be in the top 10 (for Canada – US ranking is an entirely different story).

Also, if you want your #FF shout out to count in the rankings, you must set your account to be unprotected when you tweet the #FF or it will not get counted.

But this Friday is “Good Friday”?

That’s OK, if you’re busy all day Friday with family or church commitments, you can do your FF recommendation on Thursday night or early Saturday morning if you live in North America or Europe.  If you live in Australia, you have all Saturday morning for your FF to be counted.

So this Friday, if you like following @CASLPA and you think others should follow them too, please consider making a #FollowFriday recommendation on Twitter to say so and give them a real boost going into their national conference!

Speech/Language Pathologists on Facebook

This post is brought to you by the word: coterie [koh-tuh-ree] /’koh-tuh-ree/


1. a group of people who associate closely.

2. an exclusive group; clique.

3. a group of prairie dogs occupying a communal burrow.

In late March, @SpeechGadgetDeb (Deb Tomarakos) posted to her blog about SLPs using Facebook to connect.  Since she did a fantastic job there, I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and she was gracious enough to allow me to repost her article here in a guest blog post of sorts.  The original post was on her blog at on March 26, 2011. She also has a fantastic list of Facebook pages you may want to ‘Like’ if you’re an S-LP.

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 —->



Facebook-Buttons-59-68- facebook Facebook-Buttons-62-34-

Today I want to discuss using Facebook as part of your Personal Learning Network, but before I begin I want to take a minute to discuss PLN’s. If you aren’t familiar with the term Personal Learning Network, Wikipedia defines it in the following way:

Personal Learning Networks consist of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a Personal Learning Environment. Learners create connections and develop a network that contributes to their professional development and knowledge.[1] The learner does not have to know these people personally or ever meet them in person.[2]

I am always trying to increase my network but keep a balance between knowledge gained and time spent.  To increase my knowledge and share my knowledge, I Tweet (find me as @SpeechGadgetDeb), I blog (obviously), and read other professional blogs.  I also use Diigo for bookmarking, although, I must admit I don’t use it as well as I could.  If you want to read some in depth posts on building a PLN written by a wonderful SLP, you should visit Lexical Linguist.   You can also readBuilding Your Personal Learning Network for a list of ways to increase your network.

Recently, I decided that since I spend a lot of personal time on Facebook, I wanted to incorporate Facebook into my Personal Learning Network.  The first step I took was to create a Speech Gadget page on Facebook.  You can find my page by typing the words “Speech Gadget” in the search box at the top of your Facebook page. Next, I searched for and visited pages of professional interest to me.  If I found the content to be of interest, I simply clicked “Like” and was able to receive updates to my wall when new information was posted on the pages.  I am currently creating a list of pages that I Like and will share that with you all soon.

In keeping with the idea of expanding my professional use of Facebook, I decided to create a professional “group” on Facebook.  A group is a little different than a Facebook page.  Within a group, members can connect, chat and share documents.  You must be invited by a member to join, or you can send a request to join the group and be approved by a group administer.  As a member of the group you can post links, photos, and videos, or just general comments and questions.  You can also share documents, edit shared documents, and view documents that other group members have shared. Anyone in the group can view posts and respond.  With this knowledge in mind, I created a Facebook Group called, of course, “SLPeeps”  The name is a spin off from the SLP Twitter group with the Hash tag #SLPeeps. I even created a profile picture.

SLPeep copy

Once created, I promoted the group on Twitter, sent some messages to my personal SLP friends on Facebook,  and waited.  Within a few weeks, the group has grown to just over 300 SLPeeps and I have been completely amazed.  I love that people are starting to share resources and links.  I have created a couple of documents to share with everyone and will be adding more documents in the near future.  It is becoming a place where SLP’s can post questions and receive feedback from other SLP’s.

Only time will tell if the group has staying power and if SLP’s will continue to use it as a part of their PLN’s.  For now, I can say that I am satisfied that SLPeeps on Facebook is enriching my own PLN.

If you are a SLP who is on Facebook, please consider stopping by SLPeeps and request to join the group.  You can find us by logging into Facebook and typing SLPeeps in the search box at the top of your Facebook screen. When you find the group, all you need to do is request to join. I would be happy to add your name to the growing list of professionals that are part of our group.

Some members of SLPeeps have expressed an interest to be a part of the group, but not receive updates/emails every time someone posts to the group.  If you would like to belong to the group, but don’t want to get updates, you can modify your settings.  When you are on the group page, you will see a box in the upper right had corner that says “Settings.”  Click that box and you will find a pop up box.  Inside the pop up box, simply uncheck receive emails.  If you have already joined SLPeeps, and follow my blog, I would love to hear your thoughts or feedback.  Are there any other ways you use Facebook as a part of your PLN?  If so, we would love to hear your comments.

That’s all from me for today.  Until next time…

Tips to make Twitter easier and faster

Today’s post is brought to you by the word: facile [fas-il or –ahyl] /ˈfæsɪl or -aɪl/


  1. Moving, acting, working, proceeding, etc., with ease, sometimes with superficiality.
  2. Easily done, performed, used, etc.
  3. Easy or unconstrained, as manners or persons.
  4. Affable, agreeable, or complaisant; easily influence.


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 —->

Today I am presenting you with some options to make Twitter more manageable.  Hopefully after reading about how to use and understand Twitter and some of the etiquette rules and tips to get involved you feel like you’re getting a handle on how to use it as a part of your PLN. But Twitter can still be overwhelming and complicated. Here are some tips on making Twitter easier.

Follow Hashtags that matter to you

In order to get a quick glimpse of what’s being tweeted about, check out hashtags or search for keywords that are important to you.  Some hashtags to consider following are #SLPeeps, #Audiology, #hearingloss, #slpchat, #speechtherapy.  In order to find these hashtags on Twitter web, simply put the hashtag (with the # sign at the beginning) into the ‘search’ box and click search. In order to regularly see tweets with this tag in them, click “save search”. Better yet, though, ditch Twitter web and get a Twitter client that will provide a way for you to see constant updates from these searches without having to go back to ‘saved searches’ all the time (see below).

Use a Twitter client instead of the web

A Twitter client is anything you may use to access Twitter indirectly, instead of with, which has developed a reputation as less user friendly for various reasons.  There are many good clients out there like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Twitter for iPhone/Pad, Ubersocial, Tweetie (for Mac and iPhone) etc. I use Tweetdeck on my laptop, Mac and iPod Touch (throwing a random shoutout to @chelseannbass cuz I didn’t say iTouch). For a brief review of some popular Twitter clients click here.  Also, since that review was written, a Canadian platform called Hootsuite has become VERY popular and I would posit that it has become one of the top 5 Twitter clients available today. It does more or less everything Tweetdeck does, except that it happens to be blocked at my place of work so I don’t use it.

*UPDATE: I still can’t use Hootsuite at work, but it’s the only way I use Twitter on my iPad. I feel Hootsuite is, hands down, the best twitter client for iPad right now. I didn’t have an iPad when I first posted this, though. I still use Tweetdeck on my Mac and laptop. But since Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are so similar, it’s a seamless transition for me between iPad and others devices.


I like Tweetdeck because I can create several columns that I can see simultaneously and that have different uses (e.g. my mentions, my DMs, new followers, and various lists I’ve created). I find it much easier to keep up with the different columns because it means I can take my time and browse things if I have time but I can stick to the basics and what I’m most interested in if I don’t have time. For instance, if I don’t have a lot of time I check my mentions, DMs, #SLPeeps tagged tweets and my list of SLPs that I follow. If I have more time I might look more closely at what teachers and audiologists I follow are tweeting as well as others I follow for various interests/reasons. This is how I’m able to follow so many people without getting too overwhelmed, although it’s always smart to go through and cull the herd every now and again.

In order to add specific columns in Tweetdeck (and other platforms like Hootsuite) I click to add the column (in Tweetdeck it’s a giant + sign at the top left) and then it asks me what I want in my column.

I can choose from “Core” items (mentions, DMs, favorites, all friends, etc.), a ‘search’ of a specific keyword or hashtag such as #SLPeeps, #slpchat, #audiology, or one of my Groups/List (see below) such as the SLPs, audiologists or teachers that I follow.

Pre-written and timed Tweets

Another thing many Twitter clients offer is the ability to set up tweets to be sent out automatically at a future date and time. This can be handy if you’ve stumbled upon multiple things worth sharing at the same time and want to spread out your tweets a bit. It’s also helpful if you want regular tweets to go out interspersed, like we do for #slpchat leading up to any given chat.

Automatically shortened URLs and drag and drop media

Some Twitter clients automatically shorten URLs for you so they don’t take up as much space in your tweet. Also, with several, you can drag and drop media such as pictures, video, etc. directly into your compose tweet box and it will automatically upload the media to twitpic or some other place for that and add a shortened URL to your media in your tweet.

Re-Tweet options

Clients also allow you to do RTs in the classic way as well as the new way. Classic RTs allowed you to add comments to your RTs before tweeting it to all your followers, whereas the “new RT” doesn’t allow for this. It does, however, make it easier to RT a tweet that is long and you CAN cut and paste that person’s tweet if you wanted to but that’s cumbersome. Personally, however, I prefer to be able to add comments to my RTs, which Tweetdeck (and various other clients) allows you to do.

And more…

Twitter Client allow you to do a host of other things beyond Twitter Web but the tips above are the ones I think are best for time savers and ease of use. If you have other clients you really like or functions you find indispensable, please share them in the comments section below!

You don’t have to read every tweet

It’s OK to:

  • Not catch up on every tweet while you were gone,
  • Not read every tweet that comes through when you are on
  • Ignore whole lists of people you follow for periods of time at the expense of focusing on the people you find most interesting/rewarding to follow.

Twitter can get very overwhelming if you feel you have to read everyone’s tweets all the time. It has even been recommended that people tweet important tweets several times a day, since it is assumed that not everyone is reading your tweets at all times. Feel free to return that favour and save yourself some anguish.

Create lists to streamline the topics you want to attend to most

Creating lists helps you to streamline your Twitter feed by topic or preferred people to follow. This means you can follow LOTS of people, but don’t have to read every tweet they all post, depending on how much time you may have from one day to the next. I have several lists but my most important one, SLPeeps, is my list of SLPs and related that tend to tweet about the profession regularly or that I more regularly interact with.

Tip: You can follow someone else’s list by looking at their lists in Twitter Web and clicking “follow this list”. CASLPA and ASHA have lists that may be worth following for SLPs and AUDs.

Creating Lists

You can create lists many ways and it’s different in each Twitter client (see below) but in the Web version you click “lists” from your home screen and then click “create list”. A list can be public or private. Now you’re ready to name your list and then add people. You can add people by going down your “Following” list and clicking the list box (next to the word “following”) to add them to whichever list (or multiple lists) you choose.

Tip: If you don’t want to follow someone else’s list in its entirety, you can look at their lists, click on “following” to see the list of people the list is follwoing and then click “follow” and/or “add to list” in Twitter Web to add people from their list to your own list(s).

Note: You can add people to a list and see their tweets without following them (unless their tweets are protected).

Lists in Twitter clients

Many Twitter clients have ways of doing this as well. For instance, Tweetdeck allows you to create lists and add people to lists by clicking “user – add to list” in the person’s little picture (and it’s a real picture, not an egg, right?).

If you haven’t yet created an appropriate list for that person, you have the option to create a list for that person. You can also click the little plus symbol next to the user’s name (see it next to SpeechTechie’s name in the picture above?) to do the same thing.

What other tips do you have for making Tweeting more efficient and manageable? Also see my post on Balancing Life with Social Media for more tips