Recently I have been developing my PLN, Personal Learning Network. According to Sue Waters, "Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) are all about using web tools... to create connects with others which extend our learning, increases our reflection while enabling us to learn together as part of a global community.” And so I created an account on LinkedIn. This being a professional networking site I never thought I would subscribe. As an elementary school teacher it isn’t a resource that is used often at my level. I think I considered it a bit mysterious, as something someone in the corporate world, which I know only a little about, would use. I was hoping to avoid it all together. But then as I thought of networks to include in my PLN and I thought I would give it a try. My first mistake was that I accidently invited every single contact in my Gmail account to be connected with me on the site. I have received phone calls, emails and texts from people telling me they got my invitation to LinkedIn. I have also been stopped by acquaintances in real life who have received something from me for LinkedIn. I am a bit embarrassed. Some of these acquaintances I feel it’s inappropriate to have connected with them on LinkedIn, such as the director of my son’s school. Others are people I haven’t talked to in a very long time and feel bad for neglecting friendships or old colleagues I had forgotten to keep in touch.
Second, I am not sure that the information I have on my Linked in page is what is expected or detailed enough. I feel a bit embarrassed about anyone viewing it, especially someone I might not know very well. As with all the online networks and sites I have participated I feel a bit vulnerable about having my information, thoughts and opinions out there in the cyber world for analysis.
I also included Facebook in my PLN. Before this Facebook has always been a very personal site for me, which I communicated with friends and family in other parts of the country and world. It felt a bit uncomfortable to cross over this network to include information for my educational and professional world. It reminded me of an anecdote in Interface Design for Learning (Peters pg. 123) when a focus group asked undergraduate students if their university should use Facebook for communication. They were also uncomfortable. I am sure my Facebook page is much more banal than the undergraduate student's but I still felt protective of it and its contents. As information continues to become more and more accessible I wonder how much more will our worlds collide? Will anything on the web be private? Should be expect what we put on the internet to be public domain?