In The Impact Equation, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith say that everyone needs a channel in social media: “developing a channel is about more than expression… it’s an important step for your personal life, your business, and your career. It is not something you need to be doing not when you are working on your new project, but much earlier…”
I made a similar note when I talked about the benefit of my online community in creating a new course in Social Media Marketing.
But for most of us there is an ongoing value from the community that is even more important than help in a future project. Whatever our area of expertise or passion, it is hard to stay current in a fast paced world. Our online community, sharing our passion, is an aid to lifelong learning, a Personal Learning Network or PLN.
PLNs are mostly discussed in educational literature, but in a knowledge economy, nearly all of us need to continuously keep up-to-speed on changing developments. So build your “community” or your “channel”, maybe they will help you with a major project some day, but in the meantime they will support and enhance you as your PLN!
Along with my wife, Laurel, I presented a workshop on using social media to develop and nurture a PLN at the Virginia Tech Annual Conference on Pedagogy. I recommend the conference to all. Our slides are posted on slideshare, embedded below: