Ready to Get Connected?

The professional organization that I chose to explore for this week’s assignment (PLE starter) is the (CEC) Council for Exceptional Children.  I selected CEC because they are the largest national professional organization dedicated to special and gifted education.  Last year I attended the CEC annual conference in Denver, CO (FYI-2013 Conference is in San Antonio if anyone is interested).  It was an amazing experience as educators from all over the world  had the opportunity to discuss the most pressing issues in the field, from RTI (Response to Intervention) to the proposed revision of the DSM-V diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder classification. In addition to the numerous presentations, there was an expo that provided conference attendees with the opportunity to explore cutting edge tools, services and curriculum materials.   CEC also publishes a bi-monthly journal that has useful research-based practical information that I often reference in my work.     

CEC has a presence in numerous social media outlets (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin,  Foursquare, etc.), but the most popular appear to be Facebook and Twitter.  I chose to take a closer look at Twitter because it is an effective tool that should be utilized when creating a PLN.  Check out this video on what Twitter can do for your PLN.

http://bcove.me/fe4h82nq

After I decided to follow CEC on Twitter and take a closer look at the profiles of people that are following CEC, I chose the following (6) accounts:

Dr. Nicole Beurkens
SpEd Nation
Sara Wasserman
NCLD
Sarah Potter
Dara Baldwin

I selected these accounts based on company/individual profiles and then took a closer look based on the criteria below which was gathered from the following sources:

http://jaygoldman.com/2009/01/follow-back-how-i-choose-who-to-follow-on-twitter/

http://blog.tweetsmarter.com/followers/the-secrets-of-following-people-on-twitter/

Criteria:
Number of followers
Friends to follower ratio (more followers than friends tend to add more value)
Bio
Do they have a website?
Are they part of the conversation?
Are their tweets engaging and interesting?
Is the information shared relevant to my professional growth?
Do they Tweet about their sources of info?
Do they add comments to their Retweets?

I chose to follow back 3 of the 6 selected accounts after further examination (Dr. Nicole Beurkens, Sarah Wasserman, NCLD). Profiles are really important when establishing a social media presence; they can make or break opportunities for individuals/organizations. A great profile can lead to increased visibility, however profiles can also be misleading-which was the case for several of the accounts that I intially selected. These accounts had interesting profiles, but when I looked at the additional criteria (participation, engagement, relevance) they fell short in a number of areas.

6 thoughts on “Ready to Get Connected?

  1. Mike Fern says:

    In reading all the posts, and seeing who picked what, it never ceases to amaze me how many professional organizations there are, and how specialized they can be. (There’s even a professional organization for directors of professional organizations – http://www.asaecenter.org/. I know this because a friend of mine is member.) It’s a way for people with the same interests to get together. I think having a professional organization associated with your niche of the world helps to make your field more reputable, and by extension, you and your posts more reputable.

    • Janice Hill says:

      I agree there are a myriad of professional organizations in the USA alone, not to mention international organizations. As an education, I am always interested in issues around free an appropriate education for all children and the RTI model is one that is of particular interest to me. In fact, those in education are saying this model is good to use with all children.

  2. mggrottiMeg says:

    I really think the question of authority in Twitter is a fascinating one. I was wondering, out of the criteria that you posted for determining TwitterPeople’s trustworthiness or authority, did you find one criteria was more important to you than another? Or were the profiles that you mentioned the most important thing, to you? I must admit,in my own exploration of Twitter for this exercise, I neglected to pay much attention to the profiles. Thanks for sharing!

    • esleynewton says:

      Hi Meg,
      I used the profiles as a screening tool (so to speak), but once I began to delve a little deeper, I really focused on whether the information was relevant to my professsional growth and whether the tweets were engaging. I found that a number of people had great profiles but their conversations lacked basis. Profiles are important, but I guess that old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” rings true in the social media realm as well. 🙂

      • williamboyer says:

        I wound up using the profiles in a similar manner, Esley. Initially, I thought I was doing something wrong because there were so many followers to look through, and I didn’t see any that were interesting. Many of them appeared to be just thrown together. Just as I began to feel I was wasting my time, I came across a profile that looked professional and contained a link to a personal blog. That discovery turned things around for me, and provided me with the criteria that I would use, to filter out followers, as I continued my search. I was able to sift through the followers fairly quickly by simply requiring that the profile contain a link to a personal blog. I then, of course, had to check out the blog, but without that initial link in the profile, I just kept on moving through profiles.

  3. I really think CEC is a great organization for teachers and parents with children who have special needs. I atttended a conference they had in Delaware twice. They had valuable resources and informative workshops.

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