4 Tips for Building Your PLN (from Howard Rheingold)

Online life has merged with physical life for most of us, according to sources like the PEW Internet Report. Learning how to avoid drowning in the information flood has been the focus of my blog for over six years. Currently, I am almost finished reading Howard Rheingold’s book ¬†Net Smart: How to Thrive Online which may be considered old news with a copyright date of way back in 2012. (We seem to think anything written last week is out of date.) The book is powerfully packed with insight but written¬†in a friendly inviting tone.
Rheingold illustrates the “networking” literacy skills every single of us must acquire and includes tips for building a personal learning network.

4 Tips for Building Your Personal Learning Network

1. Know the Territory
When you first enter an online community (twitter, Ning, Second Life, wiki, etc), take it slow and get a feel for the way members interact.
2. Assume Goodwill
Ask friendly questions if you encounter negativity and assume misinterpretations may arise due to lack of social cues in new media formats.
3. Jump in where you can add value
Participatory culture (example: Wikipedia) brings advantages to a community through collaboration. No single individual can learn or do everything, but collectively we accomplish a great deal. If each person contributes, even in a small way, the outcome can be significant.
4. Reciprocate
A willingness to help others builds trust, respect, and reputation.

Rheingold brings a positive, knowledgeable, authentic perspective on how to thrive in our changing online world.  


Rheingold, Howard. Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2012.

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