I ran across this post about Seven Habits of Highly Connected People on Stephen Downe’s site awhile ago and been saving it in my drafts until I had a chance to write and reflect. I highlighted ideas from each habit to share but you should read the full article and his explanations at http://www.downes.ca/post/44261
1. Be Reactive
The first thing any connected person should be is receptive. Whether on a discussion forum, mailing list, or in a blogging community or gaming site, it is important to spend some time listening and getting the lay of the land.
Posting, after all, isn’t about airing your own views. It’s about connecting, and the best way to connect is to clearly draw the link between their content and yours.
2. Go With The Flow
When connecting online, it is more important to find the places to which you can add value rather than pursue a particular goal or objective. The Web is a fast-changing medium, and you need to adapt to fit the needs of the moment, rather than to be driving it forward along a specific agenda.
3. Connection Comes First
In almost all fields, connecting with others online is the work. The papers you write, the memos you read and toss-all have to do with connecting with people.
If you don’t have enough time for reading email, writing blog posts, or posting to discussion lists, ask yourself what other activities you are doing that are cutting in to your time. These are the things that are often less efficient uses of your time.
The way to function in a connected world is to share without thinking about what you will get in return.
When you share, people are more willing to share with you. In a networked world, this gives you access to more than you could ever produce or buy by yourself. By sharing, you increase your own capacity, which increases your marketability.
RTFM stands for “Read The Fine Manual” (or some variant thereof) and is one of the primary rules of conduct on the Internet.
What it means, basically, is that people should make the effort to learn for themselves before seeking instruction from others… Taking the time and effort to look at this work is not merely respectful, it demonstrates a certain degree of competence and self-reliance.
Online, people cooperate. They network. Each has his or her own goals and objectives, but what joins the whole is a web of protocols and communications. People contribute their own parts, created (as they say in open source programming) to “satisfy their own itch.”
7. Be Yourself
What makes online communication work is the realization that, at the other end of that lifeless terminal, is a living and breathing human being. The only way to enable people to understand you is to allow them to sympathize with you, to get to know you, to feel empathy for you. Comprehension has as much to do with feeling as it does with cognition.
This past year I finally feel more comfortable in my “online persona”. Before that I considered myself a “lurker”. I subscribed to quite a few blogs and followed folks on Twitter but it wasn’t until a year ago did I really engage in the conversation.
As Downes states above, we need to be reactive and share. It’s not enough to just read an interesting post and say – oh, that’s interesting. Blogging is about being part of a conversation. I’m guilty of not responding to people who posted comments on my blog or at least said “thank you for taking the time” (sorry).
I respond @yourtwitter name more often this year too. Last month I made a Wordle of my twitter posts and realized that edtechvision was one of my top tweets. Maybe I was spending too much time promoting my blog posts instead of saying “hey, check out so-and-so’s blog – there’s an interesting conversation going on there”.
Many of the new face-to-face connections I have made this past year has been because of my online connections. I hooked up with the out-of-towners before Google Teacher Academy which resulted in many friendships (you know who you are!). When I showed up to ILC 2008 several people came up to me and said “hey, I follow you on Twitter” and then -bam: instant connection – and we spent the rest of the conference sharing and connecting.
With plenty of opportunities this year (NCCE, NCEA, NECC) to connect f2f with my PLN, I hope to not only be inspired by highly connected people but also give something back to the edtech community. I thank you. I am learning each and every day and love what you have brought to my life.