Day 1: Breakfast
Assignment: Create a gmail account.
Why?: You do not need to switch to this email account. We will use it later for some Open ID places and for Google Reader.
Day 1: Lunch
Assignment: Create the following accounts: Twitter and Facebook.
Link: Twitter and Facebook
Why?: These are two of the biggest social network sites right now. You are not doing anything with these accounts yet. You are just signing up.
Day 1: Dinner
Assignment: Create a blog and add the following: About Me, 2 Gadgets (sometimes called Widgets), and One Small Post
Link: Blogger (people use other sites, I prefer this one)
Why?: A blog is where you will direct readers to your posted thoughts and opinions, the links you enjoy, and connect with you a lots of other ways.
How?: To start the blog, pick a simple design (you can change it later). Focus on being clear in the "About Me" part (Job, Family, Hobbies). The two gadgets can be any you pick on the design page (you can also get widgets from other sites and add them in). My favorites: Wibiya (the toolbar you see at the bottom), Revolver Maps (shows where visitors are from) or add a simple gadget on the design page by clicking on "Add gadget". Now for your small post, this can be an introduction of yourself, a welcome to visitors, or you can jump right in and post your thoughts. Make sure you hit save, and then admire your work (rule of thumb: save often!).
Want more? Forgo sleep, and continue....
Day 2: Breakfast
Assignment: Join some Nings! (+Inter. Edu Bloggers)
Why?: Nings are a lot like Facebook, but they are often directed around a topic. Here are a few I am part of: Second Grade, Another Second Grade, Educator's PLN, or find your own. These sites will be places for you to join discussions, gather resources, network, and link back to your blog. You should also join the International Edubloggers Directory if you want to connect globally.
Day 2: Lunch
Assignment: Store sites and feeds with Diigo, Delicious, and Google Reader.
Why?: You do not need to sign up for all of these, and if you are going to pick just one, I like Diigo the best. They all have special features. Make sure you install the tool bar with Diigo, it will place some cool tools on your internet browser (I use Mozilla). If you are ambitious you can sign up for Delicious and Google Reader also. Now that you have one or all of these, spend some time and figure out how to bookmark a website with the tool you chose. The job now is to go back to all the sites you joined and bookmark them (facebook, twitter, your blog site, the Nings, etc.)
Day 2: Dinner
Assignment: Create an awesome blog post.
Why?: You have something to say right? Maybe it is about an article you read, or another blog you read (More Ideas Here). This is the time to really get your thoughts out. Be sure to include some links in your post, read through it once, and fill in a couple of labels at the end before you publish.
Day 3: Breakfast
Assignment: Connect with people using Twitter and TweepML.
Why?: If you are not following anyone on Twitter, most likely no one is following you. Time to change that.
How?: I am going to give you two lists that contain educators:
http://twitter.com/bonjour606/education-related and http://twitter.com/ImaginationSoup/education. You need to do this procedure twice. Copy one of the lists (highlight and control+c). Go here. Paste the list in the section that says "Follow a Twitter List" and click submit. It should load up a bunch of people. At the bottom you want to click "Sign in on Twitter Account." A window will open and you must allow the program to access your Twitter. Repeat process with second list. You should now have a bunch of people you follow on Twitter.
(You will get a bunch of direct automatic messages from people. This is a welcome note. You can set up your own at Socialoomph)
Day 3: Lunch
Assignment: Tell people about your blog.
Why?: Know that you are a bit more connected, you should share you awesome blog. To start, create a Tweet that says what your blog post was about and includes a link (you can make a Tinyurl or add a tool later that allows direct tweets from your posts). Next you should revisit all the nings you joined and kindly ask the people in the forum to read your blog and comment. You can also post it on Facebook as a status update or you can join some education groups on there and share.
It may be slow and take a few tries to get people to visit your blog. Don't get discouraged. It may also take some time for people to follow your Twitter. The more you post on your blog and twitter that is relevant to what people are interested in the more followers you will get. (Frequency and Relevancy are key).
Day 3: Dinner
Assignment: Build a network of connections.
Why?: If your PLN is small you may not be getting the best info. Start following other blogs, reading their posts, and leaving a comments (your comment can ask them to read your posts too). Here are a few favorite blogs: Principal's Reflections, Around the Corner, and Moving at the Speed of Creativity. On each of these sites you should see other blogs to follow on the side columns. Feel free build from here. You can add them to your Diigo, Delicious, or Google Reader. You can also follow them at the top if they are on Blogger. There may be other ways to connect (RSS great guide from Will Richardson) so look around the sites. These people are experts and have great things to read.
Day 4: Breakfast
Assignment: Blog again and Get Twittering
Why?: If you want to keep people coming to your site and connecting with you, you need to say more stuff. Blog about a great teaching idea you thought of that others can use. Now get sharing it, share your blog site on Twitter, Facebook, Nings, and other groups you joined.
Day 4: Lunch
Assignment: Explore the Features of Your Tools
Why?: Mostly likely there are more ways you can use Diigo, Delicious, Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You would do some searches on some useful ways to use the tools. Will Richardson has a great blog to check out.
You are now pretty well connected. You may want to relax a bit (but keep blogging and sharing).
To keep from going stale and getting out of the loop, you should always respond to messages sent to you. You should do something to your blog at least once a week.
If you are hungry for more, here a few things to explore:
- Get to know some html code. It is useful for adding widgets, and other tools to your blog. A lot of code is copy and paste now, but it is still useful to understand how it works.
- Explore some other cools: TweetDeck, Plurk, Glogster, Skype, and Digsby are just a few tools you may want to look into.
- Message people through a variety of tools. Direct Message on Twitter. Email people. Post comments on forums, and blogs.
- Build a network of people to follow on Diigo and Delicious. Share bookmarks.
- Read, Blog, and Comment often. Stay relevant and connected.
- Look for ways you can collaborate with other educators (Wikis, and other projects).
What things did I miss? What are some other useful ways to help newbies?