This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

Standing out in the #ocTEL crowd

Two weeks into the #ocTEL MOOC the mass of emails, tweets, Forum entries and now posts in the Google Community have grown like wild fire. I think the key advice I have taken on is that there is no way you can engage with all of it, let alone read it. Some of the messages are repeated in the different channels, so picking your favoured channel or two seems the best coping strategy. Simply reading other people's posts however is fine to start with but to really engage then you also need to join in the conversation to get the most out of it. Last week I joined the first webinar of the course which commenced with a poll asking how many people had engaged with the tasks set. The majority hadn't. My advice would be to give blogging a go. It is a useful way to collate information and reflect upon it. If you don't feel you are ready for publishing publicly, then create a private reflective blog. (You can select this option from settings).

Getting your voice heard 

For me I have found that Twitter is a great way to engage with a learning community and where a hashtag is used you can quickly see who is tweeting. For this course #ocTEL is being used. By searching for this hashtag in Twitter you can bring together all of the tweets in one stream. Start by listening to what others are saying and then jump in and reply to comments made, raise questions or simply retweet a useful tweet so that your followers can also read it.  

Other tools to view who is tweeting include Martin Hawksey's TAGSExplorer which visualises the tweets that include #ocTEL.

Another example is the twitwheel which shows interactions between tweeters.

I recently read an article in Inc titled 'Self Promotion: 6 Ways to get Noticed'. The caption below made me think back about my initial steps interacting online. Worried I would say something that others thought was daft, irrelevant or uninteresting. Say nothing at all and you are the wallflower; talk just about yourself can quickly sound like me, me, me.   

Effective self-promotion lies somewhere 
between being a wallflower and a flaming narcissist. 

The author's suggestions can be applied to the way we communicate using social media. 
Let your results speak for you
Promote others
Talk about what you believe
Admit your failures
Decide what you want to be known for
Put yourself out there

I know I have enjoyed reading both tweets and blog posts where I have felt I have seen the personal side of the author. This can still be done in a professional way - many worry that the personal and professional blurring of our online interactions is a bad thing, but this depends upon what you share. One rule of thumb I tend to follow is that if you wouldn't want your boss or your Mum to read it than don't broadcast it.  

Educational Developer and Associate Lecturer with a research interest in the use of social media in education, technology enhanced learning and digital identity.

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