When I was initially informed that I had to create a Personal Learning Network (PLN) using some sort of social media platform, such as Twitter, I was honestly dreading it and thought it was just going to be another assignment that I was going to hate. The biggest reason that I was against the creation of a PLN was because I really didn’t want to make a Twitter account, as I wasn’t a huge fan of this platform. Although, it was the easiest option and I decided to give it a shot with the hopes that it would ultimately turn out to be beneficial in some way. The purpose of a Personal Learning Network is to connect with others within your career focus and sometimes outside of, gather information or resources, and launch yourself into the field that you are interested in. I personalized my PLN to reflect my career choice of Patient Advocacy, by following a variety of different professionals within the fields of health, nursing, psychology, and social work – which are all components of my major. This allowed me to have a constant stream of knowledge on my Twitter that reflected my career that I could interact with in a variety of ways – retweet, like, comment, etc. As I reflect back over the year and how I utilized my PLN, I actually found it to be extremely beneficial as I kept up to date on issues within my field, communicated with professionals, and was able to share posts in the hopes of raising awareness on a variety of issues. Especially issues that pertain to mental health, a topic that I am quite passionate about and want to eventually specialize in. Here are some of my more recent posts related to advocating for mental health issues and a post regarding my own personal experience with hospice care (another area that I am interested in):
Along with being able to read and share information about the field that I am passionate about, I was also able to utilize my Twitter (PLN) to share some of my own work with my fellow IDS peers and professionals within my field who have followed me. In addition, it was a great way to share my progress on my Research Article and Applied Project, and get some help where needed, like gather participants for my survey:
Lastly, I was able to utilize my PLN to write posts during classroom discussions and share general updates on my life in regards to my overall academic progress:
When looking back at all of the benefits of having a Personal Learning Network, I am glad that I had the opportunity to create one. I have gained more insight on my career interests and was able to stay up to date on progress and movements of specific organizations, read a lot of personal stories, and stay in the loop about everything Patient Advocacy related. One of my goals going forward is to try to be even more active on the platform, as throughout the semester I had the habit of scrolling through my feed and liking everything but not sharing as much as I probably should have. I found myself being picky about what I wanted to comment on or retweet, but it is important that I do so in order to connect with more individuals and create a wider network. Although, since last semester I have followed a lot more individuals within my field. Overall, I want to continue to utilize the Personal Learning Network throughout graduate school and beyond as it is a great source of current news for my field and I would love to see the progress of the IDS department and the work of the new students that are coming through.