Social media provides the zeitgeist of the 21st Century. The business, fashion, and political worlds have taken full advantage of these avenues to connect with their consumers and supporters from across the globe; and we are well out of the infancy stages of implementation.
However, research shows the education sector has dabbled in comparison. According to a recent study by mediabistro.com, 96% of students with Internet access use social networking while only 27% of schools have a teacher community and 35% support teacher-run blogs. This is not to say educators aren't utilizing social networks in classrooms and their professional lives, sharing knowledge of the field, but there may be avenues that aren't being explored.
Among the popular names of Facebook and Twitter lies a professional resource that inspires and yokes: Linkedin. Businesses and individuals use Linkedin to recruit potential employees, network with others in the field, and inspire one another to build resumes and share accomplishments. Yet, there’s room for the education professional-- and some are already way ahead of the game.
Linkedin is a main source for seeking career advancement and therefore some educators don’t see a place for it in their professional landscape. Many individuals who are currently on Linkedin are those who have advanced their profession, published works through Doctoral programs, or moved from one system or zip code to another. Yet, there are benefits for education professionals despite the career goal:
Connecting with admirable and inspiring professionals in the field. Seeing the pathways of someone’s career legacy helps to guide those who are newer in the field to follow in their footsteps. Looking at this information also tells how someone matches to another in his or her discipline.
Discovering educational and professional development opportunities. There are many educational workshops- in addition to online schools and universities- presented on Linkedin. For example, General Assembly and Noble Desktop are two NYC-based institutions that provide software and STEM-related classes. These avenues are not as publicly well-known as typical professional development institutions, but successful educators have attended these programs and advertise these on their profiles.
Viewing presentations and publications. Many quality Linkedin profiles contain professional works that the individual has published and created that provide valuable knowledge and expertise on a subject.
Creating a presence within the field. As a professional, being part of something that brings people of like minds and careers together helps keeps doors open.
There is a comfort zone that varies by each individual. However, if there is an opportunity to become part of something that brings creativity and successes together in order to explore and expand a knowledge base, then not many can argue against venturing into this world.