Good, friendly advice on how to build your PLN from my very first non-face-to-face follower, Edna, aka @whatedsaid :
Hi Clive, my experience with building a PLN has gone like this: A bit more than a year ago I first started discovering and reading education blogs. In November I took the step and started blogging myself. Soon after I got into twitter, and once I discovered #edchat and other hashtags, I was on the way. At some point I joined a blogging alliance which introduced to other bloggers too. Once you start commenting on other people's blogs, they find their way to yours and it takes off from there! I can honestly say, as a teacher of over 30 years experience, I have learnt more in the past year online than ever before.
Here's what I suggest to help you become part of the fantastic network of educators out there :)
1. I have tweeted (and will again) for others to follow you to help you get started. Follow them back if you're interested and gradually if you participate in the conversation, others start to follow you too.
2. In your tweetdeck, set up columns for #edchat #edtech and any other topics of interest so that you can follow topics rather than just people.
3. Follow a list like this one http://twitter.com/ShellTerrell/educator-pln Set up a tweetdeck column for it. Full of great educators.
4.Look at these http://edte.ch/blog/2009/01/21/5-things-to-get-your-twitter-network-off-the-ground/ and http://whatsnewintheworld.net/2010/01/twitter-as-a-pln/
5. Ask for help on twitter (add #edchat or #edtech or #elearning etc hashtags, so that even people who don't follow you can see your tweets) and GIVE help if you can :) Reply directly to people so that you get into a conversation.
6. Before you know it, you will dispensing this advice to others :)
That'll do for a start! Good luck! Email me anytime to continue the conversation.
Haven't yet had a chance to read about all your experiences, but very interested so far!