A Connected Audience: You Have Two Roles to Play

Hello, it’s me…

Adele smashed records with this hit by connecting with her audience, and now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the benefits of being an effective audience member and drawing an audience from an educational perspective. In an earlier post I discussed George Siemen’s theories of connectivism as learning, in which he suggests that “[n]urturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.” Today, I propose that you must consider yourself as an audience, as well as your regular audience to achieve this principle of connectivism.

Connecting with Others: Yourself as the Audience

To achieve this connection consider your role as an audience member. One way to be an effective audience is by currating content. The process of content curation is the act of sorting through large amounts of content on the web and presenting the best posts in a meaningful and organized way. You might use Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Pocket, Feedly, or RSS among other content curation tools to maintain consistent connections with the people and topics you would otherwise follow on a multitude of sites and apps. Kay Oddone says that what is left out is just as important as what is included in your curation. Consider who and what you really want to connect with and what is worthy of your time and attention.

Another way that you can contribute as an audience member is by responding to what you hear. Share your thoughts. Provide feedback. Get involved. Just as day to day relationships depend on effective communication skills, so does connectivism depend on the relationship between the speaker and listener.

Connecting with Others: Drawing an Audience

Yet another way to create and maintain connections for the purpose of learning is through blogging. Because once thinking is public, connections take over, the author must carefully consider how they will connect with their audience. Terry Heick argues that [t]he reader, in fact, will feel about you, your subject, and your essay only what your written words themselves induce her to feel. In the process of sharing your ideas, you have the opportunity to connect with, and therefore learn from, others. Clive Thompson says that such a connection forces you to pay more attention and learn more. For this reason, a blogger must be intentional in order to contribute to and benefit from connectivism.

You may not have the power of Adele to draw a worldwide audience, but you do have an opportunity to make meaningful connections with people and ideas that will lead you further along your learning journey.