So you’re reading blogs! You’re tweeting! Awesome. I knew you could!
Hopefully you’ve found some resources you like and some voices online that resonate with you.
So how do you keep in touch with all of this? How do you keep pace with all of the tweets and posts and ideas that your online colleagues are generating? Let’s talk about tools and time.
But first: Everyone wrangles the MTBoS differently. We all have our favorite tools and methods and apps and haunts. You’ll figure out what works for you. A great first step is just knowing what all is available and possible. The run-down below highlights a few, but you should really get a diversity of opinions from people who you suspect might operate similarly to you. So your first assignment is to ask someone how they stay organized in the MTBoS. You can tweet to them, leave them a comment on their blog, write them an email, or ask them in person. We grant you 100% permission.
There are a number of tools that you might use to help collect and streamline your online feasting.
There are better ways to keep up with blogs that you like than just visiting them on occasion to see what’s new. For blogs that you like, you might subscribe to them by email. Whenever the blogger publishes a new post, you’ll get an email with the blog post pasted right there in it. How conveeeeenient!
You can often find “follow by email” button in blog sidebars, like this one on Kate Nowak’s blog.
As you follow more blogs, you may want to have a special place for blog posts other than your email inbox. That’s what an RSS reader is for. Whenever someone publishes a new post, the RSS fairy pushes out magical dustings of…well, I don’t know all of the technical details of RSS. The important thing is that a RSS reader is like an inbox for blog posts. It gathers every new blog post from blogs you want to keep track of.
An RSS reader: an inbox for blog posts. This reader is called feedly.
For Twitter, there are many options for reading your feed. You can use the twitter.com website. On computers, there are two clients that Twitter produces, Twitter and Tweetdeck. Twitter is simpler, while Tweetdeck allows you to have multiple columns. There are also clients that third-party companies have created, like Hootsuite, and there are also a variety of phone apps available for you to keep up with tweets on your mobile device.
All of these are a little different and can be configured in bunches of ways. Find the right combination for you!
Having a MTBoS routine can be helpful. I mean, you’re going to fall into some kind of behavior pattern anyway, so why not take some conscious control over it?
Maybe you’ll have a weekly check-in time. Maybe you’ll look at your Twitter feed every morning. Maybe you’ll have as a goal to read one blog post a week and comment on it. Maybe there’s a regular Twitter chat that you’d like to make a regular appearance at.
Who knows what you will do! You’ll have to figure it out. Get ideas and opinions from others about how they wrangle things, and just pay attention to your own habits and what feels productive, uplifting, and energizing to you. Participating in the MTBoS is not an obligation. You’re doing it for you—for your professional growth and to be a part of a inspiring math ed community. Also, know that if you take a long break from the MTBoS, you will be able to pick things right back up whenever you return, and people will be glad to see you.
Let me leave you with a couple of blog posts by MTBoSers who have shared some thought about their own systems and strategies for managing their online resources and feeds: