AleX NetLit Guides Professionals Toward Network Literacy

Many people who participate in online social networks know how conducive social networking can be to learning. But those who are just getting involved in online networks haven’t had a chance to build the connections that will help them learn. Now, there’s at least one connection to help professionals new to social networking get their bearings.

Alex NetLit is a fictional persona created by the Network Literacy Community of Practice. Alex was created to serve as a guide to Military Families Service Professionals, Cooperative Extension professionals and others seeking to learn more about using online networks in their work. Think of Alex as a device — an imaginary character developed to help us focus on the millions of people striving to become comfortable with and fluent in the skills and tools that define communicating in the 21st century.

Alex is a 30-year-old divorced mother of two who works as a federal-agency professional providing educational information and other types of self-help to her clients. We hope she will give voice to the excitement and skepticism, as well as the delight and frustration, many of us experience when engaging in online networks.

A picture of the fictional Alex NetLit
Alex NetLit

Alex’s Skepticism

Professionally speaking, Alex has always been wary of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. She uses both applications to keep up with her daughters and with the classmates and friends she collected in the course of her childhood on both sides of the Atlantic, moving from one military base to another with her father, a career Army NCO.

In that respect, she’s grown comfortable with social media. She’s even come to value these online tools for the ways they’ve enabled her to communicate with her daughters and long- separated friends. However, on the subject of using social media in the workplace, Alex takes her cues from the Missouri “show me” school.

Despite her skepticism, Alex is beginning to understand that, like it or not, social media will become an essential part of her future. That’s why she’s jumping in. She’s created a Twitter account, @AleXNetLit, hoping to connect with other professionals interested in using online networks in their work. She wants to share and reflect on her experiences, offering whatever social-media tips and encouragement she can. More than that, she wants to connect with and learn from other professionals facing the same challenges she faces in a rapidly changing world.

Connect With Alex

You can follow Alex NetLit on Twitter. Please feel free to ask her questions, re-tweet her tweets and share your experiences with her.

You can also share your tweets with the broader network literacy learning network by including the hashtag #netlit.

Authors:  Bob Bertsch (@ndbob), Peg Boyles (@ethnobot), Jim Langcuster (@extensionguy) and Stephen Judd (@sjudd)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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