Connections among educators are no different. Growing our PLN (connections) is not about growing our number of followers, joining numerous chats or tweeting several times a day, that's just a starting point. Connections are authentic when there is some accountability, some meaningfulness, some genuine interest in the growth and well being of your connections. In my view, while Twitter is an awesome place to expand horizons and find all sorts of connections, it's only a beginning. I think that those connections we find on Twitter, or some other social media, need to be taken to another level and involve something more.
I must admit that my connections are rather shallow at this point and not very authentic by my standards, but I'm getting there. Twitter has opened up a whole new world for me in the last six months or so and I'm guessing it will take me places I can't even imagine. However, what I am finding is that these connections I have made on Twitter have inspired me in my daily practice, helping me connect to my students, their parents, my colleagues and also my friends and family.
So, back to the original question, how/when does a connection become authentic? It happens over time as the parties involved invest their time and basically, it's got to be real.
As I write this post, I keep hearing a disco song in my head from back in the late 70's by Cheryl Lynn, titled "Got To Be Real." I was too young back then to go to clubs, but it was a catchy tune and it was often playing on the radio. Perhaps you weren't alive back then or are too young to remember it, or just didn't care for disco and never heard of it so here's a link to it on You Tube, in case you'd like to take a listen. Enjoy and above all...keep it real.