Social media, specifically Twitter and blogs, have become key components of my personal learning environment (PLN). For as many books I read, social media provides me information and, more importantly, access to a variety of experts/up-and-coming thinkers and their ideas that none of the books provide. While books may provide thoroughly examined and edited concepts, theories, and even real-life case studies, I find it refreshing to read the experiences and ideas of my contemporaries in student affairs and technology fields. These are folks whose ideas may not have been heard if they were not through social media. One of my core beliefs is that everyone has something to contribute. Specifically, in our field of student affairs, I value the insights of students and new professionals. Their voices need to be heard more regarding the current and future states of student affairs and higher education. I also value folks who are not afraid to challenge conventional thinking. Here are just some of the folks I’ve come to follow:

– Josie Ahlquist (@josieahlquist). Brilliant writer as she can present academic concepts about digital leadership and student development theories that are enjoyable and easy to understand. She is one of the few folks I know researching digital leadership and the use of social media in student affairs. Check out her blog at

– Trina Tan (@trinastan). It’s refreshing to read Trina’s adventures as a Filipina-American graduate student. She shares some of her personal and career challenges and lessons learned along the way. Check out her blog at

– J Chase (@JChase_). Do you want to follow someone who’s not afraid to call things the way we all should? Follow this guy. He makes a lot of sense, too. From assessment to critically looking at the principles/practices of student affairs, his commentaries provide different perspectives. Check out his blog at .

– Josh Kohnert (@joshkohnert). Josh is one of the emerging leaders in using social media for digital identity development amongst students and staff. I like the fact that not only is he writing about his ideas, but he is also actively sharing his knowledge through his presentations and his work as well. Check out his blog at

– Joe Ginese (@joeginese). Joe is full of ideas and innovative ideas. What I respect about Joe is that he is a thinker and a doer. He will provide some ideas when he identifies an issue, like how conferences can be improved. Too many folks, I think, can say “here’s the problem” and stop there. Joe will present some possible solutions. Check out his blog at:

I could add so many more folks to the list above, and the ones I mention represent the folks I enjoy reading for their unique and fresh perspectives.

Who are the folks you follow who bring new ideas and even challenge you?