Not too far in the past, staying connected with your colleagues entailed catching up in the hallway, chatting at a meeting or conference, or giving someone a ring from your office landline. But with today’s smartphones and tablets, a simple tap on an app can put you in touch with a community of peers anytime of the day or night, anywhere you might find yourself.

Though it’s still up to you to seek out and build those connections, today’s social-networking tools certainly facilitate the process of sharing ideas and information among like-minded individuals. If you’re looking to connect online, but aren’t quite sure where to start, you may want to begin by reading some suggestions from our colleagues at CengageBrain.comHere, they offer some tips for building and maintaining your networks via Twitter. You may be surprised to see how much you can learn from just 140 characters!, a division of Cengage Learning, is the premier destination for purchasing Cengage Learning textbooks, eBooks, eChapters, study tools and textbook rentals at significant discount.

Do you participate in an online community of instructors, whether by Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking tools and apps? What benefits — and drawbacks — have you experienced? Share your thoughts and comments below.