Over the past month I’ve started using a number of web 2.0 technologies as tools professional development and networking. They have varied in ease of use and how useful I have found them, though I can’t say I am using any to their full potential yet. Here is a summary of my findings of this journey into the web 2.0 jungle (at times it has definitely felt like a jungle).
LIS New Professionals Network (LISNPN)
This was the quickest and easiest tool to set up. The forums are great for getting information and connecting people, I’ve found the how-to-guides (in the downloadable resources section) extremely useful and it was through LISNPN that I found myself in London last Monday evening meeting up with other graduate trainees and library school students. It was a brilliant evening and one that really made me really feel I am part of a community. So a big thumbs up to LISNPN!
I set up a LinkedIn account back in (I think) September, but wasn’t really sure about it and had very little information on there and no connections. An invitation from another trainee to connect on LinkedIn prompted me to have another go with LinkedIn. I’ve added some more information, made a few connections and joined a couple of groups, but it’s not something I’ve managed to integrate into my routine and I’m not using it well yet. Definitely one to come back to, but I’ll probably put it on hold until I feel I’ve settled in to blogging and twitter. I think I’ve probably tried to start too many things at once and would be better focussing on fewer things for now.
I started using twitter because I wanted to participate in #uklibchat and initially I thought that might be all I’d use twitter for. I’ve really enjoyed the two #uklibchats I’ve attended and have got some useful information from them. However, the main use I have got out of twitter has ended up being the new source of information opened up to me through the frequent tweets of links to news items and blog posts. So twitter has ended up being more of a success than I expected, though I feel I could still be getting more out of it if I used it more for its original purpose – conversation.
Getting started with twitter took more time than LISNPN, but not as long as I thought it might before I started. An hour or so setting up the account, reading the twitter help pages and playing around searching for people and hashtags, and experimentally following a couple of interesting looking organisations and I was away.
Blogging, as expected, has been by far the most time consuming exercise. Blogging for the Library Day in the Life project this week on the Oxford Libraries trainees’ blog has been particularly intensive. I’m trying to blog both on this blog and the trainees’ blog because I see the two blogs as having very different main purposes:
- I use the Oxford Libraries trainee’s blog to inform people who are interested about my traineeship – what I’m doing and what I’m learning through what I’m doing.
- I use this blog to reflect on what I’m doing and thinking about and as somewhere for me to write down my thoughts. I’d like other people to read it and find it interesting, but that’s really a bonus.
So far I’m struggling to get as many posts written as I’d like. I’ve now got several half written posts but they all need more research or investigation to be ready to post and I’m not managing to find enough time for that at the moment. This is probably another consequence of taking on too many new things at once on top of a full time job and my ongoing efforts to learn more about the profession I’m entering via more traditional methods (CILIP Update, journal articles and books). Hopefully I’ll get quicker at the writing stage at least with practice.
I have made the decision to keep facebook as my personal social networking space and not using it in a professional capacity. Although web 2.0 tools now blur the divide our between professional and personal lives, I still want to keep some distinction between the two. Though saying that, I have always been careful to make sure there is nothing on my facebook profile I wouldn’t be happy with a (potential) employer or colleague seeing. As much as I try to keep on top of my privacy settings I don’t feel that I can trust facebook to keep private what I want private.
So, in conclusion, I’m glad I made the leap and initiated my library self into the web 2.0 world. I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience and finding value in these tools. However, I do sometimes feel a little like I’m drowning in everything and it may have been better to start one new thing at a time. On the other hand, everything is so interconnected now maybe doing several things at once is useful?