Blog resurrection and Twitterfall

Hello! After nearly 3 years, I’ve decided to resurrect this blog.  There are various reasons for choosing to do this now.  I’m overseeing the setting up of a new library and information service, and am therefore thinking about lots of new things.  I’ve just properly started on CILIP chartership – I registered in February, but haven’t really got very far up until the past week or so.  Finally, in the past few weeks I’ve registered for 2 conferences, having not attended one for a couple of years, and am feeling a renewed enthusiasm for my CPD.

This evening I attended my first #chartership twitter chat.  I’ve previously used Hootesuite for twitter chats, but decided to try out another tool I’d heard of for this evening – Twitterfall.  Tweets fall into the Twitterfall screen a bit like a slow waterfall.

waterfall

Photo by Tom Hall via Flickr http://bit.ly/1LAq3qx

You can choose which tweets you see with a list, search or location and you can exclude searches too.  There’s also tick boxes to add tweets from your timeline, that you’re mentioned in or your direct messages.  I just used a search for #chartership and missed some replies to my tweets that were missing the hashtag.  Now I’ve found the mentions tickbox I’ll use that as well for chats so I don’t miss helpful replies!

I like how tweets fall slowly onto the page slowly.  If lots of people are tweeting at once you don’t get overwhelmed.  I’m quite a slow reader and the default speed worked for me, but you can speed it up if you want. Once I’d worked out symbol that looks a bit like a refresh button was a ‘View conversation’ button, that was useful too.

Twitterfall

I also realised partway through the chat that if you’re hovering over one of the tweets in the fall, the fall is paused so you don’t get any new messages.  This is a really useful feature if you’re taking a bit longer to read a tweet, trying to catch up with them or contemplating a response.  However, if you find yourself wondering why no one is tweeting, check you haven’t left your cursor hovering over the fall.

When you hover over a tweet an arrow appears at the right hand side giving you various options – DM, Follow, Favourite, Reply, Retweet, Report and View.  You can follow, favourite, reply and retweet satisfactorily from within Twitterfall, but when I tried View it took me to Twitter and when I returned to Twitterfall it started the fall all over again.  So, if you want to view someone’s Twitter page, I’d open the View link in a new tab/window.  One thing I found quite frustrating was that you don’t get a normal mini profile when you hover over someone like you do in Twitter – the pop up you get is missing their picture and blurb.

Twitterfall2

Overall, Twitterfall worked really rather well for following a twitter chat and I’ll be using it again.

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Thing 12: Putting the social into social media

This post was written for 23 Things for Professional Development, Thing 12.

Am I a social media lurker or a social media socialite?  Well, I think I am somewhere in between, but closer to the lurker end of the spectrum.  It varies between social media sites and twitter is where I’m most social.  I always respond to thank someone if they tweet a link that makes me think “Wow, that’s brilliant”, I’ve attended a few uklibchats where although I’m not particularly vocal I do participate in the conversation and I do occasionally respond to or ask questions on twitter.  Blogs I comment on occasionally but not as often as I would like and elsewhere I’m pretty much a lurker.  Sometimes my lurking is because when I come across somewhere I want to contribute I think “Oh I’ll think of a good way of writing what I want to say on that later” and either never finding time to do it or finding that someone else gets there first with what I wanted to say.  I like to follow and read posts by people from different sectors and different stages of their career, but find it easier and less daunting responding to people in a similar situation to me.  I think this is a combination of it being less likely that I have completely missed the point if they’re writing about something I do too, often having met them face-to-face as well as online, worrying that people won’t be interested in the thoughts of mere graduate trainee and, if the person I am responding too works at a certain level, that maybe one day they might interview me for a job and so anything I say now is effectively part of a job application.

However, sometimes my lurking is out of choice.  I have different reasons for using social media sites and not all of them are about being social.  For example I’ve chosen not to use the social side of LinkedIn for now – it’s just somewhere to (hopefully) direct people googling me to information I would like them to see and for me to store contact information for people I would like to keep in contact with.  My main use of twitter is as a current awareness service – when I have less time due to other stuff happening in life the interacting is the first to go.  This is because although I get something out of interacting with people on twitter I feel that reading articles other people very kindly tweet is a more valuable use of my time.  So really, the only way I would like to become more social at the moment is by commenting on blog posts more – just need a little more confidence.

Thing 2: Lots and lots of blogs

This post was written for 23 Things for Professional Development, Thing 2: Investigate some other blogs

For thing 2 I’ve been having a look at other cpd23 blogs, and there are LOTS.  I already use Google Reader to follow blogs, and I wanted to add some cpd23 blogs to that.  I want to hear views from as wide a range of people as possible and with only one or two posts on most people’s blogs it was really hard to choose who to follow.   How can I know at this stage who I will find interesting?  In the end I picked about 30 blogs almost at random.  I don’t want to miss anything, but I didn’t want to follow everyone as I think I would just be swamped – I’m hoping that any amazing blog posts will be brought to my attention via twitter.  Though if you think I should be following your blog comment on here and try to persuade me!

On a side note, some blogs I already follow which I really enjoy are the Undergraduate Science Librarian, Laura’s Dark Archive, Dymvue, Organising Chaos and Clare’s Aber Antics (this list is by no means exhaustive).

I’ve also been having a go at commenting on other people’s blogs.  This is something I’ve done very little of before, mainly because it feels a bit intrusive.  But if someone’s written a blog post they must want people to read it and any feedback is useful.  Even just knowing someone has read it and doesn’t think it is entirely pointless is encouraging.  Once I started commenting it became easier and this is something I’ll definitely try to keep up.

Thing 1: Blogging for cpd23

I’ve decided to take part in 23 things for professional development, also known as cpd23. It’s an online professional development course for librarians, with a new ‘thing’ to explore and blog about each week.

Firstly, a bit about me.  I’m a geological sciences graduate currently working as a graduate trainee at the Radcliffe Science Library, the science library of the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University, and in September I’ll be starting an MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL (exciting!).

I’m not entirely new to blogging.  I started this blog back in January to reflect on my experiences as a graduate trainee, but for various reasons it has become a bit neglected.  I’m hoping cpd23 will give me the motivation to get into the habit of blogging regularly.  I’m not expecting it to be easy to keep up with and I’m glad there are a couple of catch up weeks, but I’m determined to make it to the end.  I’ve thought about/used most of the things that will be coming up, but not necessarily all that much and I think it will be useful to evaluate them and have to put my thoughts into words.  I’m really looking forward to hearing everyone else’s views on the things too.  I’m particularly looking forward to thing 6: real life networks, as that’s something I’d like to get myself involved in, and hearing about other people’s experiences of librarianship training options in things 9 and 10.

Into the web 2.0 jungle

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!

LinkedIn

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.

Twitter

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

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.

Facebook

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?

Welcome to The Library Cauldron

One of my new years resolutions was to remember to contribute to the Oxford libraries graduate trainees’ blog.  When I started brainstorming ideas for blog posts I found that some of the things I was coming up with, although library-related, weren’t really directly related to the trainee programme.  So I decided to start my own blog for such musings and this is the result.

Why ‘The Library Cauldron’? I wanted to make it obvious I would be writing about libraries, so having ‘library’ in the title seemed a good idea.  I went for ‘cauldron’ because I hope to write about lots of different things here and for this blog to be a metaphorical mixing pot of my ideas.

Not being sure where to start with setting up my own blog I did a bit of searching and found a ‘How to: Set up a blog’ guide by Ned Potter on the LIS New Professionals Network and his associated blog post on the wikiman.  I found these extremely helpful in getting me started, so thank you Ned!

Welcome to The Library Cauldron!