I’m catching up with 23things myself. I have blogged in the past about social networking so don’t really want to repeat myself but I think Social Networking is important for libraries and librarians both for promotion and for networking. Personally my key professional network is Twitter.
When I started work on 23things RHUL I asked for tips from other people who had run it in the past – this request went out via Twitter and the responses came thick and fast. Some from participants of 23things as well as people who had run it. But this isn’t the least of the reasons to interact professionally with Twitter.
Why should you be on Twitter?
Learn about library – Find out what influential people in the library world are thinking and doing.
Networking – start conversations and get to know your peers.
Keeping up to date – often Twitter is the first place people find out about major news events. It is also very useful if you commute or have to travel at all as this post I did illustrates.
Get answers – if you are stuck with something ask Twitter and often the answer will appear. There are a lot of clever people on Twitter.
Entertainment – Twitter is full of jokes, funny videos and quick wit. Follow celebrities, especially comedians and you will laugh a lot.
Compliment / Complain – had great service? Tweet about it and let others know when a brand does well. Had bad service? Same applies. Also most companies take Twitter seriously so they will respond to complaints as they are public.
The week before Christmas we launched Royal Holloway’s 23 things programme (RHUL23). For those who don’t know – 23 Things is an online learning programme designed to introduce library staff at Royal Holloway to new media and technologies (more information is on the About page of the 23things blog)
I am a bit nervous about it – I know how brilliant it can be as a concept and I really want this to work as well as it did at City but as with anything you can’t tell until it is well underway how it is going.
I have to thank Emma Cragg, Laura Wilkinson and Rowena Macrae-Gibson for their advice and encouragement in getting this started – all their tips from their own experience was invaluable. I can only hope this goes as well as their iterations.
The first week concerned blogging and RSS feeds. I used to think blogging was an indulgent frippery, all navel gazing and self-importance but have found that it has become a more and more essential part of my working life. Sometime things can be a bit introspective but I have also found the use of reflection as a learning tool has helped me a lot.
I’ve blogged before about professional versus personal in social media and RSS Feeds both posts say much of what I would say now in reflection on week one of RHUL23 – blogging saved my sanity two years ago after major surgery and gave me a different perspective on blogs. Couple that with the fact this blogging has helped me find an outlet for my film reviews as well as interact with my profession and I really feel a place for blogging.
Professionally I also think that blogging is an important tool which helps maximise the library’s reach to our users as shown in my work on the Cass Library Blog – it works because it is part of a set of tools, including Twitter and Facebook (and Libguides). There is no point in only having one of these outlets in isolation – you might miss a whole swathe of your users but I shall blog about that next week when we do Social Networking …
We’re actually now on week 4 but I thought I ought to write something about week 3. Emily was the grand high master of this week and it was excellent. It brought together several concepts including creative commons which has led to lots of interesting discussions about copyright. This is of course unsurprising among a group of librarians. If we find it confusing try explaining copyright to non-librarians. This is when it becomes clear that as a law it is muddled, its aims unclear, and largely illogical. Especially went it comes to e-copyright. Comments like “but how would they know?” and “it would cost a fortune if we bought individual licences rather than just pass the password around.” are fairly standard. Of course the cost if it does go wrong can run into the millions but people seem blissfully unaware of this, the feeling being people should charge less for multiple licences if they want people to buy them.
Anyway, copyright does have a place in law. I have friends in various creative industries who rely on the fact copyright law protects their work and so they can earn money from it. Proportionally few make much from their individual works and so need to protect what they do make by stopping other people just coming along and walking off with it. I think (and hope) over the next few years a balance will be found to allow artists to produce and publicise work while being able to make a living from it.
As a user of images I do think creative commons is great because it does allow people to have control over how their work is used. I’ve paid for iStockphotos before as they are also relatively cheap and sometimes better quality than some of the creative commons ones.
Other than creative commons there were some other things to do, including using Flickr. I’ve had a Flickr account for a few years but only have one album on it! This is mainly because I tend to post my photos to Facebook but recently my sister has started to use Flickr for photos of my nephew so that she can share them with friends and family not of Facebook and I can see the point of it (although you can share albums on Facebook to people not on there). I might well use it again when I do something to share with people beyond Facebook …
Anyway here’s some photos of some big prawns I had in Phuket from my flickr stream (I figure if in doubt use your own pictures!) …
Having revealed my lack of use/interest in RSS feeds I feel I should now say how great iGoogle is but sadly like my RSS feeds my iGoogle page has sat unloved for many years. Here it is. It’s quite pretty:
I obviously set up a search widget when I was doing my research on why people watch Romantic Comedies and my new feeds (which I will never look at) are there but I haven’t got it as my homepage as I have tabs which open in Firefox with the main pages I’ll use everyday (Library homepage, Cass databases, Google).
If I want to find out the currency conversion rate of something I wouldn’t use that widget I’ve got in iGoogle. I’d google a currency converter (Probably using the google search box which appears in my browser in the top right hand corner).
I don’t want to put people off from using RSS feeds or iGoogle. For many, many people they are excellent and fit with their own internet use but I guess that for me how I use the internet has evolved over the years and I use the bits of it I want to do the things I want to do. I am generally and early adopter and try most things once. If I benefit from it it will stay, if I don’t I forget about it until reminded later …. I wonder how many things I use during 23things I will still be using a year from now?
This week’s set of things in 23 Things City is all about keeping up to date. Before I go on I will just say I used to deliver a great workshop at Brighton on this very topic. During this workshop I espoused the virtues of RSS feeds and so on.
Now for confession time … I don’t use RSS feeds. Gasps! I never use them. Not even while doing my film studies research or for following blogs or professional articles. I just don’t like them. I understand the point of them, I can see how they are a great idea but I, personally have never taken to them. I’ve had accounts with bloglines and google reader plus linked them to my outlook but they all sit there blissfully unread and unloved. My bloglines account still uses my brighton email address. That is how unloved it is.
I guess, quite simply when I need information I seek it out. My academic interest is in second world war film, when I’m in the mood I search for articles/blogs/books on it and get a plethora of information which goes back however far I want it to. I know I could do RSS feeds from tables of contents/blogs/websites which would give me tables of contents or even articles but for me it just doesn’t work. I feel like I am quite on top of current thinking and research in the history of film (ok not the largest moving field).
Professionally I follow people on twitter who blog too and have to say my appreciation for blogs has increased through twitter. If they post something I click on the link in my feed and read it or if it is someone who blogs often about things that interest me I bookmark/favourite the blog and click on the link when I have time to catch up on their blog. I guess using it more like a magazine to dip into. I also post interesting things I might want to look at again on tumblr or follow tumblrs that interest me.
I’m part of the team at City who are launching and leading the 23 things programme for our colleagues. It’s all quite exciting and follows on / is inspired by the great work at Cambridge, Oxford and Warwick (plus many more).
In anticipation I have been looking at my blog and realising it is a bit random and ropey. I will admit that for the last few months my blogging activity has been largely focused on my jaw surgery blog. Strangely I managed to keep that up and still have plans for it so it is a finished product when I finally get signed off from surgeons and orthodontists. How come I can’t do the same for this blog. I will let you know if I work out an answer! I will however keep this up over the coming weeks.
I am also looking at my other social media accounts. Some I use a lot (Facebook/twitter), some I set up and never did anything (tumblr, flavors.me) and some I used a while ago but can’t remember logins for now (flickr). The flickr account is most annoying as I would probably use it but I can’t find my login for yahoo and although I know my hotmail address is the alternate email address the emails never arrive telling me what my login is. May I should mention the pitfalls of too many logins in one of my 23 things bits?
Anyway it is all very exciting. The hashtag for it is #23thingscity if you want to follow on Twitter.