Evernote is THE best app I have found in the last year. I was given the task of looking into it for 23 things city and to be honest wasn’t sure what use it would really be but now I have no idea what I did without it.
Evernote is a web application which is also available to download on to mobile devices, desktop PCs, lap tops and just about every computer. This means that you can literally use it anywhere and it will sync with on all your devices and the website.
I was always starting a notebook then forgetting it and starting another then never looking at the notes anyway because I couldn’t read my writing or had to scan through so much that I couldn’t find what I was looking for but with evernote I am finally becoming a notetaker!
I use Evernote to plan blogposts, take notes in meetings or lectures and save pictures or links. I use it both personally and professionally. I can start something on my laptop at home, work on it on my iPad on the train, edit it on my work PC, log on to any computer to check it via the web and share it via my phone if I want. At the Business Librarians Association Conference I was able to make notes, download all the pre-conference information and agenda and keep it all in one “notebook” on Evernote. When I came back to the office I could view these notes online and add links to them where needed. I can then share the notes with colleagues. For example these notes on a talk about doing a library video from the conference.
Why use it?
Even if you don’t have a mobile device to use it on or a lap top to download it to it can still transform your work.
* You can log on to the web version (http://www.evernote.com/) anywhere with an internet connection and you can share your notes so it is a great way of quickly creating a simple web page or putting a plan together.
* You can clip all or part of a webpage into a note by using the web clipping tool (this is easier to install at work on Firefox than on Internet Explorer).
* This is a note I created linking to a clipping of this page.
* You can create checklists so you can tick the boxes to keep track of what you have done.
* You can tag notes so notes in different notebooks can all use the same tage and be found on a search.
* If you are using it on a mobile device you can add a location so you can see all notes made at that location by you.
Evernote is particularly useful for projects as this video shows:
This is the first week where I’ve written one the “things” mine is the cool extra thing – Facebook. A week about social networking and Facebook is only a cool extra? I hear you ask. Well, it was felt we couldn’t ignore Facebook but we were also aware that some people have good reasons not to join and others wouldn’t want their work world venturing into their private/facebook world. So we have suggested people look at how other libraries have used Facebook. I am wondering what the thoughts will be …
Library and university presence on Facebook always makes me think back to Facebook’s early days and the theory that students didn’t want their studying life to intrude into their social space. They wanted to keep the two separate, logging on to VLEs for study and Facebook for fun. I am wondering how true this still is? 18 year old students today have been using Facebook/Bebo/Myspace for almost all their teenage years so are the divisions still there?
Interest in Facebook and formal university connections has existed since its beginning. Possibly because of its roots as a university communication network unlike MySpace and Bebo. Research from Nicole Ellison at Michigan State University in December 2007 suggested 79-95% of all undergraduates had Facebook accounts. I have no idea what today’s precentage would be but it probably is similar.
What I find interesting is why and how different people use Facebook. I use it a lot. I use it to keep in touch with friends and family near and far, I play scrabble on it (again with friends and family near and far), I arrange events with it and I have reconnected with friends from the past. I know people who have committed “facebook suicide” and I know people who have very strong privacy settings. I also know people who are far too open and seemingly live a virtual life at the expense of a real one. I think some of my friendships and connections have strengthened because of it but also sometimes you realise you have little in common with people beyond the setting you know them in.
I recently saw what can happen when people from different areas of your life collide on Facebook. I posted a link to a story connected with a close friend’s brother. I knew the whole story but the article didn’t tell it all (more here). Two friends ( ex- colleagues) then commented on it without much regard for the feelings of those involved. For a few hours I felt that I was in the crossfire of an argument with people feeling very hurt. I defended my friend and her brother but I didn’t remove what my other friends said because while I disagreed with them I do believe everybody’s entitled to an opinion. I hope my subsequent comments (if they read them properly) calmed things down properly and possibly informed them of the facts. It was a reminder that Facebook isn’t just a medium removed from real life but very much part of my life where people can reveal sides of themselves that make them seem a little less than I thought they were but also reminded me how strong my other friend is. This could have happened in a discussion in the pub but the record of the exchange remains on Facebook whereas in the pub nobody could keep going back over it.
Returning to the more professional aspects of Facebook. There was an article on the Guardian website which highlights the dificulties faced by universities in maintaining contact with students and controlling their image. Students can discuss courses, universities and even slag off the library’s fines. It seems that despite the early boundaries it is essential that all university libraries have a presence in social networks not least Facebook.
Looking through the pages I found for this week’s post it is clear students are interacting with the university presence on Facebook more than they used to. One post on the University of Sussex page shows the way that students are using Facebook to interact with their library:
Previously this student would have had to find someone to complain about the heat but instead he could just post on the page. However the pages aren’t hugely popular. The British Library leads the field with 32,991 likes but Harvard lags well behind with a mere 110 (ironic as that is where Facebook started). Of the university libraries listed Brunel is the most popular with 1068 likes. It makes me wonder if the lack of interest is because students aren’t interested or if the pages aren’t interesting enough. Should we look at how companies use Facebook? I think we need a presence there because people look for us there but it needs to be interactive and not just because other people have done it.
Maybe Twitter is a more natural place for libraries to give out information? Orkney Libraries have only 837 likes on Facebook but on Twitter they have a big following of 3278. I can’t instantly explain why this is.
One of the most popular discussions coming from our 23 things programme is whether people want to keep their professional and personal lives separate and what the point of blogs are. Ultimately this is entirely a personal decision but it has reminded me of work my friend Katie and others have been doing. Katie’s done a couple of great blog posts on research into how social use of social networks may affect credibility. The overwhelming consensus appears to be that by tweeting personal things as well as professional things your credibility will be increased rather than decreased. This could be because you feel more connected with someone if you know more about them personally and their for you trust them more. After all you would trust a friend over a person in the street.
I would say that what I tweet/blog/share depends very much on my mood or where I am rather than any big calculation. I don’t tend to prepare posts in advance and think about them, although maybe sometimes I should! I guess the main issue for me is who will see it? On twitter a lot of my “followers” are fellow librarians so I would post there something entirely library related which my friends would yawn at. On facebook my friends are just that, people I know and have met personally so I would share personal events and things there which people who don’t know me personally probably wouldn’t care about.
My Flavors.me page
In my blogging though I tended not to be too personal until I did the most personal blog I could have done with my jaw surgery blog . I thought it would be a blog firstly for my close friends and family(especially as I couldn’t talk or have the energy to contact people) and then when complete for other jaw surgery patients to refer to. In fact it took on a whole new lease of life with friends I hadn’t seen for years and strangers sending me messages to wish me well. I thought it was basically me moaning about how ill I felt but people sent me messages saying how positive it was and how it inspired them in their own lives. Even though I haven’t posted to it for over a month it is still getting 20 -50 visitors a day and interestingly in 5 months it has had over 10,000 visitors. Melon The Librarian has been around for over 18 months and just hit 1000 visitors. My lesson from this experience was that what you think you are writing may well not be what people think they are reading!
There is inevitably a crossover of information between all my social media platforms. This is no different to how if you gathered together everybody who knows me in all walks of life then nobody would have the same view or opinion of me but probably share a general impression. I’m not rigid in where I write or post and do believe that people perceive you better if you are a real person. This is probably a reflection of my personality as I am sociable and open. So amongst some worthy item on work there is a good chance there will be a random post which would mean nothing to anybody but my best friends!
I’m a fairly open person but for various personal reasons I do restrict my Facebook photos, usually to friends only but occasionally to a select group of people. I was interested in this item on Newsnight last week, where a woman from London’s photos had been taken from Facebook and used on a blog (which has now been revealed to be a fake). After concern was raised that the blogger had been kidnapped in Syria her picture appeared in newspapers the world over and because of the sensitive nature of the blog she was understandably fearful. It’s not clear how the pictures came to be used or whether she had made the pictures private but the story raises issues of privacy and copyright.
I guess the best advice is make your images private but beware you may still not have control over what happens to them. Certainly don’t post anything you wouldn’t want people to see!