cpd23 Thing 4 – current awareness

I’m a bit late in posting Thing 4 for cpd23. I thought I would get to it last week, while visiting my mother in law, but I spent more time than expected gardening! She loves when I visit in the summer, because I’m happy to do the weeding and mulching work that her own kids dislike. So now I’m home and playing catch-up!

twitter

I discovered twitter this past spring, while preparing for my comprehensive exams. At the University of Missouri, our comps are basically a take-home exam. The 4 questions are released on a Saturday morning, then we have until Sunday evening of the following week to write about 6 pages (double spaced) addressing each topic. They gave us hints at the beginning of the semester, though, and one of the topics was current trends with e-books. One of the suggested resources to start reading up on the topic was a post on No Shelf Required.

If a blog is the suggested starting point, I thought that other blogs and maybe a few twitter accounts would be good to follow. I started with @LibraryJournal, @ALA_LITA, @librarianbyday, @LISNews, & @ALA_TechSource. Holy cow, I was amazed at the quality of information I found through those initial accounts! So, I kept with it after my comps were over, and have gotten increasingly active since the semester ended.

My one regret with twitter was that I made the mistakes that the wikiman warns against in 3 essential things to do AS SOON AS YOU JOIN twitter… I kept the egg avatar for too long, then used a photo of my dog for my first personalized avatar. I was slow to post a bio. And I took a while to start posting, and when I did, let’s just say that my first posts were not ones that would inspire me to follow someone…

One of the great things that I’ve discovered on twitter, aside from lots of wonderful people to follow, has been #libchat. Follow the link to find out how it works, and set a reminder to show up on Wed. Sometimes it’s very helpful, sometimes the topics are ones that I can’t really comment on, but it’s always educational!

And, as long as I’m raving about twitter, I discovered yet another wonderful benefit while at the ALA conference. I was a newbie, first-time attendee. I also didn’t know anyone else in person who was going — as a distance student, I don’t really know my classmates, and as a full time student, I don’t have co-workers to catch up with. But, right off the bat at the very first session I attended (NMRT’s Conference 101), I was able to connect with a few people I knew from twitter, and met others at later events. As I’ve said before, those few familiar faces in the crowd made the conference much better for me — it became a friendly place instead of an overwhelming experience.

So, if you’re not there yet, go join! Find interesting people to follow and post interesting stuff (re-tweeting interesting articles counts if you’re not sure what to post!). Some people talk about following etiquette — should you follow everyone who follows you? I don’t, and I recommend that you don’t either. It’s easy to get into information overload, and you don’t want to miss interesting posts or conversations because they’re being drowned out by 4-square check-ins. Follow people that are posting interesting things. If someone follows you, but their feed is full of check-ins, try back a week or two later — maybe they do post interesting stuff regularly, but you looked while they were at a conference or otherwise traveling. But don’t feel like you have to follow everyone that follows you, because it’s easy to get overloaded, which makes twitter a chore instead of a useful tool.

RSS

This one is somewhat new for me. Yeah, I know it’s been around a long time, but I organize my bookmarks well enough that it’s not much of a bother to go to each site. I did set up a google reader feed to try it out, with the added benefit that I could also keep up on my blogs via my smartphone.

Unfortunately, I’m finding it a bit of an overload right now. I went to the ALA conference, then came home to a crazy house (my dad was here to dog-sit, and brought my ADHD nephew along!), then left again 2 days later to visit my mother-in-law… So let’s just say I’ve gotten a bit behind! Right now, my new post tally is at 95, which just seems overwhelming. I will probably break down and just mark those all read so that I can start fresh, but I haven’t done so yet — I just might miss some really excellent post that way!

I am curious how RSS feeds work with analytics. I have google analytics on my site, and I really like seeing how many people have viewed my page and where they are located in the world. Can you find this information if they are reading via a RSS feed?

Pushnote

I’ll admit that I haven’t tried this one. I’m not sure I want to download another add-on for my browser. More importantly, though, I’m skeptical that it will be worth it. The description doesn’t really appeal to me. The cpd23 blogs that I’ve seen that have discussed it didn’t change my mind. I’ll try to update later with some links (they’re bookmarked on my husband’s laptop, and they’re not home right now!), but the reactions seemed to be “meh” at best, and pretty critical at worst.

Google+

I’m adding this one, since it came out just a week or so ago. I’m not sure what to think of it so far. I’m somewhat reserving judgment until I have a chance to read more about it. However, from just playing with it a bit, I’m not sure what it adds to my online experience. It seems like just another Facebook, except that 98% of the people in my circles are people I follow on twitter… So we’ll see how this pans out, but it might take a bit to get me to be really active on G+.

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