The next Thing on the list feels somewhat redundant — we’re discussing social media. Twitter, covered in Thing 4, is the social media venue that I use most in relation to libraryland. I made a brief foray into Google+ (discussed a bit in Thing 6), but found a lot of overlap between what I saw on twitter and on G+. And, well, there is only so much time in the day to spend on social media!
Another venue that I don’t think I’ve mentioned before is ALA Connect. Of course, that one is through ALA, and you probably have to be a paid member to access it. I tried it out a bit this spring and wasn’t really impressed with it – not much activity, most of the discussions that I found were over a year old. But, I signed up for an ALA NMRT committee (Liaison Coordination and Support) this year, and we are using ALA Connect for our communications. So we’ll see how that goes!
The cpd23 post for Thing 12 outlines several benefits of using social media, along with a list of questions to address. They hit the major benefits, as I see them. So I’ll just jump into the questions!
can you think of any disadvantages?
I can’t think of anything I would list as a disadvantage, but there are a few risks to be aware of. Of course, you can wind up falling into your twitter stream and spending far more time there than is really healthy. It’s there to enhance your other professional activities, not come before them.
A related risk is winding up in information overload, feeling like there is just so much to keep up on and like there’s not enough time for it all. It’s ok to not read everything. It’s ok to weed your list of people that you follow. It’s ok to not be on every social media site. I follow some people who seem to be doing well in their full time jobs while being active on twitter and Google+ and update their blogs regularly… My puppy forbids me to even try that! As I mentioned above, I tried Google+, but I think for now I’ll stick with focusing on only twitter and blogging, realizing that I will only read a small portion of the tweets in my stream most days.
It’s also important to not let social media get in the way of face-to-face networking. I love seeing people tweet about conference presentations that I can’t attend, but hope that they’re not missing out on the chance to chat with the person sitting next to them in order to type those tweets!
has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally?
Not as much as it could have if I had been better about searching out cpd23 blogs. I usually read a few posts about whichever Thing I’m sitting down to write about before I actually start writing. So, in that sense, I’ve read and sometimes commented on blog posts written by people I probably wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. But I’ve been in and out of town this summer, not able to get into any kind of routine, so I haven’t been good about keeping up with those blogs that I’ve wanted to follow.
did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? Will you keep using it after the programme has finished?
Yes and yes! I talked about how I started getting involved in twitter and why I love it in Thing 4.
in your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?
That depends on how you use it. You can create a strong sense of community via social media. You can also be a disconnected, passive observer, feeling no more sense of community than you do with your local news reporters on tv. You can aim somewhere in the midddle, or you can go back and forth, being active when you have time and silent when you’re too busy to join in the conversations. The choice is up to you!
* Word cloud above is from daniel_iversen on flikr.