Thing 5 – Online Networks

So as I have mentioned previously for me Facebook is really more of a personal social network and I am not so comfortable with my professional and personal social networks being combined. Not because I have anything to hide (I’m not posting inappropriate content) but I figure my professional network don’t really care about seeing a picture of me on holidays or my latest baking accomplishment but my mother might.

For professional networking I use LinkedIn and Twitter. Twitter has been so important to me in building up a network of information professionals, who in turn have been an invaluable source of support and advice. There are some things that I really love about Twitter and the first is Twitter chats. Getting involved in a Twitter chat is an excellent way of conversing with your fellow information professionals and getting to know them a bit better. I have been to countless conferences and events where the ice is broken by ‘knowing’ someone from twitter.

Twitter is a great way of sharing your thoughts and things that interest you and you can stir up conversation that way. I use Twitter to share when I have published a blog post or when I find an interesting article online. It is great for getting your message out there and in turn hearing other people’s.

Hashtags make topics easier to find so I would always encourage people to use the appropriate # where you can.

Plus my experience using Twitter in a professional networking capacity has meant that I am able to use the knowledge I have built up to utilise Twitter for work purposes.

I am curious as to whether anyone find Facebook more effective for professional networking – and if so do they have a separate personal account? Personally I just can’t see myself using one social media tool for both things – I don’t mind being part of a few groups etc. but for me when it comes to networking with professionals Twitter is the winner every time.

Personal/Professional Learning Networks

As part of my module, Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice, we are required to work on our Personal Learning Networks. I’m actually going to refer to mine as a Professional Learning Network because writing my blogs, keeping up with recent events in the Library World via Twitter and Facebook and going to events are all things I hope will continue far beyond my college days. I think these outlets allow us access to so many more people and so much more information than we could have even dreamed about a decade ago and who knows what will happen in the future. Personally, I don’t believe that PLNs are a new phenomenon; people have always had networks, just not to the same level that is available to us since the advent of Web 2.0. Now, instead of just teachers, lecturers and other students in our class, we can speak to people the world over and we can see their thoughts and read their opinions in many different forms. We can interact and learn from each other in really exciting and innovative ways, for example, the YouTube video I have embedded or the Prezi I have created.

In the last couple of weeks I have been really lucky to have met some lovely librarians that have read and forwarded my blog and I have gotten a great response. I have new followers on Twitter and my views have grown exponentially in the space of a few days. It has been exciting and completely overwhelming. The world can be a very small place when you have  the magic of social media working with you. You can connect with people, you can share ideas and news, create and inform about events and you can market to a far bigger community than you may have dreamed possible. Social media is an extremely powerful tool, especially for organisations like libraries that may not have huge budgets but need to market, that hope to connect with new users and (let’s be honest) want to appear (and actually be) tech savvy and therefore NOT old-fashioned. Its about communication and collaboration!

The world is changing and we are changing with it!

Unfortunately, it is not all sunshine and flowers; there are issues in relation to being able to connect with a larger network. Firstly, you have to be careful about what you say. You don’t want to appear in a negative light to your new (and large) network if you ever hope to secure a job. You have to be careful not to use someone else’s content as your own. I can embed the YouTube video but it contains information so you know it wasn’t made by me. You have to be aware that other people may put content online but there are still rules about what you can do with it. You have to have respect for people. I am including this because if you choose to put your ideas out there then you have to respect the fact that people may disagree and instead of being upset by this you can, and should, use it as a learning experience. However, there are also Trolls! My advice about these kinds of people is to just ignore them. Engaging in an argument with a troll is a pointless and frustrating exercise. These are issues that will also continue into the professional world. Respect for people’s property and people’s differences will be important in any walk of life; the information professional or librarian will know this better than anyone.

Be considerate of others. Maintain your own integrity. Be honest. Learn and grow.

Basically, having a network is about connecting with people and we should all be getting good at this with the amount of group work involved in our MLIS. I find it interesting and frankly, quite fun, to engage with others and learn from the experience. By going to the LAI’s HSLG and A&SL event I basically threw myself in the deep-end but it has been so worthwhile because it has forced me to learn how to swim in the pool that is networking and I have to say I’m loving every minute of it!

Prezi