Posts Tagged ‘Thing Six’

Thing Six: Online networks

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

LinkedIn

I already have a LinkedIn profile and I do try and keep it up-to-date, otherwise I think it gives a bad impression. So, if I change my job then I make sure I change LinkedIn too. I haven’t got very many connections and I think all of them are people I know in real life (in contrast to Twitter where most of the people I follow I don’t know offline).

I am a member of several LIS groups, but very rarely does anyone manage to get a good conversation going. It’s more of a place to make enquiries or ask questions. I am also a member of a more strategic/managerial group (not LIS specific) as it matches my MSc dissertation topic. That’s even worse! You can just tell that people are posting as a way of saying ‘look at me! employ me! I’m interesting!’  I know every social network is basically an exercise in self-validation but it’s all just so brazen on LinkedIn.

In summary: I think a LinkedIn profile is a good think to have, especially since they tend to come high up in Google searches. As long as it’s up-to-date, then it’s a quick and accurate summary of who you are and what your background is. Does it have a purpose beyond that? In other sectors, probably. I’m not sure it’s the most useful tool for LIS professionals, though.

As an aside, LinkedIn has been in the news lately because some of its users had their passwords leaked. This led to some general chat about LinkedIn and what its role is. I used my new Storify skills to make a mini-Storify reflecting some of this.

[View the story “LinkedIn …. UnLoved?” on Storify]

Facebook

I am a compulsive user of Facebook. I am not a compulsive user of Facebook in any ‘professional’ sense. As I said in Thing Three, I tend to keep Twitter for the professional side of my life and Facebook for the personal side of my life. Inevitably, there is bit of an overlap, though.

I appreciate that CILIP and other professional groups have pages on Facebook but I think I’d rather follow these bodies on Twitter or via RSS and keep Facebook for the silly photos and the games of Words with Friends.

It’s a different matter for organisations (e.g. libraries), though. If you have an institutional brand to monitor or protect then it’s worth remembering that people will talk about you on Facebook, regardless of whether you’re there. If you are on Facebook though, you can control and direct some of this and also counteract any negativity or inaccuracies.

In my last job (an academic library) I was responsible for updating the library’s Facebook page. We had posters near the issue desk, drawing readers’ attention to our Facebook and Twitter presence. I did have some snide comments from undergraduates along the lines of  ‘why on earth is the library on Facebook?!’ I just think that libraries should use as many ways as they can find to shout about what they do and h0w they can help people.

One reason why academic libraries use Facebook is because so many undergraduates spend so much time on the site. So it makes sense to have library information available in a space they are comfortable with. There is, however,  a risk that this makes libraries look  like they’re trying too hard to be down with the kids … the so-called ‘granny at the disco’ effect.

The library’s Facebook page did tend to be updated much quicker than the library website and was also a bit more informal and friendly in its approach.

So, while I’m not going to rush to use Facebook to keep up-to-date with libraries or librarian organisations, I still think it is vital for these groups to be on Facebook. Not only does it increase the number of people that can be reached, but just being on Facebook (and Twitter etc) gives out a strong message about the attitude of the organisation.

LISNPN

I am already a member of LISNPN but I must confess that I haven’t used the site in a while. I like the ‘bagginess’ of their remit: basically anyone who defines themselves as a ‘new professional’ can be involved. I think its very good for graduate trainees and I wish it had existed when I started my graduate trainee placement. (If I recall correctly, it was founded towards the end of my graduate trainee year.) It would have been good to have been able to network and arrange meet-ups with trainees in other places, which lots of the current trainees are using the site for. I also found the online library school reviews interesting although, again, this was a little bit too late for me as I had already chosen where I was going.

I’ll talk about this more in Thing 7, but I went to a meet-up in Oxford of CPD23 participants the other week. We discussed then that this was something that should happen more often, and perhaps the LISNPN forum would be a way of bringing people together and making ‘real life’ meetups happen more often.

Now I’ve ‘rediscovered’ LISNPN, I will try and use it more often, and engage with it more.

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