Monday, 18 June 2012

Real life networks - do I have too?

Much to ponder in Thing 7 - Professional organisations and real life networks. I am a member of a few CILIP subject groups and a regional group, but have attended few meetings. I have attended some, but not enough or regularly enough to become known amongst them. Why do I not attend more? It's hard to convince line managers to release me for working-day meetings (been a sole operator for a year now so cover is problematic). I've youngish kids so evening meetings are also hard - that is often the busiest time of my day acting as chauffeur to their very active social lives. Hence my own is on the back burner. I do think these evening meetings seem to be populated by young professionals (no carer responsibilities) or older professional (whose young have "fledged" so to speak). I look forward to being one of the latter. These are genuine reasons, but if I'm honest, attending meetings can also be daunting - its hard to enter established groups - we all know that from our school days, don't we? Gosh, I hope no one's actually reading this!?

I have noticed the appearance of technology used at some meetings to allow members to attend remotely. This will hopefully become more widespread and enable folks like me to participate more regularly.

I appreciated the links to items on networking for introverts. These were both fascinating and encouraging.

And, yet again, 23 Things has brought to my attention an organisation I knew nothing off before this day - The Higher Education Academy. Having explored their site and looked at some of their reviews and resources, I can see myself making use of this site in the future.

I love it when I learn something new. Sincere thanks to the many brains behind the whole "23 Things" thing.

Online networks

I had hoped I would have a small head start on this topic, as I had already joined and used both Linked In and Facebook, but once again, I discovered my knowledge left much to be desired.

I joined Facebook a few months back, reluctantly, because my teenage daughter wanted an account. So I joined up first, researched all the privacy settings and explored it, only for Facebook to change everything 2 days later! Whilst my daughter is an avid user, I must admit I struggle to see the benefit bar sharing photos, and I am still wary of it, fearing its potential for harm.

Linked In I also joined months ago but only recently fully completed my profile.  I feel more comfortable in the world of Linked In - perhaps because it is much more on a working life not social life basis. I followed Linked In's advice when completing my profile, and almost word for word uploaded my CV. I found the links to other people's profiles in Thing 6 very useful as it reassured me that I was operating on the same or similar lines to other professionals in the library world. Thanks for sharing and reassuring. I had not really properly explored Linked In's groups before, so found that feature  useful to know about. Equally, I had not been aware of Facebook groups either so took a brief look at some of those mentioned. I was delighted to see the British Library had a sizeable number of "Likes" and Voices for the Library also had vocal supporters campaigning in favour of Public Libraries. In comparison the number of "Likes" for CILIP seemed tiny, which seemed to support my decision that I will keep these two online networks separate. I have decided to use Linked In in a processional capacity and my Facebook (which I use very infrequently anyway) for my personal life.

I did not know about the Librarians as Teachers network before and I am delighted to have discovered it. I have not joined as yet - but I am due to start a new role soon, where it may prove useful to me, so once again, discovering a new resource has been a great benefit of 23 Things.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Thing 4

I must admit to finding it hard to keep up with 23 Things. If you take this Thing 4 as an example, whilst I was slightly aware of Twitter, I was not aware of RSS feeds for "library world" or Storify, so learning about 3 things for one week I found a challenge.

I am one of those people who likes to learn about something that is new to me, go away and ponder it for a while, read about others experiences of it, then play with it myself before deciding to what extent it is a Thing for me.

I have spent more time learning about Twitter. I had read tweets and tweeted my own a couple of times, but I have taken this basic use further by investigating how to attach a photo to a  tweet and how to link into a  website too. Whilst I have not attended a conference where Twitter has been used I have read that others have found this valuable, whether they have been at the conference or not, and I can see their point. So you could say I am now a fully paid up Twitter convert.

RSS feeds in terms of the Library world were new to me. I am ashamed to say this really. I know about their value for news, politics, sport etc, so there's no reason I should not have realised library folks create them too - I just did not. So that has been a valuable addition to my now crowded desktop. Now I just need to make the time to monitor them. I think I will have to learn to be ruthless about the ones I actually read in depth though.

Storify remains a bit of a mystery. I think maybe it is one Thing too far for this week. I'm going to settle for knowing it exists, and I may come back to that another time...............

I suppose that means you could argue that I have not really finished Thing 4, but I have gained much from it, and for the time being, that is good enough for me.

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Brand that is.........cripes, ME? Really?

I read Thing 3, and the attached articles with a mix of dread, interest, denial and then acceptance. I know from my own experience that when you apply for a job, the first thing any HR person or interviewer will do is Google you. I have had a Linked In account for months, but it had virtually no information about me until I looked again at it because of 23 Things. I then discovered that my (empty) profile had been viewed a number of times by those who interviewed me for a position I applied for. That empty profile (now amended) could not have made a good impression.

However, I'm first and foremost a Librarian. Sales and Marketing, especially of "me", don't sit comfortably on my shoulders, hence the dread and denial.

I attended a lms supplier open day recently, when a major part of the company's presentation was about how to use their software to market your services more effectively. The cynic in me thought "well, they are watching libraries close, downsize, cut services, hence their potential market place shrink as a consequence, therefore it is in their interests that as a profession, we sell ourselves and our services better". Whilst this maybe true, it is also right that we learn how to effectively sell our services to our customers and clients, but also to our fund holders and bill payers, and use whatever means and statistics we have at out disposal to do this.  Hence the acceptance.

So, what about the interest? There's clearly no right way to market yourself - approaches vary between individuals, some who keep their professional and private online presence separate and some who merge the two, to greater or lesser degrees.  It has taken me a while to write this blog about Thing 3 because I have taken the time to consider other peoples experiences and musings on what they have done. But most importantly, I felt I needed a better understanding of the tools I could use to create my "brand" before I settled on the approach I hoped would be right for me. I have made sure my Linked In Profile is updated and have slowly and gingerly added contacts. I have looked in more depth at Twitter, and considered this blog. The name is not ideal for a professional presence or brand. But I created it at the request of 23 Things, and as it is to be for learning and reflecting on my cpd23 progress, I am happy to live with this for now, and maybe create a more professional blog "brand" in the future.

Name is the big problem. In the sixties, my parents did not have the foresight to gift me a name with obvious 21st century brand potential, unlike's parents. Pity.

Still, I'll wait. Inspiration may strike. When, and if, it does, I'll let you know.