#cpd23 Thing 6 – Online Communities

For this post, I will focus on LinkedIn and LISNPN, as I have spoken about Twitter in previous cpd23 posts, and I don’t use Facebook as a professional network (though I do follow some libraries on it, such as The British Library and the Bodleian).

LinkedIn

I set up a new profile, and the next day the LinkedIn leaked passwords were all over the news. So not the greatest of starts!

Currently I only have my library work experience on my profile, but I will be adding more to it when I get a bit of time. I also tried importing my CV, which seemed to work well, with some slight formatting issues, so this might be a good way to fill out my skills, interests etc.

To be honest though, I don’t feel I will be using LinkedIn for the groups. I don’t feel it offers much that I don’t already get from other sources. However, I will be keeping my profile, as LinkedIn generally ranks highly in Google search results, and as such offers a guaranteed professional image if someone were to Google me.

LISNPN

The LIS New Professionals Network is a great idea, as it gives a place for us all to come together. Though, I must admit, I do not use it to its full potential.

I found the anonymous Library School reviews very useful when applying for Masters courses, but I don’t tend to utilise the forum features. I am more of a lurker, which I imagine is the case for the majority of its users.

I’m going to try to use it more. I think I’ve been quite lucky in that my first proper library role was as a trainee at Oxford, where there were about 20 or so of us – a ready-made network and support structure! If I had been more isolated when starting out, and perhaps this will be the case in my first professional role after library school, LISNPN would be very useful for connecting with other new professionals and sharing ideas.

Online networks I don’t currently use…

  • Google+ – haven’t tried it, because I haven’t heard great things about its privacy settings. Perhaps I’ll give it a go in the future, but right now I’m in no hurry.
  • Pinterest – I do use Pinterest, a sort of online mood board where you ‘pin’ things from around the internet to various boards devoted to a subject. For example, I have a Recipes to make board. I find it useful for collating recipes, but I definitely don’t use it for networking, and I’m not sure whether libraries need to be on it (NB I found this article which discusses libraries using Pinterest). I think a focused social media strategy that concentrates on a few tools is far more effective than one which tries to keep up with the flavour of the month, perhaps to the detriment of quality.
    But in terms of my own social networking? No, I won’t use Pinterest for that. I enjoy it, but I see it as quite flippant and fluffy!

One last thing…

23. Summarise your thoughts on the 23 Things @ Oxford programme
 

I started the 23 Things programme back in February, and  I am quite pleased with how it has gone. The web tools I have experienced as part of the programme are: 

  • iGoogle

    Word cloud from wordle.net

  • Blogging
  • RSS feeds & readers
  • FlickR & Picnik
  • Delicious
  • Podcasting & Youtube
  • Facebook & LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Wikis
  • Google Documents & ThinkFree Office
  • Widgets

I think the most useful of these, and the ones I am likely to keep using in the future, are blogging, Twitter, Google Docs, and perhaps the iGoogle page.

I think a blog is a great way to keep track of what you’ve been up to, and to be reflective about it too. Blogging about these Things has helped me get the confidence to start blogging properly; if I feel I don’t have anything interesting to say, I can fall back on doing the next Thing on the list! (Perhaps I’ll start doing 23cpd just to carry this safety net on!)

The same can be said of Twitter, really. I used it before, but not nearly to the extent I do now. As for Google Docs, I can see it being very handy indeed for group work during my MA.

It has been interesting to compare my thoughts and views of the web tools with the other trainees, and to read back over the past participant’s blogs too. I think at the start I was expecting to know everything straight away about the tools, but I actually learned a lot of new useful information about them. I’m glad I took part, as even if I don’t use all of them that often, at least I have a ground knowledge of them, and will recognise when they might just be the perfect thing to use.

Thing 14: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking site, but for connecting with other people in a professional context.
 
 
Explore http://learn.linkedin.com/ and sign up for LinkedIn
 
Signing up to LinkedIn follows a similar process to most social networking sites – Name, email, password etc, so that was pretty straightforward.
 
You can add various bits of information to your profile, including your current and past employment and education, as well as links to your website/blog and Twitter profile. Essentially the idea is an interactive CV hosted online.
 
An interesting box on the profile is the Contact Settings, where you can let other users know what you want from the site:  career opportunities, job inquiries, reference requests, getting back in touch, etc.
 
I have added a few details to my profile, and here’s how it looks so far:
 
 
It’s kind of ugly with ads down the right hand side, and especially since I don’t have any contacts!
 
I don’t particularly like LinkedIn, but I can’t quite pin down why. I think I’m uncomfortable with my details being on the site, when I won’t be using it to find a job or network.
 
 
Facebook and LinkedIn
 
It’s strange that I should feel uncomfortable with this site, since it’s designed to be professional, whereas I’m happy to announce on Facebook everything from my current mood to what I happen to be tucking into for dinner. That being said, I am careful what I choose to post to Facebook, and I also keep my privacy settings quite high.
 
A person could easily have accounts on both sites, which are intended for very different reasons. Many people have separate Twitter accounts for this very reason – a personal and a professional account. It’s important to keep social and work life separate, especially on the internet where you have no idea who might be viewing your profile.
 
Today, most job vacancies are posted on the internet, and I guess it makes sense to host a CV there too. However, it being for professional eyes, it is vital to keep it up to date. Not using LinkedIn before, I doubt I would do that. It’s an interesting concept, but I don’t think I’ll be using it in future, and will probably delete my profile shortly after the 23 Things are over.