I’m a big fan of social media for both personal and professional uses. I am certainly a Facebook addict (although I’ve managed to avoid getting hooked into too many silly games) and it drives me mad when friends refuse to join because they’re worried about the Big Brother society or similiar reasons. I’ve never really analysed it before, but at the end of the day, they’re all methods of sharing information which is probably why I enjoy using them so much. I am aware of my privacy settings however!
Professionally, social media has helped me stay feeling connected to other librarians and other types of libraries. As a solo librarian, I think that’s particularly important if only to stop yourself going completely mad… I’m enjoying reading tweets from people I met at Umbrella and keeping up with how their lives (and CPD23) is going. I feel more confident about contacting them with questions because of that ongoing link than I would otherwise I think. It’s all very well having someone’s email address from the conference, but as a bit of a shy person, I wouldn’t like to bother them with a small question out of the blue. But I can ask that question on Twitter/Facebook and if they respond, great, I can ask them for more clarification and details comfortably.
Reading people’s Tweets has also made me more aware of the range of problems/programs/tasks that librarians I know are dealing with and working with. If I want to work in their sector later on, I can see that knowing about those programs, and being able to demonstrate having done similar tasks would be useful in an interview situation. I can also consider whether I could/should be doing any of those things in my workplace too.
Apparently Twitter is also helping my workplace by bringing in volunteers! A new volunteer recently said “yes, I think I’ve seen your tweets” which astounded me. I forget, when I putting these things out there, that the world at large might actually be reading them. Sounds odd I know, but I’m sure other people can relate to that! I must be careful not to rant about bad days too much…
CPD23 made me spend more time on Twitter and gave me a focus to blogging too. I also loved the real life meet up and I hope we can manage another Newcastle one soon. We also have a Mining Institute Facebook page now too and although our “likes” are small, it can still be a good way to promote events etc. Explaining the concept to some of our trustees was challenging but I might even have convinced a couple to join. (Average age = over 70)
The only possible disadvantage I can see is time. I did consider giving up Facebook at work for a week just to see if I could bear it. I only managed 2 days. I admit that I am addicted but I don’t spend hours on there and it’s largely whilst I’m listening to phonecalls/eating my lunch/drinking coffee. Everyone’s allowed a coffee break I’m sure. And it does help me professionally so I think I deserve a little time reading my news feed.
As you can guess from the paragraphs above, I will definitely keep using Facebook and Twitter after CPD23 finishes!
PS: and I did take the suggestion and follow Stephen Fry on Twitter too…