This post will cover Things 10, 11 and 12, all focussing on professional online networking. Thing 10 dealt with networking tools, and of those suggested I chose to concentrate on Twitter. I had set up Twitter accounts previously, for my businesses; rather than make another I chose to adapt one to fit. I changed the name to match this blog and set up ‘Lists’ for libraries and academia. My previous usage of Twitter had been infrequent and random, as it never felt useful. I realised after spending time on this task that the fault lay with me rather than Twitter! Once I had it set up to be more user friendly, to access accounts which are relevant to my interests, and began being more organised, it has become a tool which provides information and ideas that I can engage with. The task required us to find and follow a hashtag, so naturally I chose #rudai23, and to tweet using our choice. So far my use of Twitter hasn’t grown particularly, but I can now see the benefit of being part of the conversation, and will attempt to take part in twitter chats such as #uklibchat and #r23chat.
Thing 11 dealt with ‘Your Professional Brand’. Again, this is something that I have addressed in the past with my jewellery and holiday cottage businesses, but not in my life as a librarian; mainly because the last time I was a librarian, CD Roms were only just commonly used! This time I chose to set up a LinkedIn account; once again this is something I used to have, but I decided that in my previous roles it was unnecessary and a distraction. However, as I will be once more working in libraries in the new year I decided to set up my account and prime it, ready for action in January. It didn’t take me long to set up the account, and to fill in basic details. However, as officially I don’t yet have a job title or employer, I haven’t yet written my ‘keyword driven headline’, and I am unsure how specific to be in terms of how much detail to add regarding the last few years of self-employment, and what I want my ‘personal brand’ to be. Time will tell. I have, though, already connected with a few people relevant to my work, and can definitely see how adding information regarding skills and interests will expand a network relatively quickly.
Finally, Thing 12 discussed collaborative tools. Again, my experience of these is limited, due to being self-employed; however I do have some past experience of Google Drive from my time as a primary school governor. The head of the school I was at was very IT oriented and tried very hard to get all the governors to adapt to the new world and collaborate on policy documents, reports and results through this method, with some success. At the time the system was relatively new, but it certainly proved to me how easy it was to work with people from a distance, which was extremely useful in a situation where the group members were rarely physically in the same room. As I do not yet know which collaborative tools are used in my new workplace, I am loathe to sign up to any of the others listed in the post for Thing 12, but I am sure whichever it turns out to be it will be heavily used! I began this second part of the course a little skeptical of the notion of networking and branding, and it’s place in library work. However, I realise that most of that skepticism was based on lack of experience and fear of having a discoverable profile, and that such things are generally regarded as positive in the digital age.