CPD23 2011 Thing 6 – Online Networks

What I had to say about online networks in 2011 – 

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I love online networking, I think I may be addicted!

For me it all started way back in 2004 when I started posting in TV fan forums, I am pleased to report that I have outgrown that phase now. However a group of us who “met” on one these forums back in 2006 have created our own private, invitation only forum where we still pop in regularly to chat. We know each other well now and meet in person regularly, it feels like a nice safe and private place to be.

Looking at the specific sites mentioned in Thing 6 I am very active on some of them, others not so –

LinkedIn
I have been on LinkedIn for a few years now but never bothered with it that much until recently when work started encouraging us to use it. Since then I have beefed out my profile a little (though it still needs work as I mentioned in Things 3 on personal branding), added a professional looking photo and linked one of my Twitter accounts to it. I have also made a big effort to add more connections. So why do I use LinkedIn? I am not looking for a job at the moment but in this financial climate you never know what might happen so it does no harm to be prepared and ready just in case the worst does happen. I have also found LinkedIn to be a useful resource for finding out information about people. For example the lawyers sometimes ask us to put together information about a new client or the guests at a dinner they are going to etc, by connecting to lots of lawyers at the firm I am now connected to over 100,000 people many of whom are exactly the people our lawyers are likely to be meeting and socialising with, this is a valuable extra source of information.

Facebook
I have mixed feelings about Facebook, I am on there and I do have lots of friends on it and I do post regularly but then there are all the privacy issues that Facebook regularly throws at us. So on Facebook I don’t say where I live, work or went to school and university. I have also hidden my date of birth and email address and I only friend people I genuinely know, either from real life or well established connections from other online networking sites. Apart from one word game I have deleted all the apps from my account, I don’t want third-party developers getting hold of my personal information. These days I really only use Facebook to share photos and to keep in touch with friends and family who live far away. I am connected with a fair number of people I work with so I am careful about which photos of me are tagged and what I say in my status updates, though as I never do anything too outrageous there shouldn’t be a problem anyway. I think it’s a good thing to have fun and it does no harm to be seen having fun when appropriate! For me Facebook is about the fun side of life.

LISPN
I follow LISPN on Twitter but I have decided not to join the network as I am definitely not a new professional, I have been working in law libraries for 16 years now (ouch, I am old (well middle-aged maybe)) and to be honest I have enough other networks to try to keep up to date with. I did however encourage the girl I recently mentored through Chartership to join and I know she has been finding it a valuable resource in difficult times.

CILIP Communities
I am signed up for this but I very rarely check the forums and I have posted even less frequently. I think it’s just too many steps to sign in and see it, much easier to look at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn on my phone!

There are of course other places for online networking –

SLLG and BIALL
Both the Scottish Law Librarians Group and the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians have forums, wikis and email lists for sharing with colleagues. I am an irregular user of them all, mainly when I have a problem and need help quickly. I do try to reciprocate and give help when I can.

Twitter
I tweet too much rubbish from one of my accounts and not enough good stuff from the other. I still love Twitter though and having it on my phone is amazing.

I conclude this post as I started it, I love online networking and can’t imagine my professional or personal lives without it. I have made many useful professional contacts through Twitter, and some good friends from way back in the original days of TV fan forums and giggled over photos on Facebook.

I didn’t get an invitation to join Google+ but once it’s open to all I will have a nosy around and establish a presence there and wait and see how that develops and what I can do with it.

CPD23 2012 Thing 4 – Current Awareness revisited

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Twitter

If anything since 2011 I have become an even heavier user of Twitter than I was then!

I still have two accounts and although some people follow both I use them for very different purposes.  My first account is a protected account and mainly I use it for fun and for information in non-work related areas.  This is usually the account I tweet from in the evening or at the weekend.  This account is protected as it’s more personal so I want to chose who can see it. I don’t want companies following it and I am wary of work colleagues seeing it (not because I am talking about them, just because it’s my private life!).

I also tweet as @lmrlib from an open account; I consider this account to be my professional account and I generally only tweet from here during the working day.  This is an open account as I do want people to read it, it’s part of my online brand.  I follow librarians, legal publishers, law societies and anyone else that tweets information relevant to someone working as a librarian for a commercial law firm in the UK.  The tweets I send from this account also follow this and I try hard to make sure anything I tweet from here reflects well on me professionally and also on the firm I work for.  This is the account I will use if I join in #UKLibchat etc.  I am quite excited to see that my account made the CPD23 list for special libraries!

To make using Twitter easier, especially managing more than one account, I have found various apps to be very useful.  I use Tweetdeck on my laptop at home as it allows me to set up columns for each account and also for the lists I have created within each account.  After a couple of incidents  where I accidentally tweeted from the wrong account on my phone I set up a second app, one for each account to avoid any further incidents of inappropriate tweeting!  I particularly like using twicca on my phone as it allows me to colour code people so I can really quickly check my twitter stream to see if they have tweeted recently. At work I am only accessing my professional account so I am quite happy just to use the web version, or of course to tweet a news story from the website I found it on which is a very quick way to share something.

RSS

As I said in my Thing 2 post I use Google Reader to follow RSS feeds, mainly I follow blogs.  I do also have a couple of bookshop feeds set up as well so I don’t miss new editions of textbooks.

In 2011 I mentioned using RSS feeds to distribute information to the lawyers at work, this project has only really got started in the last few weeks.  We will be using the Linex Smart Alerts product and I am at the stage of creating the alerts, RSS feeds are used to get the information into Smart Alerts and then out again onto our intranet.  Using RSS feeds in this way should allow us to dramatically extend the coverage of our current awareness service by automating much of the process of finding and distributing the information.

Storify

I’m not sure if it’s down today or it’s the strict firewall at work but I can’t access this at the moment so I’ll try it at home this evening

CPD23 2011 Thing 4 – current awareness

Here is what I had to say about current awareness in 2011 –

I start this post with an apology that I have devoted no time at all to Thing 4 except the few minutes to write this.

Twitter
I am already a heavy user of Twitter with two accounts. You will see tweets from my more professionally based account (@lmrlib) attached to this blog. I also tweet (mainly nonsense) from a protected account which I am sure some of you may also (be silly enough to) follow. I find Twitter an invaluable source of information of all sorts, for example the weather in Edinburgh is horrendous this afternoon so I am keeping an eye on tweets from @onlothianbuses to find out about bus diversions caused by flooding. It’s a great way to network, I am now in contact with a wider group of information professionals than I could ever have been through real life networking. It’s also a bit addictive!

RSS
As the person in charge of current awareness for the firm I spend a lot of time finding relevant RSS feeds and distributing them to the lawyers via the intranet and our current awareness bulletin. This is something which will only increase with time as I aim to automate more of the process. For my own personal current awareness I have set up RSS feeds via Google Reader from a variety of sources including BIALL, The Lawyer, On Firmer Ground and several of the blogs of people involved in CPD23.

Pushnote
I haven’t tried this, I am unable to access it at work and have been just too busy to try it at home. To be honest at the moment I can’t find much to attract me to it from the description but if someone can persuade me otherwise I will give it a go when I have more time.

I never did give Pushnote a try and I still can’t access it at work, maybe I’ll take a look when I get home this evening