Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Keeping in the Loop – Thing 4

As a Librarian I see part of my job as sharing information and helping people to access information in ways they may not have thought of or known about. Whilst saying this I have confession to make... I’m not as technologically savvy as I probably should be and as a result of this I am very cautious when it comes to social media. It took me eighteen months to set myself up on Twitter and it was only when I got a smart phone that I really began to take it seriously.

I think my problem with social media is that there are so many different websites and applications that how do you know which ones have longevity and do I have the time to sign up, update and check each one on a regular basis. At the national CDG conference in November Phil Bradley (@Philbradley) spoke about the need for Librarians and Information Professionals to stay ahead of the curve in order to advise patrons about social media and computer issues. Working in a Public Library I don’t get many questions about Twitter or LinkedIn and the most popular queries are usually setting up email accounts or finding something on Google. I understand his stressing the importance of these tools and applications but I don’t know if I want to become attached to my laptop 24/7 which is the only way I can see one being able to keep on top of everything. Does this mean that I’m not dong my job properly?

The most important thing for me in terms of social media is current awareness of the profession. Twitter is brilliant for staying in touch with campaigns and CILIP, for finding out what other people are interested in and how applications become popular. The only issue I have with things like Twitter is that to catch the next big thing you have to check in on a regular basis, this is difficult to do in my work environment as I often spend a large portion of the day away from the computer and find myself scrawling back through timelines, making notes to check things at a later date due to firewalls installed on work computers and things get missed. This is where I think RSS Feeds come into their own. They pool all the information you may want on different subjects and you can work through it at your own pace.

RSS Feeds are relatively new to me but I have found them a vital tool in keeping up to date with colleagues in the profession at a pace that I decide. The only thing I have an issue with is the unnecessary long procedure of adding things to your feed – maybe it is just me but having to cut and paste each site is a little annoying!!!! Anyway I shall stop being such a whinger and admit that RSS feeds are something I meant to sort out a long time ago but doing CPD23 has forced me to look at them properly so thank you for that... hopefully given time I’ll get more savvy and see what else is out there.

I think the main point I’m trying to make with this post is it doesn’t matter if your an Internet native or foreigner social media is not a passing fad and I, like others around me, am going to have to get used to this idea and embrace the brilliance of social media and the potential it gives us in a personal and professional capacity. 


  1. I was sort of a fan of RSS feeds before I became a hardcore convert (years of reading blogs will do that to you) but it wasn't until I started this current job that I really embraced RSS feeds. The same with Twitter - I wasn't really interested until I started Tweeting professionally. I think the thing with social networking tools is that entering with a sense of purpose and a network are the two things that make it sticky. Like Google Wave and Google+ - you can see the potential but not having enough people on there in your network means it wilts a bit.

    Oh and top tip: I really like Feedly for RSS feeds (you can also put Twitter feeds into an RSS reader too, muy useful). There is a Feedly app too and it works beautifully in-browser. Go forth and syndicate.

  2. Ooh thank you for the top tip... always needing technical help!