Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Thing 6: Online Networks


I've had a LinkedIn profile for some time, but it was only recently that I realised I needed to make more of this resource by joining the groups. I've found these really useful for keeping up to date with conversations in the professional community. However, I'm still lurking and am yet to contribute and actually post a comment. There's time.


I've made quite a deliberate choice to keep my professional and personal life separate. Working in a specialist library where access to social media is very limited, I don't use this in a professional capacity to connect with my customers, and neither do I include in it work colleagues that I am friends with. For me, this is only about keeping in contact with family oversea's, and sharing photo's and snippets of news with people I rarely see in person.


I stumbled across this site via Twitter and am still very new to the community. I like the way it loosely brings together self-defined 'new information professionals' that may neither be 'new' or 'professional'. (I use the term 'professional' in quotes because I believe that although someone may not have a qualification or be chartered, they may still have a professional attitude towards their job - high quality work, professional ethics, specialist and technical skills, etc.). I wish I'd stumbled across it earlier in my career, as I can see it's value for sharing idea's and experiences. Reading through the forums, I found several forum discussions that related to my current concerns.

Following the demise of LISSPS (Library and Information Students and Prospective Students), an old List-serv that was hosted by UKOLN to support discussions among students, prospective students and recent graduates) this seems to provide a much more fluid and complete online environment in which to share experiences and ask questions. It's definitely on my list of sites to return to.

Cilip Communities

I gleefully signed up to Cilip Communities when it was initially launched and still in it's developmental stage. And then I hit a problem. When I had signed up to the Cilip site many years before, I'd used a login name that I shared with various other resources - some of them in a personal capacity. Cilip Communities then made that login my profile name. I was horrified. It had never intended to be a 'public username'. So, my input into Cilip Communities vanished. I stuck a toe in every now and then, but it seemed like a confusing place, with sections I didn't understand. It felt very formal, with many names I recognised from within the profession and I was hesitant to add my voice. For me, it felt like I didn't have a place. 

I revisited Cilip Communities as part of Thing 6. First step. Attempt to change my login name. Hurrah. Success. Now everyone can identify me by my full and correct birth name. Only my mother uses this. It's usually when I'm in trouble. I'd rather a half-way house, and  by able to chose my own name, rather than the formal name I provide Cilip on my membership form each year, but it will do. Having a look around, it still seems like quite a bewildering place. The home page is full of comments from an 'anonymous poster', linking to blogs that don't seem to reflect my interests, or even my locality, and the Cilip Members Landscape blog is just overwhelming. Is this really useful? Checking a few of the blogs from Cilip staff, it's fairly noticeable that some are more prolific than others - and some are clearly out of date. As if posting in a blog is something they only do three times a year when reminded.

That and I was just irritated by the american date standard. But maybe that's something I can change in my own settings. For now though, I've hastily retreated.

The forums didn't fare any better. Discussions seemed to have few replies. It didn't seem very active. I'm painfully aware that it's individuals like me that change that.

For me, I don't have space for Google+ right now. I'm part of it because it feels like I ought to know what it's about, how it works and to understand it's strengths and weaknesses. But I'm more and more bothered by Google monopolizing my online space, and my personal information. It already access to my search habits and my email. I'm just not sure it needs to know even more about me. Too many of my eggs in a Google basket.

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