(a) an evaluative statement using three (3) experiences documented in your OLJ as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject.
Through this semester I have been keeping an online learning journal as part of my INF206 Social Networking for Information Professionals class. I have chosen three blog posts that I wish to explore and evaluate further as part of the learning process.
I was apprehensive about the whole second life experience so knew that participating in and writing about any Second Life (SL) adventures I would have to make sure my professional hat was on tightly. However my blog post about this reflected on the humorous, professional and personal side of my thoughts. Although I would not actively use this technology outside of the workplace, I was able to recognise that participating in this virtual world revolves around being a community member of a gaming environment (O’Connell, 2010).
I concluded that SL is indeed a useful tool for the Information Industry, and could be used for staff for training and various other opportunities. In my blog post I overlooked mentioning the benefit SL would have for clients, particularly for people who are virtually minded, with the potential for reaching teens due to the social appeal that SL has for this age group (Czarnecki & Gullett, 2007, para. 3). This demonstrated to me my lack of knowledge on the subject and it was not until I went to listen to Ellen Forsyth talk about gaming in libraries that I truly understood how gaming environments could be used for services within the Information Industry.
Overall my blog post on SL demonstrated an understanding that there are many ways to provide information services to different types of users, therefore exploring an unfamiliar technology has the potential to be beneficial to your workplace and is worth evaluating and reflecting on.
Post 2 – Bottle Up The Inspiration
The ‘Building Academic Library 2.0” video that featured Meredith Farkas was a turning point for me professionally because of her drive, passion and knowledge of Social networks; and the blog post I wrote on this took key points from Merediths talk and related these back to the library environment.
The point that stood out to me most was getting to know your clients which involves going where your users are going to further understand what their information needs are (Farkas, 2007). My biggest reflection was on keeping current with Web 2.0 technologies and I proceeded to explain how beneficial it is to keep current so that as Information Professionals we are maintaining knowledge and understanding of Social media. This engagement helps with the understanding the fundamentals of a networked society and encourages awareness of the issues that exist in the networked world. While the sheer volume and ways in which we can connect and keep current with clients can be overwhelming, Cavazza (2008, para. 10) reminds us not to panic because there is still a lot of growth to be had in social media, and the journey will continue.
In this blog post I was able to discuss and recognise where my workplace is in its early stages of implementing Social Networking and understand further what can be considered to make the journey smoother and how policies aid in the communication, currency and limitations that clients and staff have. Overall, in Google generation where information and networks are easily accessible, understanding where clients are going, knowing current technologies and finding ways to communicate better with clients is the key to being inclusive and reaching clients in a non-obtrusive way (Luther, 2003, para. 3).
I had great expectations of what Delicious could bring to the Information Industry and how having portable bookmarks meant accessing links anywhere. While Delicious does create opportunities to share online resources such as articles, videos and pictures, collaborating with peers this does not always indicate a value-added service and I believe and expressed in my blog post that am not totally convinced of its usability (O’Connell, 2011).
The main area that deterred me was the abilities of searching for users, this was an area I had great expectations for as a social networker so felt like my social networking needs were not being met in this area. Chapman (2009, para. 9) suggests making it easy for friends to find you on Social Networks and so not being able to find my peers easily did not improve my experience on Delicious. I also did not find the colour of the interface appealing, and while I recognised that this could be considered fussy I am also aware that the interface is an important component to the user experience and can determine whether a user explores further (Hearst, 2009, para. 66).
Regardless of my personal Social Networking opinion I recognised that as a tool for the workplace it was worth exploring so created an account and explored further. From my exploration I acknowledged how sharing links between peers and the rest of the world is a great way to work collaboratively with others, helps free up the bookmarks on work computers and keeps track of links for staff that use multiple computers in the workplace.
Since writing the blog post there have been changes to Delicious that make it even less appealing to use as a Social Networker and Information Professional, hence my change over to Diigo. Deliciously satisfying….definitely not.
(b) a reflective statement on your development as a social networker as a result of studying INF206, and the implications for your development as an information professional.
Social media enables people to establish connections with networks of communities on mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Diigo, SecondLife, blogs and are only just a few of the networks available to users (Dickson & Holley, 2010, p. 468). When I initially started this subject I stated in my first post that I had considered myself a big user of social media such as those listed above, that is until my first week when I learnt I was not as knowledgeable on the subject as I had initially thought.
Throughout this semester I have learnt how social media technologies are not just about recreation but offer a realm of opportunities to outreach beyond the typical library building and are effective marketing and communication tools (Dickson & Holley, 2010, p. 477). Simple techniques such as Tweets and Facebook messages about events, highlighting new items and asking for client input into services; Meebo chatting for reference librarian help, and YouTube videos promoting ideas and entertainment. This excites me, knowing that connections are being made to clients beyond the library building.
I have also experienced new social media throughout this semester which are now a daily part of my life that I would like to extend into the workplace. I tried Delicious and it failed to entice me, but Diigo is more user friendly because of ease of use, an appealing interface and the availability of a host of other options. Scoopit has become my favourite way to curate information and I have found many networks that not only give me access to information professionally but personally also.
I have also participated in Second Life which was not something I would have participated outside of this subject and consequently gave me insight into other approaches for connecting with clients. As an extension to this I attended a talk on how gaming can be used in libraries which also provided me with further knowledge on how a non-traditional library resource can be used to share information and connect with clients. It is experiences such as these that have encouraged me to approach social media open minded, however I am also able to look at such tools more critically as I have been evaluating them throughout this subject.
There were two defining moments for me as information professional during this learning process, discovering the existence of Merideth Farkas – such an inspiring, driven professional and reading a blog post by Andy Burkhardt about why libraries should be on Social Media. Andy’s blog post (2009, para. 6) defining statement was the very last line ”[why] shouldn’t libraries be on social media?” This has stayed with me and has challenged me to share my new found knowledge with other professionals, particularly within my own workplace where there is little interaction with social media. The Statement also challenges me to consider the possible social media tools for use in my workplace and for me as a professional.
The course work for INF206 was engaging. I constantly wanted to delve into the information but found I needed to pause and reflect on learning. I particularly enjoyed using Facebook and Twitter as forms of communication with my peers rather than the traditional forum. Using these mediums certainly helped me delve into using Social Media and encouraged me to be more active in information sharing by consistently sharing links and information via twitter and Facebook with my peers and other information specialists from around the world. Writing the blog however was more of a challenge, it did not come naturally to me and I gained more out of sharing information through Scoopit, Twitter, Facebook and Diigo than trying to write in a way that was engaging to people into my blog post.
From my understanding of Social Media in that first week until now I feel that I have been stretched as an information professional and have gained a greater understanding and awareness of social media as a tool for connecting with clients within the information industry. These experiences and interactions and new found knowledge only set to push me further as an Information Professional. It is with confidence that I can go into my workplace and effectively share with other staff just how connected we can become with clients in a way that best suits their needs. I also recognise that living in a connected society and with the fast pace of technology and networks that keeping informed and current with be part of the continual learning process.
Burkhardt, A. (2009). Four reasons libraries should be on social media. Retrieved October 8, 2011 from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/
Cavazza, F. (2008). Social Media Landscapes. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from http://www.fredcavazza.net/2008/06/09/social-media-landscape/
Czarnecki, K. & Gullett, M. (2007). In teen Second Life, Librarians can leap tall buildings in a single bound and save kids from boring assignments all before lunch. In Meet the New You. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6403251.html
Chapman, C. (2009). Social Network Design: Examples and Best Practices. In Smashing Magazine. Retrieved October 9, 2011 from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social-network-design-examples-and-best-practices/
Dickson, A. & Holley, R.P. (2010). Social networking in academic libraries: the possibilities and the concerns. New World Library, 111(11/12), 468-479. doi: 10.1108/03074801011094840
Farkas, M. (2007), Building an Academic Library 2.0, Viewed 28 August, 2011, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI
Hearst, M. A. (2009). The Design of search user interfaces. In Search User Interfaces. Retrieved October 1, 2010 from http://searchuserinterfaces.com/book/sui_ch1_design.html#section_1.11
Luther, J. (2003), Metasearch promises to give patrons one-stop access to the many and various resources at the heart of the library digital collection, In Library Journal. Retrieved October 8, 2011, from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA322627.html
O’Connell, J. (2011). Social Networking for Information Professionals [INF206 Module 2.0]. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from Charles Sturt University Website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF206_201160_W_D/page/dfa15b00-4c74-4f2f-00c3-9babed9a140a