Tag Archives: Twitter

Thing 4: getting to grips with Twitter, RSS and Storify

24 May

This weeks Thing is about exploring online tools that can be used to keep up with all the exciting things happening in the library universe. While I’ve been using Twitter and RSS feeds for some time, I really don’t think I’m getting the most out of them and I had heard of Storify but not yet had a play around with it.

CC Image courtesy of toolmantim on Flickr

Twitter

I signed up to Twitter in August 2010, the motivating factor being that it was a form of social media that wasn’t blocked at my then-job at a contact centre. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and it was no use to me whatsoever – all of my friends were on Facebook and I wasn’t in a job that I wanted to pursue as a career.

It wasn’t until I start my graduate traineeship that I started to realise the potential that Twitter held for me. Over the last few months I’ve been trying (with mixed success) to use it for networking and sharing ideas. But there are a couple of issues that I’ve still yet to get over:

  • Twitter is all a bit scary. In between the RTs, MTs, DMs, etc. it’s hard to know what you’re looking at and who said it. With hashtags and links all over the shop, some tweets can be plain bewildering.
  • Most people I follow on Twitter, I don’t actually know in real life, so it is intimidating to address them directly. My problem is that I tweet as if I’m talking to myself – I find it hard to get involved in conversations and shy away from “interrupting” other people’s Twitter dicussions.
  • Everything moves so fast on Twitter. A couple of hours ago seems like ancient history on the Twitter timeline. The immediacy of it is great if you want a question answered quickly but it can often leave me feeling like I’ve missed an opportunity. Take the other night, I scrolled right down on my timeline and saw lots of fun tweets for #replaceonewordwithlibrarian. Scroll back up and it appeared I had missed the party. Although I’m sure noone would have been too offended if I joined in a little late, I felt too shy to.

Don’t get me wrong, Twitter is a fantastic tool and all of the worries I have about it are actually its strengths: it’s brief, fast and effective. I need to get over my own false perceptions and issues and get stuck in, start conversations and get involved. I’m so scared of breaking some kind of ‘twitiquette’ that I operate in an isolated little bubble and I’m not getting the most out of the medium.

Even though it’s aimed at using Twitter for libaries not librarians, I found this slide-deck by LibMarketing really useful in highlighting common mistakes. Also, Phil Bradley has a list of resources on Twitter for librarians , some of which are a bit dated, but I’ve found incredibly helpful to jump in and out of.

RSS

 I’ve dabbled in RSS in the past, I had a nice feed going for news a year or so ago, but again it’s something that I’m not using to it’s full potential. First stop in my efforts to get a handle on RSS feeds is to Google Reader and I’m already signed in with my Google account so I just click the orange ‘Subscribe’  button and start searching for blogs that I read regularly. Once I’m up and running, I can add the feed to my Firefox bookmarks toolbar and just click on it to have all the latest posts from sites I’m subscribed to.

Since I’m using WordPress for this blog I’ve been following others that way and using the WordPress reader. RSS seems like a more universal way of bringing the things I’m interested in together. I’ll certainly be using this much more in future.

Storify

This is something I’ve heard mentioned and seen briefly but not actually played around with myself. As a little test, I signed up and created this here Storify about the #replaceonewordwithlibrarian game on Twitter I mentioned earlier. Obviously because I was searching for something that only happened on Twitter, this isn’t a particularly good example of how to get the most out of this tool as you can bring in stories from a wide range of sources. I did find an article on the Huffington Post website and a Facebook link related to the story though (check out the amazing photos on the Greene County Public Libraries Facebook page, what a great idea!).

One thing that I have learnt from this little experiment is that you can only search 150 of the most recent related tweets. Since I was making it this morning, I missed out on a lot of Tweets from when the game was in full swing. Other than that, Storify was really easy to use. Hopefully I’ll have something meaningful to make a Storify about in the future.

I didn’t got around to playing with Scoop.it  or Paper.li but those are some more social media tools I hope to get to grips with soon.

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Thing 3: Me, me, me

23 May

I was intrigued to get going with ‘Thing 3’ after listening to Ned Potter talk about personal branding at the CILIP New Professionals Day and I agree that it’s pretty much essential now that you should make efforts to affect your ‘brand’ in a positive way.

While the term “personal branding” does send a bit of a shiver down my spine (it makes me think of shouty people in pin-stripe suits…basically a contestant on the Apprentice), I do agree with the thought behind the phrase.

Having an online presence seems to now be par for the course for new professionals and even if you don’t publish anything online yourself, chances are your name will end up floating around in cyber space anyway. While you can’t control everything, I understand that it’s important to try and take charge of what you can.

CC image courtesy of botgirlq on Flickr.

I want the results that come up if someone searches online for my name to represent me in a positive and fairly professional light. Performing a couple of quick Google searches was quite interesting. Most of the results are me in a more professional capacity – my LinkedIn profile, my ‘library’ twitter account, contacts page from work and a blog post I wrote for the ARLIS students & trainees blog. I was confused why this blog didn’t turn up in any of the results. Then I realised I’ve been going by both Jennifer and Jen for the last few years.

A search with ‘Jen’ threw up different results: my ‘personal’ twitter account (which is private) is top and this blog is the 4th entry. It was interesting how some sites, like LinkedIn, still featured quite high on the results even though I only use the full version of my name on it.

It’s something that I never really thought about – even though I’m using my proper name, I’m not being consistent enough which means the ‘me’ that is represented online is pretty dependent on which form of my name people search with.

This is something I should probably really need to sort out but I’m not quite sure how. I prefer ‘Jen’ (and it’s much quicker to type) but when I do anything vaguely official, I call myself ‘Jennifer’. Now, as a budding information professional I should really know more about how search engines work. So I’ve set myself the task of finding out more about them and hopefully this will provide a solution of how to bring all the things that I want to come up in a search for me, to come up no matter which form of my name is used.

In terms of a visual brand, I feel like I’m still coming up with that. I use the same photo for my library twitter and this blog which is pretty casual and not related to libraries (for anyone that’s interested, it’s me at Slope Point, the  southernmost point on the South Island of New Zealand which I’m sure no-one but me has ever bothered to go to). In the future I’d like to have a photo that people can more easily identify from me at events, and I’d also like some kind of exciting and distinctive visual “feel” to this blog. However, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I know these are the kind of things I’ll spend hours agonizing over, so I’m waiting until some amazing ideas hit me.

I feel that there’s a lot of things that I’m working on with my personal brand. It’d be great to get straight out of the blocks and have a fantastic, distinctive online presence and be clear from the start what my “brand” was, but for me I think it’s going to evolve over time. I’m still finding my feet both as a new professional and as a blogger, I’m not going to have some ready-made online presence that shows succinctly who I am and what I’m interested in, I don’t even know myself! I feel that until I know what direction I’m heading in, I can only try my best and hope that the image of myself that I’m putting out there is not too jumbled.

Lots of things to think about from this activity and I hope to have a ‘Thing 3’ update not too far in the future. Please feel free to post a comment – let me know what you think about my “brand” so far or how I can sort out the Jen/Jennifer search situation, or just say hi. I’m not picky.