Thing 12: Putting the social into social media

I’ve read back over my posts on Twitter and online networking and I think I pretty much covered the spirit of Thing 12 in them, i.e. emphasisng the importance of the social aspect and discussing the balance between what you put in and what you get out. However, circumstances have changed since then so there is scope for an update.

When I wrote about Twitter before, I had two accounts – one of my own and one for Jordanhill Library. The Library is now closed and I have left the university. After a bit of lobbying on my part, @JordanhillLib morphed into @StrathLibHaSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) and continues with another tweeter. I’ve found my own use of Twitter has changed as a result. At the end of Thing 4 I resolved to share more, but I now scan Twitter less and tweet less too – probably because I’m no longer looking for links to share with the students and haven’t yet found a new role. Conversely, my use of Facebook has gone up, admittedly from almost zero. This was one of my resolutions at the end of Thing 6, because most of my (now-ex) colleagues use it and I thought it would be one good way of keeping in contact. So far it’s working, and you can’t get more social than staying in touch with your friends.

However, “social” doesn’t just apply to individuals. Here’s an anecdote from the weekend which illustrates (I think) the benefits of social media to organisations – if they use them well by being responsive and not just using them as bulletin boards. We visited the National Galleries of Scotland’s new exhibition, Van Gogh to Kandinsky: symbolist landscape in Europe 1880-1910. On Saturday evening, I tweeted about how much we’d enjoyed it, but wondered why you had to pay more to gift aid your ticket money. When I looked at Twitter again on Sunday morning, there was a reply and a short discussion took place – it’s something to do with HMRC’s requirements for charity apparently, but that’s not the point. Whoever tweets for the National Galleries was on the ball enough to monitor Twitter over the weekend and reply to queries. (This might sound an obvious thing to do but, believe me, there are other organisations I have tweeted and never got an acknowledgement at all.) As a result, I feel very well disposed towards the galleries and tweeted again:

This they then retweeted – good publicity or not? I think it is, and if you are ever in Edinburgh I urge you to visit the exhibition. Finally, it also proves that I can still remember how to embed a tweet as learned in Thing 4!

Thing 6: Online networks (with added cake)

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Now, excuse the gratuitous cake shot. I know librarians love cake, but I also know that cake has nothing to do with online networking. However, it does explain why my mind has been on other things recently with little room for even the one network that I do use regularly, Twitter. My library closed on Friday, but I’ll come back to that at the end.

I find it hard to imagine the effort involved in belonging to a variety of networks and actually keeping up. I understand that people use them for different things but I’ve always found Twitter enough. This might have to change though. I did sign up to Facebook a while back because, I think, of something you had to like to enter a competition. So I have this sparse little page without a picture and no friends! When I leave my job I will have time to tart it up and use it properly – many of my soon-to-be former colleagues use it a lot and it will be a good way to keep up with them. I’ve often thought of signing up to LinkedIn too, but somehow never got round to that either. Again, if I want to keep up my library contacts it might be a good idea to do that soon. So those are my resolutions for Thing 6: sort myself out with Facebook and LinkedIn.

Of the other networks mentioned in the cpd23 blog, I don’t have any need for LISNPN or LATN and the only thing I’ve used CILIP Communities for is to fill out my mentor profile. I can’t see that there’s much going on there. Google seems like the new kid trying too hard to be liked – they’ve had Buzz and Wave and now Google+, and I’m still not sure that one is going to turn into the next big thing as I think they’d like. I love Pinterest, but I don’t really see that as a social network, although I am interested in what other people pin. It’s great for storing recipes which I can then take into the kitchen on my iPad. (Who am I kidding? I’ve never actually made one of them but they look nice!)

And that brings me back full circle to the library and the cake. I had the brilliant idea of making a commemorative Pinterest board: Farewell Jordanhill Library. And harking back to Thing 4, I also Storified our last day. Sad times!