Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Thing 12 - Social media as a networking tool

This week is all about looking at social media as a networking tool.  Advantages of which, as set out by the CPD23 team, include;
• social networking can lead to better communication between individuals who may or may not have the chance to meet otherwise
• it creates a more collaborative working space as people are encouraged to share ideas
• it aids in building online communities, which can then turn into real-life communities.
• social networking can provide easy access to other fields of the profession.

So this week we are being asked to consider the following;
Are there any other advantages to social networking in the context of professional development than those already outlined above?  Promotion, promotion, promotion!  You can use your involvement in social networking sites as evidence that you are engaging with the library sector, and that you are willing to join in the conversation.  It's possible to pursue aspects of your career that are of interest, but not necessarily part of your day to day job or get involved with online campaigns.  A blog can be used to showcase your knowledge or skills in a particular area, which in turn could lead to opportunities that may not otherwise have come your way.

Can you think of any disadvantages? A lot of people have pointed out how difficult it can be to gauge a person when only corresponding online, and I think this is true.  Because I’m still relatively new to social media I spend a lot of time looking over what I’ve written before posting, worrying about whether it sounds they way I want it to, and whether it could be misconstrued.  Words on a screen can’t always convey meaning the way we intended.  Without the ability to show my facial expressions, body language or hear the tone of my voice I find it more nerve-racking trying to express myself.

Has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally? Yes, it’s been fantastic how CPD23 has been taken up by people in so many different library spheres and different countries.  It would be highly unlikely I would have contact with many of them if it wasn’t for taking part in this course.  Conversely, it’s also helped me get in contact with people I should have already been in touch with but for some reason had so far failed to make proper connections with.

Did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? To be honest I was only just starting to look at social media as a method of career development when CPD23 began.  I’d joined LISNPN and was making my first attempts at networking on my own initiative, so it felt like perfect timing when I heard about the course.

Will you keep using it after the programme has finished? This is the point that I feel is most pertinent.  I will be interested to see if there will be a drop off in social media networking by new converts (such as myself) once the CPD23 things have been finished.    

In your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?  Yes definitely, I've found the general vibe amongst library folk on Twitter etc. to be very supportive, if you are just starting out in your profession, it can be very nice to know people are out there rooting for you.

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