Toying around with online networkingPosted: July 20, 2011
Online networking has become so ingrained in my daily life that it feels a little odd to analyze how I participate for Thing 6. But here goes…
Apparently, I opened my LinkedIn account on my birthday, almost exactly three years ago. I suppose those of us with summer birthdays have to find some way to celebrate once we have year-round jobs, right?
I can’t say I have spent much quality time on LinkedIn since. I glance at the network update e-mails and periodically log in to confirm an invitation to connect, but that’s about it.
I have added several Group memberships, but have yet to determine how to get the most out of this feature. The daily e-mails frustrated me because of how similar they always looked, so I would delete them on sight more often than I would follow the discussions. I recently switched to the weekly digest, and am generally happier. However, I wish all of these e-mails would not land in my Inbox on the same day! My favorite group, and I think the only one in which I’ve contributed to the discussion thus far, is LIS Career Options. Over the last six months or so, there has been a great discussion about networking for introverts. I’d highly recommend this group, even if you’re not actively job hunting.
Sadly, my profile is pretty bare bones at the moment. I’ve included enough to confirm my online identity, but nothing substantial to maintain the interest of future employers or collaborators. I do plan to rectify this situation soon, but for now I’m content knowing I haven’t committed a major LinkedIn error.
Believe it or not, I didn’t join Facebook until later in the fall of 2008. I think I resisted for so long because I was never impressed with MySpace. I soon realized that my preconceived notions weren’t really fair. Somehow, Facebook found a way to hook more of my family and friends, which subsequently made it more useful to me. By putting everyone’s updates into the news feed, I never had to bother with visiting someone’s scary HTML profile concoction.
Despite Facebook’s well-documented faults, I must say it remains my favorite social network, for no other reason than it is where my friends and family share information. I have met nearly all of my Facebook friends in person, compared to maybe only a handful of the people I interact with on Twitter. Facebook is personal. Facebook is comfortable. And unlike my other social networking activities, Facebook doesn’t feel like work.
My Facebook experience isn’t completely devoid of professional matters, however. I have liked several pages related to libraries and nonprofits, and I’m even friends with quite a few colleagues and former colleagues. I occasionally use lists to target certain posts and restrict others, and I do save the bulk of my library-related posts for Twitter. Otherwise, my life isn’t really exciting enough to require complex filters.
I’m giving Google+ its own section in this post because it seems to be all the rage right now. I accepted an invitation and created my profile roughly two weeks ago. Since then, I’ve added a few people to my circles, created a circle or two, posted three updates, and commented on a handful of items in my stream. Intellectually, I can see why people are impressed with Google+. It’s clean, fairly intuitive, and well-integrated with other Google products. However, I don’t think it can be a justifiable Facebook killer until there’s an emotional pull. None of my family is there yet, and only a handful of real-life friends have joined. Apparently, I don’t hang with many early adopters, which makes it extra difficult to be one!
I plan to keep an eye on Google+, but can’t see myself being too active over there right now. I know lots of cool librarians are hanging out there, so you guys will have to convince me why I should split my attention toward yet another social network.
If anyone reading this still needs a Google+ invitation, let me know!
I’m not sure I have time to thoughtfully participate in many other online networks. I used to have a profile on a local network for youth-serving professionals, but that went belly-up due to lack of participation when Ning started charging. I also joined SmallerIndiana awhile back, but although I think it’s a neat idea, I rarely feel compelled to see what’s going on there.
I first heard about LISNPN in Bethan Ruddock’s presentation at SLA 2011 in Philadelphia. Thing 6 has prompted me to actually investigate and join. So far, I have added my profile picture (for consistency, the same one as Twitter/G+, though I hope to have a better one soon!) and approved two friend requests (hi, Erin and Erin!). I hope to poke around a bit more soon! Can any current members help me understand what this network offers that you can’t get elsewhere?
I’m passing on the LAT network for now, as I don’t do a lot of teaching in my current role. And although I’m pleased to have learned what CILIP stands for, it probably isn’t the best network for an American librarian.
All in all, I would conclude that I’m a competent online networker. Nobody can be everywhere all the time!