Sunday, 26 June 2011

Thing 2: Single and Ready to Mingle

Thing 1 on the 23 Things programme was to create a blog (done). Thing 2 was to have a nose around and comment on some of the other participating blogs.

I’m not naturally sociable and consider myself pretty hopeless at networking (in fact, one of the reasons I’m taking part in this course is to pick up some tips and ideas in this area). As the list of participants swelled alarmingly (there were around 100 when I first clocked in on Monday morning, increasing to about 350 when I got around to creating this blog later on that day, and at the time of writing there are now 576 people taking part) I felt like I was at a party where I knew no-one and was destined to spend the evening hugging the wall while nervously sipping at a lukewarm glass of white wine.

A useful tactic in such situations is to find somebody – anybody – you vaguely recognise and cling to them like a limpet, so I was relieved to spot my colleagues Christina and Louise and made a beeline to say hello to them. Suitably emboldened by these encounters, and by some comments left on my first post, I felt able to venture a bit wider.

Although I fiddled around with the tags on the Delicious list, I mainly picked blogs to visit at random. I was struck by Rhythm & Knowledge’s somewhat meta but very enjoyable post about the self-consciousness engendered by writing a blog and having your potentially cringe-worthy prose open to examination (not least by yourself). The Weeded Librarian and AngleD both touched on the issues of privacy and confidentiality that need to be considered when writing a blog about your personal or professional life; this is something that also concerns me slightly and is one of the things that has stopped me from writing a blog before. Younggeekylibrarian made me feel less guilty about my admission that I attend training and then frequently fail to implement the lessons or advice from that training, and wondered if we may be suffering from information overload, which certainly sounds like a better reason than my previous excuses of incompetence and/or laziness. Odd Librarian Out noted that the tendency to lurk rather than comment on blogs is a strong habit to break – as a perennial lurker myself, I have certainly found this week’s activity challenging but I’m glad to have begun the tiny babysteps from passive reader to active commenter.

On a side note, Dots & Loops is among a handful of people I noticed who are using tumblr to host their blogs. This is a platform I more usually associate with caffeinated teens furiously reblogging animated Harry Potter and Lady Gaga gifs. However, the cpd23 participants using it all appear to be stalwart bloggers who are giving tumblr a go as a bit of an experiment, and it will be interesting to see what use they make of it as a professional tool. For my own part, I am already ruing my choice of Blogger which, even for a blog novice like me, feels a bit clunky and offers mainly unlovely design templates to work with. I intend to faff around with the design and layout of this blog at some point in an attempt to make it a bit more visually pleasing, but at the moment I wish I was hanging with the kool kidz over on WordPress instead. Still, never mind, onwards to Thing 3.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Thing 1: I Started Something I Couldn't Finish...?

I’ve created this blog initially as a means of following the 23 Things for Professional Development (cpd23) course, although I hope to continue blogging beyond the end of the course in October.

I’ve been working in libraries for 11 years, including a stint in a public library, a very enjoyable six years at this venerable Newcastle institution, and my current role in the Technical Services section of the Robinson Library at Newcastle University.

I’ve decided to participate in cpd23 as a way of booting myself up the backside, professional development-wise. Like many people, I expect, I diligently attend training courses, think “Hmm, that was jolly useful”, then shove the notes and handouts into the bottom of a desk drawer and never refer to them again. So partly this blog will be a place for me to record and reflect on my training and other CPD activities.

I am also hoping to learn more about social networking, web 2.0 technologies and related gubbins. I don’t Tweet, although I do Google others’ Twitter feeds from time to time (top 3 faves: @nulibarts, @feministhulk and @Grantholtfacts). I’ve heard of RSS feeds but if asked to explain them I would merely go red and stammer for a bit. And if you asked me to explain what Pushnote is, I would point to a space just behind your shoulder, gasp “Look! What’s that over there!!” and then scarper. So I’m expecting big things and lots of usefulness from Week 3 and Week 5 of the course (no pressure, cpd23 organisers!).

I’ve toyed with starting a similar blog in the past, but the fear of running out of things to say after three weeks has always stopped me; I hope that having four months’ worth of topics provided for me will give me the impetus I need to get started and then keep going. Meanwhile, the hardest part about doing this blog, so far, has been trying to come up with a snappy, non-stupid title for it (I will leave it for the reader to judge whether I’ve succeeded or not...).