Saturday, 30 July 2011

Thing 6: Got my mojo networking

*rushes in, wild of eye and hair* Sorrysorrysorrysorry. I know I am ruinously behind on all of my Things. I offer two, only slightly flimsy, excuses.

First of all, I have recently been applying for (and getting – squeee!) a new job. This meant that time I would have devoted to Thing 5 was instead spent freaking out about preparing diligently and calmly for my impending interview; consequently I am currently running approximately a week behind the programme.

The second reason is that I have never used or signed up for any of the online networks mentioned for Thing 6 and I therefore wanted to spend a bit of time exploring them before writing this post. I realise that I am saying the same about every thing that comes up on this programme – “never used that”; “nope, don’t do that”; “have never even heard of that” – which kind of makes me conclude that it is a ruddy good job I signed up for this as I am expanding my knowledge and armoury of professional tools with every week that passes.

Anyway, enough of my yakking: online networking, let’s boogie.

As previously mentioned, I’ve never used Facebook. This is for a variety of reasons: I’m a bit shy; I’m wary of splashing my personal details all across a public domain; and I already spend quite a large chunk of my leisure time piddling around unprofitably on the internet and am reluctant to sign up for what would no doubt be another massive time drain. I take Phil Bradley’s point, made in his discussion of Google+, that as an individual (or institution) you need to be where your peers (or users) are in order to connect and communicate with them – I just don’t want to put it into practice in the case of Facebook. And every story I hear about how hard Facebook makes it to protect your personal details and how difficult it is to extricate yourself from its clutches if you try to delete your profile makes it less and less appealing to me. So, soz, but me and the big FB are Never. Gonna. Happen.

I’ve been aware of LinkedIn for a while now, but have always assumed that it’s not for the likes of me because:
  1. I thought it was full of business people having business-y conversations about important business things. Business. I had not realised that there is a large population of library and information professionals on there.
  2. I also assumed that it is most useful for freelancers and contract workers – people who change jobs frequently and therefore need to make sure they have a presence where employers can see and get in touch with them.
That said, roles in the librarian and information sector (along with, I guess, every other profession) are increasingly offered on the basis of temporary or fixed-term contracts: I myself have spent the last two and half years working in a succession of temporary posts, albeit at the same organisation. It was also quite an eye-opener to see, during the discussions of personal branding and online presence for Thing 3, that LinkedIn usually comes near the top of any Google searches you might run on yourself or other people.

So all these things considered, I will be signing up to LinkedIn. I need to sort myself out with a suitable profile picture first. I hate having my photo taken and indeed have only done so a handful of times in the last decade, which is why my current picture on Twitter and this blog is a hastily-snapped webcam shot in which the lower half of my face is cunningly concealed behind the 1986 Whizzer and Chips Christmas annual. Alas, this doesn’t quite convey the levels of gravitas and professionalism necessary for LinkedIn, so I will have to procure something a bit more suitable. I also need to tidy up/completely overhaul my CV. I’m going to designate “joining LinkedIn” as a work in progress, which I hope to complete in the next few weeks.

LIS New Professionals Network
I hadn’t heard of this before cpd23, but upon investigation it looks like it will be really very useful. I already recognise a lot of members from their cpd23 blogs and from Twitter. The forums seem pretty active, and the topics cover an interesting mix of practical advice and information about chartership, job opportunities and suchlike, and more general discussion points (is there a “new professionals clique”; how far would you travel or commute for your dream job; erm, do you like drum and bass). I also love the downloadable resources section and will definitely be referring to these in the future. I am not, by even the most elastic definition, new to the library sector (having worked in it on and off for 11 years) and I am currently in a para-professional rather than professional role, but what the hell – they seem like a welcoming bunch anyway. I have therefore registered with this network this week, will probably consult the forums quite frequently and, once I’ve pimped my profile a bit, may even contribute to it.

Librarians as Teachers Network
I don’t do any teaching as part of my current role. Which is not to say that I will never do any teaching in a professional capacity, nor that I couldn’t make use of some of the advice and resources posted here. Therefore, although I don’t think I will join this network at the moment, I have bookmarked the site for future reference.

CILIP Communities
I am a member of CILIP but must admit that I am not currently a very active one, have not even looked at the website for quite some time, and was only vaguely aware that CILIP Communities existed. The forums don’t seem terribly fast-moving and overall I’m not convinced that it offers a great deal of information or networking opportunities beyond those which are already available via other channels, Twitter in particular. However, I haven’t yet delved very deeply into the various individual networks on offer from the site. I will try to find some time do so in the coming weeks and will reserve final judgement until then.

So that’s two networks that I am definitely joining and will hopefully be participating in and two networks bookmarked for further investigation (Facebook, however, can continue to do one). As it turns out, this has been quite a productive and involving Thing for me.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Diana,

    Just wanted to say that you're definitely right, the way of thinking on LISNPN is definitely the more the merrier so it is great that you've joined!