Growth of a Librarian

Virtually Networking
July 20, 2011, 11:40 am
Filed under: CPD | Tags: , ,

A quick tally of my virtual networks in the list provided in Thing 6 was 3/5, which doesn’t seem too bad.  I am very aware, however, that my use of 2 of these 3 has been quite limited so far.  It seemed time to acknowledge my lack of connection and put a little effort into revitalizing my network, so I also signed up for LATnetwork, although I have decided for my own sanity to ignore CILIP communities for the moment (I’m not a member of CILIP and since it is the only one on the list that’s not free it seemed like an obvious choice).

My best (most frequently used and most connected) attempt at virtual networking has definitely been through Facebook.  I’ve had an account for several years and use it keep in touch with friends and family.  It is a purely personal tool for me, and though I will add co-workers and others who could also be considered a part of my professional network I only add them if I also consider them to be a friend (or they seem to think of me that way, and I don’t want to hurt feelings, which happens very occasionally).  Rather arbitrarily I have decided to set my friend limit at 200, so as I add new people I delete others who I don’t actually keep in touch with.  Being arbitrary this rule is also somewhat flexible, but it keeps me from developing a ‘friends’ list that is so massive that I forget who is actually on it and why.  Despite the bad press Facebook continually gets, I find it a really easy way to keep in touch with friends and family overseas, since we can chat, post pictures and comment on each other’s lives in one place.  Possibly because I’m not attempting to use it in a serious professional capacity I don’t fret too much about the constant changes or questionable ethics behind the whole thing, which is incredibly lazy of me, and I am ashamed to admit it, but Facebook does what I want it to with convenience and I don’t worry too much about it beyond that.

The other 2 virtual networks I have previous experience with are Linked In and LISNPN, although both of these I joined quite recently.  After joining LISNPN I didn’t do much else with it, I’m afraid, although I followed the jobs thread via RSS and used it in job hunting.  Linked In I set up, added people I knew, joined a few groups, and then couldn’t figure out what to do with next.  I still haven’t figured out, and though I keep it up to date and add people slowly as I find them (or they find me) so far I haven’t found it terribly useful.  Everyone else seems to though so, sort of as is the case with Twitter, I am waiting to see if it suddenly clicks.

As a result of this Thing I set up an account in LATnetwork and had a look back at LISNPN again.  I posted a photo in each (the same photo I use here and on Twitter, although my Linked In profile has a photo of me rather than a bird!), made an attempt to add ‘friends’ to my network in LISNPN, and attempted to start a discussion on LATnetwork.  I’m slightly confused by the layout of each of these sites, and need to take a little more time exploring what they can do and how people use them before I feel I can comment on how useful they are.  They both seem to have a lot of potential, however, and since they both have a targeted audience, rather than being as general as Linked In, I have high hopes that I’ll finally be able to get the hang of virtual professional networking.


2 Comments so far
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Thanks for being my first friend on LISNPN! I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend there yet, but it’s good to know it’s there. Like you, I definitely spend most of my online networking time on Facebook, since that’s where my friends and family are. I’ve always been under 200 friends, not so much because of actively weeding, but just that I don’t go around adding everyone Facebook thinks I should!

Comment by Nicole Brock

I like the idea of activitely weeding Facebook friends but then I don’t keep in touch with most people on there these days anyway. I use both Facebook and LinkedIn very much as address books really, and do most of my networking on twitter.

Comment by bumsonseats

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