Class Week 11: Twitter, PLNs, Webinars

It was good to be back in class after being out sick one week, then have a “bye day” the other. I enjoyed discussing Twitter: we had a thoughtful discussion on using the social media site not for socializing in our personal lives, but for professional development. At first, I was a bit surprised at what seemed like overall negativity toward using Twitter professionally. My experience with the service so far has been positive and I usually find that I learn something new after reading through librarians’ and other scholarly folks’ conversations on Twitter. However, after breaking out into small groups to talk about the pros and cons of Twitter for professional development, I can see my classmates’ point about some of the obvious downsides of Twitter for professional uses. It can be overwhelming to sift through the vast, rapid stream of tweets, and also difficult to sift through a tweet itself if it is full of hashtags, user handles, quotes, and links (all in 140 characters!).

Discussing the professional benefits of Twitter led to a broader discussion on building professional networks: our next topic was PLNs (personal/professional learning networks). In this small group, we talked about building a PLN for yourself as an academic librarian. The obvious members would be other academic librarians, at your own institution and at others far away. Other categories included scholars and researchers related to your field of interest, especially if you’re interested in subject specialization (as several of us were); scholarly publishers; and digital humanists. This was all relevant to advice I received in an advising appointment: seek out the scholars/researchers in the field with which you are interested in liaising, so that you may better understand the tools they are using and the tools or knowledge they need to do their work.

Class ended early this week, which gave my webinar group a chance to practice our webinar in the software (always a good idea! We worked out a few bugs.)

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3 thoughts on “Class Week 11: Twitter, PLNs, Webinars

  1. I like that you brought up following scholars in your field of interest as well as librarians. While it might be obvious that we would want to network with other librarians I think that at SI there is less of an emphasis on taking an interest in scholars in our subject specialties. When I started using twitter in a professional capacity it was actually to follow Shakespeare scholars and early modernists since this is my primary area of interest, I only began to broaden to following other librarians when I started following the librarians at the Folger Shakespeare library and a couple of other libraries with special collection of interest to me. Since then I’ve broadened my scope and delved much deeper into the librarian community, but my way in was through the scholarship I was interested in because it helped me to target other librarians with similar interests and skills.

  2. I was also a little surprised about the amount of negative things that we came up with for using twitter as a professional development resource. Though I agree that many of the things are true about twitter, I had an overall positive experience with the assignment. I kind of like that the faucet is always on. It keeps me from getting bored with the feed. However, you have to acknowledge that you won’t be able to see everything that the people you follow unless you spend A LOT of time on twitter.

  3. I was also surprised by the amount of negativity that was brought up about Twitter as well. Personally, I like Twitter, even though it can present an overwhelming amount of information at times. I appreciate your point about including scholars as well as librarians, too. I think that’s really important, especially for academic librarians. I really like that we got to talk about PLNs. It’s an important thing to start thinking about, but may seem overwhelming on your own.

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