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.)