The Summary of the topic:
How to connect: using social media
Moderator Anne Lehto, Head of Services Tampere University Library, Finland,
In the workshop, there were 6 groups attending this round table one group at a time. We discussed the possibilities and challenges of using social media as a tool for professional development. Social media was defined widely in this session meaning different types of communication using web 2.0 technologies which enhance collaboration and include the aspect of interactivity.
1) How to use social media at your library?
There was an interesting IFLA offsite Social Media Workshop by Academic and Research Libraries that took place at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on 16 August. The theme was Social media strategy in academic libraries – Implementation experience at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Libraries. Some participants in the round table had attended the workshop as well. At NTU it was learned that NTU library had impressively hired 200 students to create social media content. The programme and presentations can be retrieved from http://blogs.ntu.edu.sg/ifla2013/programme/
Furthermore, examples of the use of social media in University library context are numerous, see e.g. Mervi Ahola’s (a social media savvy colleague) prezi-presentation: Social Media in the Work Practices in Tampere University Library:
2) In the workshop, the most common social media tools/technologies (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blogs, wikis, Linkedin…) were discussed from the point of view of their usefulness to enhance professional development.
It turned out that Facebook was used more for personal purposes than for professional ones; however, there were also participants who shared their experiences of using Facebook to get information about current issues and for informing their professional network.
On the other hand, blogs were commonly used for professional development purposes. Also, Akademia.edu and Researchgate, http://www.researchgate.net/ were mentioned as major professional development networking tools.
If you are a new professional or a life-long learner, don’t forget IFLA New Professional Special Interest Group’s (NPSIG) blog,http://npsig.wordpress.com. In the blog you will find interesting webinars which have been recorded and are available on the site e.g., “New Librarians Global Connection: best practices, models and recommendations“ is a new series of free quarterly webinars on issues of interest to new librarians, models of library associations and library schools working with new professionals, and groups by and for librarians. The free webinars are presented by IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning and IFLA New Professionals Special Interest Group in partnership with the American Library Association.
LinkedIn was regarded as an increasingly more important platform for professional development. Other important role of LinkedIn is that it is used for the companies’ recruitment purposes. Thus, keeping your profile up-to-date is necessary if you want to become recognized by the potential head hunters. Technically, you can make your profile more complete by adding your photo, your CV, skills and your areas of interest. We discussed that the more contacts you have in Linkedin – the better it seems, and the more international contacts you have – even better. Do you disagree?
Your contacts in LinkedIn may endorse you for your skills. However, even people who have never met you in real life are able to endorse your skills, as LinkedIn actively invites you to endorse your contacts. The value of such endorsements is therefore controversial.
3) To sum up, there are multiple social media technologies and tools applicable to networking to enhance professional development. As both working time and spare time is limited, you don’t need to adopt them all. Still, it is worthwhile being curious and trying some social media technologies especially as they are mostly freely available. If you don’t get what you expected, just try some other technology that might fulfill your expectations better.
PS. Meanwhile you read this summary, some social media technologies that before were freely available may have turned fee-based or completely disappeared. It is certain that there are still some unexplored technologies that you can use for purposes you might not even know yet.