Thursday 31 May 2012

Thing 4 - Current Awareness

So it is only a few weeks in and already I am behind with my Things and looking anxiously for when there is a catch up week, hopefully Thing 4 will be mainly straightforward and ties in with something I want to Storify anyway.  So current awareness - over the past year or so I have really tried to up my game as far as this is concerned and I have definitely seen a difference in my day to day work. 

I started using Twitter about 18 months ago, purely to enhance my professional understanding, both of the library world and the education sector (working in a secondary school with additional responsibilities - Assistant Head of Sixth Form and Careers Coordinator) means that it is just as important to keep up with the education world as it is libraries, although my chartership doesn't quite agree on this.  I took advice from a few other school librarians who were already using Twitter a lot (@thelibrain in particular) and who generally recommended starting by following about 10 people initially as it can be a bit overwhelming at first.  Gradually you can build up the number of people you follow, either through Twitter's recommendations or the ff (follow Friday) hashtag when users can recommend other users to follow.  I have recently developed my use of hashtags, joining in online chartership chats and last week tweeted my way through a workshop on online resources which I plan to storify. I follow (last count) about 175 with about 116 followers (I am always so chuffed when anybody requests to follow me), but I am always refining who I follow so as to simplify my Twitter stream.  Life is already busy without my Twitter feed complicating things further.  I protect my Tweets because of my job in a school;  I don't want to jeopardise my position of loco parentis and I want to maintain my online privacy.  My husband accuses me of being addicted to Twitter; I don't think I am, but I wouldn't be without it and its incredibly valuable information.

About a year ago I compiled all my blogs etc into Google Reader.  I chose Google Reader simply because it was the feed I had heard the most about and it looked the simplest to use.  Before then I simply had my blogs bookmarked in my Favourites and checking each one just to see if they had been updated was becoming too laborious especially as the amount of blogs I follow just kept on increasing.  I follow about 30 blogs or so, mainly school librarians, but others from alternative library sectors including law, careers, HE, public libraries and CILIP personages e.g. Phil Bradley himself.  Again, I find the information incredibly useful for my everyday work and professional development and try to catch up with Google Reader three or four times a week.

Not liking it at all.  Have signed up via my Twitter account and wanted to create a story of my tweets from last week's Credo workshop on marketing of online resources, but search is only finding 2 of my Tweets.  Looking at the online tour is not helping much either.  Very frustrated.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Thing 3 - My Personal Brand

Considering my personal brand online seemed a bit strange at first until I started to google myself.  No results for my actual name until the second page when there was a link to the citation written by the School Library Association when I attained the honour list for School Librarian of the Year in 2008.  Similarly with Google Images, far down the page there are a few photos taken of me at that year's ceremony.  When I googled my online name however, I did get a bit unnerved to be honest as there was result after result of my tweets to various people, followed by results taking me to individual blog posts I have written and even a link to a pearltree? by a fellow Twitter user who has included my blog.  While I sort of knew the Internet was a big place and not always private, this has certainly given me food for thought and although not put me off social media, may well make me think even more carefully than I do now, about what I say online.  

Using the suggested headings given to me by CPD23 then:

Name Used is a nickname (from my husband).  I chose it because I didn't want to be known online by my real name.  As a I work in a school, being Assistant Head of Sixth Form, as well as  having strategic responsibility for the LRC, it is vitally important that I retain my professional status at all times and I didn't want to be easily 'found' online by students and so begin to blur professional boundaries.

Photograph used is the same one on my name badge at school, or was, until I got it updated this year.  As a result I have tried to change it on my Twitter and blog today at school, but I think the network filters don't like it very much so I am going to try at home later.  I used a real picture of me as I have always tried to keep my Twitter account and blog professional.  My blog, which I set up to demonstrate the progress of my chartership, has remained so.  My tweets occasionally are about life outside school and the library world, about 1 in 20, so Twitter is still very much a professional PLN.  As I don't use my real name online, I feel ok about using a real photo and if I do meet people from the online world in the real world, then I'd like them to recognise me.

I really covered professional/personal identity in the last paragraph, except to say that I don't do Facebook either personally or professionally.  Having a Facebook account for the LRC scares me as the idea of being 'friends' with people that I am in' loco parentis of' when they are in school goes against everything I believe in about what is 'right' and 'not right' and I can't see that opinion changing. I have yet to see the need for Facebook in real life.  I still like talking to my friends.

Visual Brand is a difficult one.  It was only last week that I considered changing the background on my blog to something more appropriate than just a blue sky and green grass.  I've now got books, however I am still stuck with the default Twitter page as my design.  It honestly didn't occur to me to think about how I should 'stand out' online, but thinking about it, I suppose it is only the same as in real life when I worry about what clothes I should wear on a particular day, e.g. only wearing a suit on parents evenings etc.  Something to think about in the future perhaps.  I'll get an up to date photo on my blog and Twitter page first.

As I finished this, I have just watched Ned Potter's, @therealwikiman, Prezi on creating your own brand as mentioned on the CPD23 blog.  More food for thought and a great presentation.

Friday 11 May 2012


I signed up this week for CPD23 following a little prompting from my chartership mentor who said it would be really good for someone who was struggling with criteria 4 of her chartership portfolio, that of demonstrating "a breadth of professional knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context" See my previous posts for why I feel I am struggling with this and my recent foray into the world of public libraries.  As a result I viewed the prospect of CPD23 with some joy as in 'oh good!  Something to help me with criteria 4" and "Oh no!  Something else to do as well as my job!"

The plus side of CPD23 is that it can be done from the relative comfort of my own job.  I am already focussing on developing the use and impact of social media on teaching and learning from the LRC's point of view so this will definitely support that. And of course, it will help me broaden my professional understanding of the information world and extend my PLN both in terms of the blogs I follow and on Twitter.

Having already got a blog which I set up last year to support my chartership, I decided to use this one for CPD23 as well.  In addition I already follow about 30 blogs using Google Reader.  Some are school library blogs, or those of school librarians and library & information consultants.  I also follow blogs of other information professionals outside school librarianship including law librarians, public librarians and even booksellers. Since signing up to CPD23 I have already discovered one new blog, It Came From the Careers Library, which I hope is going to be very useful in supporting the CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice & Guidance) aspect of my role and linking this to my portfolio. I then took a look at A School Librarian's blog (for obvious reasons) which in turn mentioned a presentation on careers information delivered by BradfordLibrarian. I also found 'old friends' from Twitter such as Dewey027 and definitely found my own feelings about chartering resonating with the Savvy School Librarian and left a message of support.

So, Thing 1 & 2 done!  I have also submitted an article to this week's school bulletin outlining CPD23 and am encouraging my library colleague to do so as well.