Evaluating my experiences
The blog post My Second Life (https://pdlearninglibrary.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/my-second-life-adventures-in-a-virtual-world-olj-inf506/) is based on my own encounters with Second Life (www.secondlife.com) in during this semester, supplemented by case studies from the literature, and demonstrates my understanding of social networking technologies. This post reveals my developing understanding of Multi-User Virtual Environments; their culture of participation and how they might be used to address information needs such as learning about new environments or learning new languages. I critically examine the features and functionality of SL when I discuss my experiences as a new user using the programs interface for the first time and experiencing the different environments. My conclusion that although Second Life is being used in collaborative learning projects in many educational settings that technical issues can interfere with its effectiveness, demonstrates my understanding of the both the educational and technical management issues that exist and that should inform policy decisions on the use of Second Life.
In developing my “Reasons why libraries should be on social media” blog post (https://pdlearninglibrary.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/reasons-why-libraries-should-be-on-social-media-olj-inf506/) I compare three regional public libraries. I critically examine the different ways that each library used social media and showed an understanding of how different strategies might suit different libraries; a library may choose multiple channels to communicate with users; or just one or two. I demonstrate an understanding of how Web 2.0 technologies are both effective marketing tools and an important way for customers to communicate with service providers. I indicate that Facebook (www.facebook.com) and blogs that feed onto web pages can be effective ways to highlight library events and provide appropriate and effective information services such as reader’s advisory. I also outline how services like Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) can also be employed to improve the discoverability of resources. In discussing the ways the libraries invited and displayed Facebook comments, reader reviews and tagging, I demonstrate my understanding of the theory and practice of Library 2.0 participatory web service (Maness, 2006).
The blog post More Shift Happens (https://pdlearninglibrary.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/more-shift-happens-five-key-trends-that-will-impact-our-media-landscape-olj-inf506/) demonstrates my understanding of social networking technologies by highlighting the impact of social media in the coming shifts. I indicate the importance of the the changes brought about by increased presence on social media and increased reliance on online information. I show my understanding of Library 2.0 concepts by highlighting the expectations of library users to have more of a say in how libraries work. I consider the opportunities and challenges that all the five trends, mobile devices, eBooks, Social Searching, Finding/Discoverability and Big Data trends will provide to libraries. In discussing how the five trends will change users expections and consequently drive policy I demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical, and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world.
Although I came to this subject as an “experienced” social networker (having been on Facebook since my introduction to it in 2007 and (irregularly) blogging just as long) my studies in INF506 have helped me develop a broader perspective on the potential uses and abuses of social media. As a result of having “permission to play”, I was able to try out new technologies and more freely experiment with those I had already been introduced to. In my post-INF506 life I am planning to try platforms such as Google+(https://plus.google.com/) and DeviantArt (www.DeviantArt.com) to share my artwork and other creative work and to expand my use of Twitter (www.twitter.com) for professional and creative purposes. I particularly enjoyed my excursions into Second Life and will also experiment further with creating a virtual gallery there. And I hope learn more about MUVEs including Minecraft (https://minecraft.net/) so that I can communicate more effectively with tween patrons!
My confidence in using Social Media has increased and I have noticed a change in the way I use social media, particularly Facebook, which I attribute to being part of the INF506 group. I am using it in a more “professional” way (even for my personal postings) so that I have been sharing material more related to my work as an information professional. It seems I have become conscious of projecting my personal “brand”. I have also begun to add more comments to my “sharing” posts; making more of a contribution to the conversations in and around our work as information professionals.
Other learning in this subject came from our practical assignment. My case study into online book clubs and young adults brought up some interesting data and some ideas worth following up in our library service. Many of our young patrons are passionate about books and reading but don’t have time for conventional book club experiences.
Using the OLJ as a way to develop as a social networker worked well for me. The activities were varied and interesting – some were a lot of fun. In preparing my blog posts More Shift Happens and Reasons why libraries should be on social media I gained an appreciation of some of the more difficult policy areas related to privacy. The recommended readings and resources I discovered in this area will help me to provide more a more cogent input into decisions we make in our service on these issues as well as being able to provide more coherent advice to patrons encountering social media.
My experiences on Second Life, reading about Wikipedia and watching other information professionals on YouTube have made me more aware of the educational possibilities afforded by social media. Working in a public library I may have less opportunities to use social media directly for education but will now have more confidence in using it for our training. I am particularly interested in developing some technology resources for those of us running public training on mobile devices using the wiki model (Maness, 2006).
The Personal Learning Network activity gave me an insight into how I could use social media more effectively and develop my Personal Learning Network by connecting to more information professionals. It also alerted me to the possibility of gathering more focussed news via Google alert feeds. During this exercise I was particularly struck by Bethany Smith’s (2008) statement on adding to other bloggers’ work with comments and other contributions. Although I have been something of a “sharer” on both my blog and Facebook I have not hitherto thought about my social obligation to comment further than “Like”.
One important aspect of the PLN exercise that struck me was the idea that we need time away from social media. Our classmate Renate shared Gary Turk’s poignant video poem “Look up!” which emphasised the point that we should not let “being connected” consume us; we need to take time out for ourselves to be with our loved ones and really connect.
I think the implications for my development as an information professional are clear; social networking and the assiduous use of social media will underpin my continuing professional development. I will continue to boldly go exploring and sharing on social networks and social media; making a regular commitment to Professional Development via Feedly, Google alerts and my blogging, experimenting with other platforms but making sure I balance that with time away from the network for myself and my family experiencing life and each other.
Maness, J. (2006). Library 2.0 theory: Web 2.0 and its implications for libraries. Webology, 3 (2), Article 25. Available from http://www.webology.org/2006/v3n2/a25.html
Smith, B. (2008). Creating an online personal learning network [Presentation]. Available from http://www.slideshare.net/bethanyvsmith/creating-an-online-personal-learning-network-presentation
Turk, G. (2014). Look up [Film]. Available from http://youtu.be/Z7dLU6fk9QY