cpd23 Thing 4: Current awareness – Twitter, RSS & Storify

Twitter: Well, I already have a Twitter account, in fact that’s where I found CPD23 to begin with! I have found it to be an invaluable tool for networking and keeping informed of changes and news in the profession. I pretty much only use the site for professional development and networking and have hardly any personal interest in the site. I have met people at conferences who I have spoken to online and have found links to blogs, articles and sites that I would have otherwise missed. It has made me aware of events that I have been able to attend at the last minute and attending chartership chats on Thursday evenings has helped keep me on track and given me additional material for my portfolio. Definitely something I would recommend for professional awareness and development.

RSS: This is something I am new to and have been meaning to set up on my blog. We have an RSS feed on our library website which keeps track of various news and blog posts so I was aware of what they do, just hadn’t got around to sorting one out for myself until now. I have added a couple of feeds to the right side of my blog. I can see how this tool would be useful for keeping track of recent developments or news in areas of interest although at the moment I don’t tend to have my blog open all the time to keep track of them. That is what I currently use Twitter for, but maybe it could change.

Storify:  I have never used this before, but have now had a little snoop around and a look some other people’s storys. I have to say I have some mixed feelings about the site. I don’t dislike it, but I also can’t really seem myself using it very regularly. I love the idea of collating things in one place but not sure I would do it publicly. The example of a chartership chat write up looks like a great use for it as it makes embedding the Twitter posts into it very easy, but aside from that I personally don’t have a great use for it. Perhaps I should consider using it to gather chartership information or useful links that people tweet, or I could just favourite their tweets instead… I have signed up to various other social media sites in the past and then never used them so perhaps I will hold off on this one for now, but will keep it in mind should something ever pop up…

cpd23 Thing 3: Consider your personal brand

Ok, here we go again! I have been trying  my best to keep up with CPD23, mostly ended up writing things out but then not putting them up on my blog *slaps wrist* so there may well be a few posts coming up in one go as I try to catch my blog up. (I know this defeated the social side of the activity somewhat , but will try do better at getting the posts up quicker!)

So I’ve googled myself to see what comes up… It depends slightly on whether I search for just my name, my name plus UK or my name in quotations plus UK as to what order things appear in but the first couple of results tend to include my Twitter profile and my Linkedin account. Fine by me! (The Linkedin account needs a bit of updating so perhaps this will prompt me to take it temporarily offline while I get that sorted). There is a Facebook account that crops up for someone with my name, but it isn’t me! Hopefully that won’t be too confusing, but it looks like they are in the USA so unlikely to be confused as me.
Annoyingly there is also someone with a Pinterest account in my name who isn’t me and there isn’t an obvious way to tell. There are some address finding websites too with my name on them and I am now on a mission to find out if I can get it taken off!

There are a few of our work webpages which are “owned” by me and these show up too, not the worst thing in the world I suspect, though they are there because I created the initial page, not necessarily because I am responsible for it now so hopefully that won’t reflect too badly on me if something is out of date!

I will try to get a more generic picture set up for my online persona I think and see if that appears in images. My current twitter picture is a cartoon rather than me and could make it hard for people to find me at conferences. Something that links my blog, Twitter account and Linkedin profile is probably a good idea so I’ll be rooting around in my photos later to see what I can find.

Generally, I don’t think anything too awful comes up when I am googled. Am somewhat irritated by the address listings, but perhaps I should have been looking more carefully when I filled in electoral register forms (apparently the information comes from there). Am also not too thrilled about these sites that appear to gather all possible information about you from various different social networking pages… some further investigation needed there too perhaps. A bit of an eyeopener I think, interesting to see which of my social media pages makes it to the top of the list, but equally worrying to find pages that contain information about me, where I have lived and even profile pictures used on different sites… perhaps some sternly worded emails are in order, or just a snoop through to make sure my information isn’t public, which leads me to wonder, what is the point in a Linkedin profile if no one can find you on it, and how much am I willing to share with unknown sites claiming that they can show “publicly available” information.

So, things to do: find nice picture to represent me online, update Linkedin profile and investigate removing self from silly address finding sites.

cpd23 Thing 1

Well I am a little behind with playing cpd 23 but I had a few of the basics sorted out already! I already had a blog so no new setup was necessary, tadaa! I’m still working on some finishing touches but it’s ready enough for people to read. :)

I am currently working in an academic library in the e-resources section. My main career development aim at the moment is to gain chartered status with CILIP.

I am taking part in cpd 23 this year for a few reasons. One is that it will be going through some topics I am interested in learning about and investigating, particularly some software, web tools and social media I could be using to help me with chartership!

Another reason is I am hoping it will get me writing some more for my blog which I feel lacks some posts at the moment. Not only that, but having a reason to write something up will give me more incentive to do it and hopefully give me more confidence for future posts.

I have been a bit hesitant with my reflective writing for chartership and this is another area I am hoping will improve. Being given various topics to investigate and think about should help me develop my reflective writing skills which in turn should help get me thinking reflectively about everything I do, whether it’s for work or chartership or anything else I can learn from.

Now I just need to make sure I put time aside to write the posts… maybe some better time management is just another thing cpd 23 could help me with. :)

Expect more “Things” to pop up soon!

Chartership Chat 26th April 2012: Future Skills and the New BPKS

Time: 6.30pm-8pm

Posts: 108

Participants: 15

This week’s chartership chat was on the CILIP Future Skills Work and Body of Professional Knowledge and Skills (BPKS).
It was a somewhat quieter evening than previous weeks to begin with but slowly picked up again and discussion continued until 8pm. @joeyanne has archived the chat at http://t.co/Wrl0lIlZ. The CILIPquals wiki which contains links to all archives and write ups can be found at http://t.co/0mzDlMbd.

The chat started with a question to define what the BPKS was. My response was “a means to track our own skills and knowledge and to see where we might want to improve/develop those skills”. @johnmcmahon said he thought it was a good way to measure how your personal development meets the librarian competencies. I think he is right there, and that it has some interesting potential for chartership candidates.

There was definite feeling that the old BPKS was somewhat “woolly” and hard to understand and that the new proposed BPKS, while not perfect, was much more user friendly and accessible. People felt they could see themselves using the new BPKS but wouldn’t have used the old one.

@Readyourbook suggested that new members of CILIP could be given a “pack” which would include information about the BPKS, progression and more. This seemed a popular idea with a couple of people mentioning they hadn’t found the pack they had initially received to be all that relevant (or couldn’t even remember what was in it). He also commented he felt that the reason some people felt they had no real connection to CILIP as it can be hard to see the bigger picture. @JennyRidout agreed she had felt that way initially as her area was very quiet and CILIP HQ seemed very remote.

@SimonEdwards75 asked if people thought the BPKS should be unique or inclusive for the whole profession. The feeling seemed to be that it should be as inclusive as possible but allow individuals to make it unique to them/their work areas. I think it is important that everyone can tailor it to their own development needs, whether it is specifically for the role they are in or for developing interests in other areas of the profession.

Discussion then moved on to how people would prefer to access it. The majority seemed keen on web access and some liked to have PDF formats that could be printed off. The possibility of something interactive seemed popular too with @Readyourbook suggesting and animated interactive chart that could zoom in on the slices and “drill down into specifics”.

There was also some interest in a possible mobile app, though it was felt that web would be more useful and accessible initially and the mobile app could be something to consider as a further development. Some comments that not everyone has a smart phone and not everyone uses Apple were brought up as things CILIP should consider when thinking about the app. @ggnewed suggested maybe doing something similar to Evernote which is to have a web service, mobile app and desktop software which all linked together. It would be nice to have a setup where the mobile app could synch with the web so that you always have your information with you.

So how could this link in to chartership, and what about those arriving via ACLIP? @SimonEdwards75 responded saying if it did become incorporated into chartership then perhaps the same should apply to ACLIP?
A few people, myself included, commented that it would be a useful tool for working out PPDPs initially as some were using online examples for ideas. Another suggestion by @JennyRidout was to set candidates the goal of reaching a certain level in a certain number of areas as not everyone would necessarily be able to excel in all areas. I find this an interesting suggestion and could perhaps be a way to make it a bit more measurable. Though it perhaps begs the question; how do we know when we have reached the “next level”?

A thought provoking session all round! The next chat will be on 10th May at 6.30pm. Topic is still to be decided.

Chartership Chat 12th April 2012: The Mentor/Mentee Relationship

Time: 18:30-19:30

Participants: ~30

No. of Posts: 285

This time chartership chat discussed the relationships between mentors and mentees. Around 30 people took part in the chat and it was nice to see a good number of mentors also joining in to give tips and opinions. @joeyanne has archived the chat here: http://t.co/STCPiSDw


How and when do you choose a mentor?

You can choose a mentor either before or after you register, but it may take a little while to find someone and emailing as soon as you have filled in the registration forms is a good idea.

Some had chosen mentors from the same institution or someone they knew which meant they would have someone straight away. Referring to the mentor list on the CILIP website for guidance is another option. It is always worth sending out an email if you find someone you would really like to mentor you, even if it says they are full, as the list isn’t always 100% up to date. Personally I found mine before registering using the mentor list and it took me a couple of months to find someone available.

A suggestion from @LucileDeslignes was that perhaps CILIP could offer a bit more information on mentors to make the choosing process a bit easier for new candidates. I had initially been more attracted to mentors with profile information on the CILIP page as it gave a brief insight into their career history and interests as well as making it more than just a list of names and emails.

Some took the route of meeting with a mentor informally prior to any commitment to have a chat and express their needs and wants. Both parties were then free to decide if they think it will work. @MariaCotera was particularly keen on this method and said she likes to get to know her mentees before either side commits and lets them decide if she is the right mentor for them.

So should you choose a mentor in your own sector or from outside it? Well again it is up to you, there are no rules. There were a lot of positive comments about having a mentor from another sector as it gave both mentors and mentees insight into each other’s work and can give new perspectives.

Another option was to have a mentor in the same sector who had recent experience of another or even to go with someone from a different sector that may still have overlap with your own. There were still plenty of people who were happy with someone from their own institution though a couple commented that conversation did drift towards work on occasion rather than chartership.

@johnmcmahon31 would prefer to gain more direction within the sector before branching out to others.

@nickiflh did point out that if you do end up with a mentor you don’t get along with there is always the option to change. There is a form from CILIP which can be filled in so you shouldn’t feel trapped with one you don’t share interests with.

Keeping in Contact

So, how often should you have contact with each other and is it better to meet face to face or communicate by phone or email?

This is very dependent on your own needs. It is best to keep in regular contact with your mentor even if it isn’t face to face. Skype seemed quite popular for covering long distances and for contacting mentees abroad as well as emails and phone calls.  A lot of us felt that face to face meetings gave a deadline to work towards. @tinamreynolds commented she prefers to be able to pass papers around and scribble and that monthly meetings keep her on track while @emilylovedhim only met her mentor 4 times and thinks quality is more important than quantity.

I like deadlines to work towards to give me that extra kick up the backside, even if it is just to send something via email. It is really up to you and how you work so make sure you make your needs known when you start up with your mentor. Again, emphasis on the importance of setting out your expectations from the start.

The conversation dipped briefly into how to share work and documents with mentors. Popular choices were Google Docs and Dropbox. Wikis were mentioned but @joeyanne felt they could be a pain to update. Then there is always the simple, word document and email combination. It is also worth thinking about whether you will be doing much of your work while travelling and if mobile devices will restrict you in some way.

First time meetings and expectations

Your first meeting with your mentor is a great time to fill in the agreement forms if you haven’t already done so. This will allow both parties to make it clear what they expect of the relationship and to set out some initial rules. It might be a good idea to have a draft of your PPDP ready so you can go through it together and this could act as a possible icebreaker too.

@johnmcmahon31 asked, “what should you expect from a mentor?” Responses included:

  • Perspective
  • Support
  • Encouragement
  • Motivation
  • Clarification
  • A critical friend
  • Chocolate

The discussion moved on to who should be leading the relationship and it was suggested that it should be the mentee who tells the mentor what they want and the mentor then guides them. One important point to remember though is that while a mentor will be a guide, it is up to the individual to take control of their own development. But if you feel you would like to be pushed more you can always ask your mentor to be stricter, they can’t make that decision for you though!

Mentors were asked what they got out of the relationship. @MariaCotera said for her is was about giving back to the profession and getting a fresh perspective. Inspiration from mentees was also commented on. @joeyanne stated that mentors will get knowledge of your area as well as you do theirs (if different from your own) and developing mentoring skills is useful for managers. A very valid point is that chartership is a two way learning process and mentors are as likely to get something out of it as mentees are.


Important things to remember:

  •  The mentor/mentee relationship is a personal one and it is important to make sure both sides are suited to each other. Different people work in different ways.
  • Draw up a mentor agreement. Forms available from the CILIP website. This means everyone knows what to expect from the outset.
  • Mentors are guides! It is up to the mentees to do the work and be proactive.
  • Both mentors and mentees can learn and benefit from the relationship, remember mentees: you have something to give too and your mentor will likely benefit as much as you do!

The next chat will be on Thursday 26th April and will be on the CILIP Future Skills work. Hopefully see you there!


Karen Blakeman’s talk on spring cleaning your social media – some thoughts and musings

Yesterday evening I attended a CILIP in Surrey talk by Karen Blakeman on social media. One key point of the talk was the importance of keeping track of our social media and in particular making sure what we do use is up to date. She gave some interesting information on keeping track of statistics for different sites and ways in which you can monitor you/your organisation. While statistics weren’t really my area, it was interesting to hear about the vast number of sites capable of tracking and gathering statistics.

What did interest me however was the part about keeping your social media tidy and organised. She asked if everyone in the room could name all the social media they had used in the last 2-3 years? Some uncomfortable shifting in seats followed as we all tried to think back – I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last weekend so who knows what I may have signed up to!?

It made me (and others in the audience) think, how much information, and particularly out of date information about me is there on the internet? Do I actually keep track of every site I sign up to in a moment of inspiration only to forget all about it again days later?

Well, no, not really. But then until quite recently I hadn’t even been using an awful lot of social media. Ok, so I’m on Facebook (I sort of want to shout, well who isn’t these days?!) but I try to keep that a personal space and so am fairly unexciting to anyone who isn’t my friend (possibly not that exciting to those that are!).
I’ve had a LinkedIn account for a few years but must admit I’ve rarely used it, other than to accept a friend request from someone I might have known at school.
I was told to sign up to Twitter whilst on my MA last year and did so (somewhat begrudgingly) but up until a few months ago I didn’t really use it. Having just signed up for chartership I am suddenly finding it rather invaluable for snippets of information, chats and links to articles and blogs, not to mention some light networking.
I do believe I have also signed up to Tumblr at some point, though again I don’t think I have really used it since that first week where I was sure that I would take brilliant and inspirational photos on my phone that the rest of the world would be dying to see…or not.

Hmm, the more I think about it, the longer the list seems to get… So what do these social sites really say about me? Facebook is, well, not going to tell you anything really as I told it not to! Twitter will tell you all I have to talk about is libraries, Tumblr might display me as someone who can’t really take pictures and Linkedin probably still thinks I’m on a pre-masters trainee year. Hmm. Is this what I want others to be able to see about me? Perhaps some updating or unsubscribing is needed.

What was slightly more concerning was the discussion on Google and its new privacy policy. So, just over a year ago I created a Gmail email address for myself. This was due to me buying an android phone which I managed to lock myself out of within 20 minutes of receiving it! Not my finest moment… The only way to reset the phone other than a complete factory reset was to enter your Gmail email address (which of course I didn’t have). I didn’t see the harm in have a spare email address which could potentially save me from future pattern-forgetting-phone-resetting disasters. Of course now we find out that having a Gmail account means you are automatically signed up to Google+ (their version of Facebook) and your profile is shared across all Google sites – YouTube, Picasa etc. (aaah trixy Google!) I’m not sure I set up any kind of profile when I joined but it hadn’t occurred to me to check and so my list of potential social networking sites has just almost doubled!

This leads me to another of Karen’s points: Social media may be free but is also very time consuming! Whether you are using it for work or personal use it is essential to make sure you are sending relevant information to relevant people. Where I work we have our library’s Twitter, Facebook and blog all interlinked. Anything that gets posted on the blog automatically appears on the library Facebook page and twitter feeds. Aside from some formatting disparities between the blog and Facebook this is generally a good way to make sure we reach all our users.

I would not, however, want to do this for my personal accounts. I’m fairly certain my Facebook friends aren’t that interested in snippets of twitter stating that figuring out my chartership PPDP is hard work! Not to mention the few times I’ve been writing in the Twitter #chartership chats. Who wants to see 30 posts filled with @ and # on their Facebook news feed!? So be warned, spamming your friends/users/followers with irrelevant information might just leave you friendless and unpopular! Karen warned of a cycle of having Facebook post on twitter while having twitter set to post on Facebook. An infinite loop of information doom?

This isn’t nearly everything that Karen talked about last night, merely a selection of points that I found particularly interesting and relevant to me and things that made me think about what I’m doing with my online presence. I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on the sites I am using from now on!