Thing 4: Current awareness – Twitter, RSS and Storify #CPD23

It has been a while (5 months in fact), but I have decided to restart #CPD23 as I feel it is a very useful CPD activity. Last years #CPD23 entries towards the end became quite negative, which really isn’t me, so these will be more positive

Current Awareness is something I have a strong passion for both in my professional position and as a professional, if that makes sense.

Professionally – current awareness provision to my organisation is a key component of my role. The library blog here – http://boltonpctlibrary.wordpress.com/ is the current awareness hub for the library and I actually use RSS feeds to manage the flow of information (I collate over 50 different sources and the appraise the results on a daily basis). RSS feeds are wonderful for this. Unfortunately my organisation actually blocked them, so I use Google i-reader as a way round that! I also use RSS feeds as one of my main current awareness tools for my personal professional development – you can view that here: http://www.google.com/reader/bundle/user%2F15015666129539122904%2Fbundle%2FLibrary_Michael%27s%20EBP%20Feed

I am quite a big proponent of Twitter, as a communication, as a marketing and as a current awareness resource, again both within my professional role and for myself in a ‘profesonal’ capacity, if you will. Professionally, I represent both the library service and the JSNA website – Bolton’s Health Matters. As a professional, I tend to use Twitter as an ad-hoc resource for current awareness, as it can be harder to spot. I should use the list functions more (I do on the other Twitter accounts). I feel Twitter is useful for finding the hidden gems within best practice rather than a standard resource.

I have only signed up to Storify for Thing 4, and I have to say my first impressions are very positive. I have seen a lot of people use it, but I was not sure whether it would be for me or would it be another Quora! I can see uses for it as an alternative way to share current awareness for my users and my own needs, though I would be interested to see if it can be ‘linked’ to wordpress (which it seems to export quite easily. If this is the case, then that is wonderful). I think it would be useful for narrative pieces and especially reflective pieces. It also seems like a potentially interesting way to produce case studies. I will have to play. Thank you Thing 4!

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#CPD Thing 4

A belated Thing 4 post today. This is going to be incredibly brief. I’m not even going to cover Twitter as I believe I covered it in my Thing 3 post.

RSS

I use RSS both professionally and personally, though I do not believe it as well as I could. Professionally, I use it to inform services and also to promote services . I cannot  get users to see the wonderfulness of RSS however! Personally – I do not follow anyone individually, though I feel I should (possibly Phil Bradley for work technology), but I do have a ‘LIS’ feed which I check regularly. I believe I could use it more and be more proactive with it.

Pushnote

I have never tried pushnote before, and in fact I had never even heard of it! The first impression was ‘No IE??’ Despite what you think about the Internet Explorer – it is such a prominent brand, it must turn people off straightaway. I can’t use this at work. I can’t promote it as a useful work tool (if it is).

That issue aside, I registered & downloaded app, and waited. Nope that was it. Right. Too add people I basically searched for everyone I who was in my Tweetdeck ‘mentions’ column for this week, the ones who were on pushnote anyway. And then I waited. Nope that was it.

At this time, I fail to see the point. As a useful sign posting tool, I could possibly see the benefits, but I would much prefer circa 2008 Delicious. In fact I would still prefer 2011 Delicious. Again, in theory I understand the ranking system, but isn’t that open to abuse and in this case, at this time pointless? I liked how a lot of other people had also tried it out on the #CPD23 page as well J. This is a tool that has not impressed me initially. I need to give it time. I will give it a month, but without its IE capability I am not sure, at this time and its minimal coverage. Maybe I should be a later comer to the pushnote party.

Not the most positive post I know! Hope to have Thing 5 up at some point in the next few days.

Michael


CPD23 – Thing 3. With bits of Thing 4 and Thing 6 also thrown in. Talking about myself in the 3rd person, and comparing myself to Batman

*a quick pre-cursor – I have had terrible problems with wordpress when writing this post. Could not sort the format/font issues out. Also apologies for spelling and grammar, it was almost unworkable at points*

I was actually going to write a similar blog post to this after the New Professionals Conference on the 20th June 2011, but luckily I checked what has happening in #CPD23 After taking part in the Suzanne Whitely’s very excellent session on online branding it was quite clear that I have quite a unique, some would say convoluted online set-up. I think this is because I have sole responsibility for the library’s online presence, that it often becomes entangled with mine. I will try to keep this post as focused to the CPD23 guidance as possible.

Name Used

The name used is arguably the most important cog within the brand, and I quite frankly stumbled upon mine one day, I just fancied a change on Twitter. I can’t remember what it was before, but in the past I have used redrum003, which was something based upon The Shining, the number being incidental. My actual real name – Michael Cook is not the unique and library_michael kind of sums up who I am. With no real evidence to support my claim (a case of not looking rather than unable to find any) I believe that your brand name is important

“Lisa : Names aren’t important, Bart. A rose by any other name is still a rose.
Bart : Not if they were called stench-blossoms.
Homer : Or crapweeds.
Marge : I sure would hate to get 12 crapweeds for Valentine’s Day. I’d much rather have candy.
Homer : Not if they were called scumdrops.”

Photograph

Up until Suzanne’s workshop, I had not, especially with regards to Twitter, paid much heed to what my photo was and how it represented me. I did not change it often, but it is not always been a picture of me. On Twitter alone, I have had a picture of Milhouse, some of the cats and even one of me, with my most distinguished feature (my lovely ginger hair) covered. I will admit that I am not photogenic in the slightest. I am either looking miserable or pulling some awful face. I have somewhat decided on the following picture as the default picture as it’s not too horrid. In the full picture I am holding a cat.


Professional/Personal Identity

This is where it starts to get complicated. My online identity is very much a mish-mash of professional and personal, with the two entities becoming ever intwined. Like Batman. Also like Batman, I am not a scientist. I have tried to work out what is the best way to summarise my online ‘brand’ is by this basic Zen diagram:

In a bit more detail I have:

  • 2 Blogs: One of these is a signposting blog for work – it can be accessed here. The only reason I include this is because it is under the same ‘master account’ as my personal blog. I am aware this needs to be rectified but am waiting until the expected library developments occur in the next few months. The other blog (where you are reading this!) was started as an attempt to blog more professionally, but often lapses into the silliness that would be ‘just Michael’ 2 Twitter accounts: @NHSBoltonLib1 is tied to the library blog, and is used as a signposting tool really. I do not think that the library’s core user groups would see it as a viable communication tool at this time. The other twitter account is probably the closest I get to ‘profersonal’.
  •  2 Facebook accounts: The personal account – ‘Facebook 1’ is for non library/work friends and family only. This is truly a ‘just Michael’ feature. There are pictures of Laura and I on here, and other things people at work have no need to see or read about. If everyone was on twitter, I would probably have a separate account for friends and family on that as well! I limit any connections between people on the two accounts as well. ‘Facebook 2’ account is for everyone. Seriously, add me as a friend. I will accept. I try to be ‘Library_michael’ on this, the very definition of “profersonal”. Not officially representing the library, but the online version of the person who works there.
  • Linkeden – I do not pay this enough attention. Although a pure ‘Library Michael’ account, this is as professional as possible.
  •  Last FM – I only really include this as I use the name ‘library_michael’ and have a couple of library buddies on this. My profile can be viewed here . I do love music.

Although this is complicated I never on any format: criticise work, management or the organisation; swear too much (unlike in real life – where my northern working class up bringing lets me down on a regular basis) . Simply put – if it is something I would not want my line manager or a senior member of staff to read, then I do not put it in on. I also have numerous accounts on different websites and forums – though with these, I never represent ‘the library’ in an official capacity.

Visual brand

This is something I do not do consciously. I do not believe I have a visual brand.

Activity

Searches for ‘library_michael’ tend to be about me for the first couple of pages anyway on Google. On Bing it’s a mix from the first page of results onwards This isn’t the best sign, but then the words “library” and “Michael” are not unique even when separated by an underscore. A search for ‘Michael Cook’  brings up results on the historian, the architect, nothing about the librarian! A search for ‘Michael Cook Bolton’ brings up Michael Bolton, so less said about that the better.

This area does need a lot of work, and could probably be simplified quite quickly. Upon reflection, I should really spend sometime really assessing what i want to sell when I am online, as my behaviour is not an issue, maybe just how it is gotten across.

 

UPDATE

Because I, quite frankly can’t be arsed writing another post for Thing 6, I thought it best just to update this one! earlier in the original post i mentioned my involvment on Linkeden, and much like the others who were at the #CPD23 Manchester Meet-Up, its something I probably do not use enough (and don’t real feel I miss out by not doing). As for the others I am a member of LISNPN, but aside from introducing myself, I haven’t contributed. I prefer Twitter and the use of this Blog really. I don’t really bother with CILIP online, because its CILIP basically.

 

Where I cross the #CDP23 and #NPC2011 streams

One of the most interesting presentations for me personally at the New Professionals Conference was Megan Wiley’s excellent piece on working in a less traditional role within a library profession. This intrigued me because, although a Library Manager, and based within a library (within a library), I sit within our Public Health Intelligence Team, and I face and  have faced similar challenges to what Megan does.

How does this link to CPd23 though I hear you ask? One of Megan’s way round this was to show what she does and sell her ability and skill-mix to her colleagues. It is this point I believe is vital, because this sharing of skills, ability and knowledge intra-professionally is a core element to professional development, as it can open up avenues into new ways of working or just improve how you do day-to-day activities.

I am very lucky because  as I have access to a very strong regional network that offers peer-support and advice plus the sharing of best practice by other library practitioners and managers.  I would hope that this is available across sectors nationwide (globally), but I am not foolhardy to think that it is. In looking through the CPD23 programme, I saw nothing directly linked to sharing of best practice – though no doubt will naturally occur as it already will.

I am glad a didn’t start a new blog purely for CPD 23. So many of the very excellent Thing 1 posts i have read also contemplated  it. Over the course of CPD23 I am hoping to put examples of best practice from my professional activities (for examples of personal best practice check out the Mexican lasange recipe…), that I hope people will find useful.  Some of these will be developed from best practice elsewhere. I am also going to put a summary of what different areas and types of work I do. I do not consider myself an expert in a particular field (but I may know someone who is) but I would say I am very practical and pragmatic and have used almost nothing to produce something of worth of value that makes an impact (if only I could measure it). So if anyone would like to discuss any aspects of these – or even offer improvement just reply to something I post or get in touch with via the details here.

Michael

 P.S. Seriously, buy the Bon Iver album. Life is better with Bon Iver in it.

Thing 1- Blogs and Blogging (or how Michael gets his blogging groove back)

Here it is… My first blog post as part of the CPD23 movement.  If you are not aware of this, click here for more information. And sign up!

Before I look at why I am partaking in the very excellent CPD23 project i will quickly address the title of this post. I intended this blog to be my blog that mainly focus on me as the ‘information professional’ with possible occasional posts of a more personal nature. However, mainly due to a lack of confidence, I have (and go back through previous posts if you don’t believe me) almost exclusively tended to blog about personal things, and many of those have been very silly. My life is neither interesting or dramatic enough for that.

With that out-of-the-way onto why I have decided to CPD23 this time:

  1. I recognise the importance of CPD as a developmental tool. Continued Professional Development is key to the evolution of a professional in any field, and as an information professional, this is no exception. Although it may not be mandatory as in other professions – working in a health library Nurses spring to mind almost immediately, it is still vital. Without it I would stagnate and be cut adrift from future trends. It is a way to ‘future proof’ my role.  In my case in particular, despite not being shy in telling the world how great I am, being the senior library member of staff  with no prior library management experience.  Feeling quite let down with what the Masters course I am  currently partaking in has offered me, CPD23 can hopefully allow me to develop. The correct CPD can only positively impact me and in turn the library service. And its all about impact.
  2. It will allow me to further develop the skills of reflection and analysing where i need to develop or highlight gaps in my learning, and how best to meet these needs. It is not good enough to wait for a course that seems useful or would give me the piece the paper to confirm skills I already have.
  3. Develop links to other information professionals. As commented on earlier, I am the senior library person  within the organisation. I have a fantastic line manager who offers support and advice where he can, but in certain library specific areas, he admittedly sometimes lacks the professional knowledge. I am doubly blessed as within the region, we have a very strong CPD and support network, but CPD23 will not only link me to other health information professionals, but also individuals whose experience in other fields can offer perspectives I may not have considered.
  4. I have just started the chartership process and believe that CPD23 will go a long way in helping me achieve chartered status. I truly believe that I do not lack the overall skills or ability to succeed as an information professional, but CPD23 in conjunction with my chartership adventure will go a long way in making me  more rounded, and eventually better at what I do.
  5. My interest was piqued last year in the 23 things project when there was Twitter discussion on how it was being rolled out and performed in, (I think) Portsmouth or Hampshire Public Libraries (apologies if i have got the details wrong). Hearing Helen Murphy discuss it at the New Professionals Conference only strengthened my interest and desire to contribute!
  6. Its Free. I work for the NHS. Enough Said

So there are 6 quick reasons as to why I am taking part, and come back and revisit this, as no doubt, when i have completed ‘Thing 2’ I will no doubt have seen other people’s reasons for CPD23’ing and taken them as my own.

Let me know what you think.