#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


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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 2’ – Friends of Ours #cpd23

These are the blogs I have visited, enjoyed and in some cases contributed to as part of Thing 2 for CPD23. I originally looked out for other health library folk, but have since branched out into an almost scattergun approach, looking for people from different sectors and people I may not know. This was made a lot easier, after discovering the ‘delicious’ link after reading growth of a librarian blog. It was correct, my knowledge grew ! So a ‘gentle shoulder charge’ in their direction if you will:

I do not know if these blogs are the best or even the worst of ‘Thing 1’. There was theme’s of trepidation, but in a positive way, a willingness to commit and to learn. A few people,  had tried blogging previously like myself, and maybe saw it is as the new beginning in this respect. Something else that struck me was how well crafted, not just in words, but by design and unique these blogs were, from the very intricate and detailed (too detailed for my work computer) to very formal minimalistic set-ups – all brilliant! They make me want to better myself, not only the visual layout, but also how i craft my blogs. That is a good thing.

Of these that I have read, not one person seemed unhappy about the cpd23 or gave the impression they were not fully committed to it.

I look forward to seeing how we develop week by week. My goal is to at least comment, in a meaningful way on most, if not all of other contributors blogs.

If you feel I would benefit from reading your blog – leave me a message and I will check it out.

Michael

#npc2011 Talking Point – Are New Professionals too Cliquey? One Perspective

There has been a lot of brilliant posts covering the entire day at the New Professionals Conference from Hulme Hall, Manchester on 20th June. Because of this, I thought I would focus on a few of the points that stood out for me from both the presentations and workshops. This topic came from the very excellent presentation from Rachel Bickley discussing establishing dialouge with more experienced professionals. When examining perceptions of new professionals by these more experienced, among all the positive feedback, there was the comment that new professionals seem to be ‘cliquey’ (apologies for the taking out of context to the nth degree).

Before I start I need to clarify 2 things:

  1.  This is by no means is attempting to be a complete piece of work, rather hopefully a discussion piece based upon my own opinion. People more coherent and lyrical than me, will be covering this in the upcoming days. It will be almost solely based upon my own personal anecdotal evidence. I have, where possible, hidden names as I don’t want to embarrass or fall out with people, as i may still work with some or do so in the future! It is not intended to be a spiteful piece as these experiences have in no way harmed me long-term, and upon reflection have made me stronger as a professional. If you do recognise yourself and want to rebalance the side please leave a comment and i will be happy to communicate.Or fight you at the bus stop after School. Which ever suits really.
  2. I honestly do not really view myself as a ‘new professional’ despite fitting into the description. I have worked full-time in Libraries for almost 8 years, the past 3 years as a service manager (and most senior ‘library’ person in the organisation). Before that for I performed many tasks that are associated with a clinical librarian role, in conjunction with more traditional ‘library assistant’ tasks.

Now once Rachel said that, my first impression was ‘that’s correct’ and thought about the NP ‘twitterati’ as well as those very few I have personally encountered. Very closed exclusive groups, not very open to new ideas, or especially new people. A text-book definition of a clique. However, behind that impression was a few thoughts:

There are always cliques within a workplace – be that inter-organisation or intra-organisational.It is by no means library specific:

  •  People being driven from a position (in fact two people, after one had replaced the other) purely because ‘they did not fit’. This was a healthcare position. These perpetrators were not ‘new’.
  • A  large, very ‘political’ office had to be re-arranged because of the different clique’s and the issues that this was bringing. Where genuine complaints were made because individuals were no longer sat near their friends! Again these were not new professionals.
  •  A library specific example – A group of library staff only operated between themselves. They ate together, sat together. mass-desicions, the same way without fail.On one very memorable occasion I was made to feel very uncomfortable at a meeting where it was basically this group and me. I made attempts, but was ignored. Sat on a table on my own drinking coffee before and at the break. These were not new professionals, these were senior and had made a decision to exclude me and others before and after me – without the excuse of being ‘new’. There were other ‘political’ reasons they excluded me. I still don’t believe I am viewed as an equal by those from the group that remain.

Though not entrenched within a new professional society or activity I have never heard of anything like even remotely close to these examples. I am also positive that these happen all over the library community and in different communities beyond that.

So why are new professionals (even by one person) viewed like this and why did I originally agree with the statement?

Is it because they are a close-knit group of friends? Does that mean they are a clique? If so, anybody who has partaken in the MA Library and Information Management course at MMU in the past 2 years (especially the 2nd year), should probably view me as a part of clique. I probably would. I saw groups/cliques within the full-timers. Us? A small group – always sat together, went out for lunch/socially together (and really never invited anyone), did group work together – made in-jokes, kept to ourselves. It wasn’t because we thought we were better than everyone else – we just had a similar approaches to the course, felt the same way about it (it was shite), in the same classes, no integration ever really took place etc. We were a peer support network.

New professionals may have met at Library School, or just maybe are experiencing similar things, dealing with similar issues and just prefer and have been drawn to those people within their support network. This is how you make friends in the real world. It can be difficult to approach someone who being an information professional aside, you have no connection to, especially if networking is not a strong suite. If they can find a support network, a comfort zone or just a bit of protectionism and reassurance from like-minded folk. is this wrong? Is it just strength in numbers? I think as long as you evolve that network as you develop I would not class it as cliquey. How much of the advocacy work going on in public libraries at a local level would happen without this network.

There is also the fact that if a group dynamic works, in a professional sense, why change it? Again within the region there are specific groups and when pieces of work come up – they have the prefered people to work with. Is that wrong? Is a sub-community of practice cliquey? Not all the time in my opinion. You can have this at any level, at anytime. If you find people who you work well with – good. Is that what a team is? As long as it is not at the detriment to overall purpose.

If you have gotten this far, thank you for reading, this really became a stream of consciousness! Overall I can understand why new professionals could be perceived that way, but as a kind-of outsider, I would not class them that way. Mean Girls we/they/us/them are not!

Let me know what you think – am I wrong, have I missed anything?

p.s. Buy the Bon Iver album!