So this week I've done a further forray into different online networks. At the moment the two online networks I mostly use are Twitter and Facebook. When I created my Twitter account I originally tended to use each for a different purpose - Twitter for library stuff and Facebook for personal stuff. There's now a blurry line between professional and personal for me, although this blurriness shows up more on my Twitter profile (where I will frequently end up talking about Game of Thrones, picnics, and most recently, Alan Rickman) than on my Facebook wall. Actually this has resulted in me using Facebook less and less over the last year. I'm also a member of LISNPN. I don't spend a lot of time on the LISNPN website, but follow forum discussions via RSS feeds, and then go to the site if something catches my interest.
For the Thing this week I'll stick to blogging about the online networks I use for professional purposes, so I'll ignore Facebook. I've talked about Twitter a lot before, so here are my thoughts on LinkedIn and LISNPN!
I've been feeling like I should have a profile on LinkedIn for a while now, and this Thing gave me the prod I needed to actually sign up. So here's my new LinkedIn profile, ta dah! I have to say I've found it a bit frustrating to edit so far. I uploaded my CV, but then had to edit it quite a bit as it didn't manage to extract everything I wanted on there. As I've been manually editing previous positions I've held, for some reason it keeps deleting the websites of the places I've worked in which is a bit baffling.
I'll have to spend a bit more time on my profile to get it looking how I want it, but I've got the basics on there for now. I'll have to snoop around a bit to check what the etiquette is on adding people to my network. If I know someone on Twitter is that a close enough connection to add them to my LinkedIn? Should I add fellow University of Cambridge librarians as "colleagues" or "friends"? I can definitely see the uses though. I've only joined the CPD23 and CILIP groups so far but there seems to be a fairly lively discussion going on in both those groups.
I signed up for LISNPN in September, on recommendation by Sarah, my predecessor at Newnham. I'll be imitating her and recommending it to next year's trainee! The resources section alone makes it totally worth while joining, as there's a really useful collection of anonymous reviews of library degree courses, example chartership portfolios, and guides on everything from using Twitter to getting published. There are regular LISNPN meetups (I am ashamed to say I have yet to make it to one of these!), which often tie in with conferences and other events. The forums can be a bit hit and miss (a #cliquegate thread was very popular, but other threads can be very quiet) but occasionally they will feature an interview with stars of the library world (so far the CILIP vice presidential candidates from the last election, and US librarians Bobbi Newman, Andy Woodworth and Buffy Hamilton).
Considering this is a fairly fledgling network, I think LISNPN has done very well to become such a useful resource so quickly. What would make it really great would be if the forum discussion was a bit more active, but having run a forum myself in the past I know very well this isn't something you can just snap your fingers and make happen!
I've heard it said that to improve your "brand" you should have a presence on as many social networks as possible. I disagree with this viewpoint - I'd much rather have a strong, consistent presence on a couple of online networks than (as would inevitably happen) have a patchy, irregularly update presence on a lot of networks. I simply don't have the time to be all shiny and up-to-date and professional on a lot of sites, and it's partly for that reason that I haven't begged an invite for Google+ yet. For the moment I'm quite happy with my existing networks, and I'll have to see if LinkedIn proves useful enough to elbow its way into the mix!