Home > Online identity, Online networks > Thing 12 of 23 – Putting the social into social media

Thing 12 of 23 – Putting the social into social media

In the 12th of the 23 Things for Professional Development online course, we’re asked to discuss “putting the social into social media.”  Some of the suggested topics to consider are:

  • are there any other advantages to social networking in the context of professional development than those already outlined below?
  1. social networking can lead to better communication between individuals who may or may not have the chance to meet otherwise
  2. it creates a more collaborative working space as people are encouraged to share ideas
  3. it aids in building online communities, which can then turn into real-life communities. This was highlighted by Things 6 and 7 of CPD23. During week five of the program many real-life and virtual meet ups were organized by participants, taking an online community into the real world
  4. social networking can provide easy access to other fields of the profession.
  • can you think of any disadvantages?
  • has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally?
  • did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? Will you keep using it after the programme has finished?
  • in your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?

Another advantage not listed above is fostering communication among committees created off-line, who may meet face-to-face once in a while, which have been created for a specific purpose, and a social networking space continues the work of the committee without the cost and time of travel.  In my specific case, our state library and district offices state-wide are undergoing a reorganization, and I’ve resuscitated two advisory councils, one for children’s librarians and one for young adult (teen) librarians.   These groups will serve in advisory capacities, helping to determine continuing education needs, engaging in advocacy, and fostering relationships and encouraging professional development among the youth services librarians  in the geographic areas which they represent.  This is essentially the reverse of point three, with a specific purpose for point two.

CPD23 has given me the impetus to connect–and in some cases reconnect–with colleagues around the U.S.–and in a couple of instances, internationally.  This is particularly true within LinkedIn, a tool I haven’t used much, as much of my connecting, even among friends I’ve come to know through my profession, is through Facebook.  I’m enjoying the conversations in LinkedIn on the discussion groups I’ve joined, although I have little time to engage in the conversations.  It’s also helped me to reconsider the use of Twitter, although I’m still looking for specific ways of using Twitter for professional communication.  I also have begun looking at Library 2.0 in a new light as well, although again–time limitations are the problem here.

Yes–social networking definitely helps to foster community–as well as a sense of community.  The more time I spend in social media settings, the more my identity changes and expands to include my online personae, as I have several of them, depending on the network in which I’m operating.  This is not to say that I falsely present myself–just that I present different aspects of self and develop or expand relationships in different ways.  I belong to a “secret” group on Facebook that is great fun and is very important to me in terms of my relationships with people in the group, most of whom I have known for more than 20 years, but are people I don’t see regularly.  We keep in touch through this group and are getting together face-to-face in the near future.  The face-to-face get-together wouldn’t have happened without the Facebook group.

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