Monday, 15 August 2011

Thing 12 - Putting the social into social media

Can't believe I have fallen slightly behind - AGAIN - with my 23 Things posts - apologies, it's been one of those weeks/months etc...

I think if you have read previous blog posts of mine, you will know all too well now that while I am fairly well-versed in using social networking on a personal level, I have struggled to incorporate it into my working life. That having been said, the very fact that I am taking part in cpd23 is in itself an indication of the value of social media in the workplace and in terms of professional development.

There is no doubt that social networking helps to foster the feelings of a community - certainly that is my experience in terms of the information world. Before I got involved with cpd23 and chartership (which was roughly all at the same time!), I felt like a fringe member of the legal information community, and as for the wider information community - well, I didn't feel like I belonged to that at all! However, as I have got more involved with CILIP and cpd23, my awareness of the wider library community has increased tremendously. Prior to this, I always held the belief that I didn't really 'belong' in any non-legal information communities - I suspect this is partly due to the fact that my various managers over the years have tended not to encourage wider community involvement.

Thanks to social networking, I have opened my eyes to the fact that there is a huge community out there and it is for all librarians, regardless of their specialist domain. Reading other cpd23 participants' blogs continues to be an excellent way of raising awareness and increasing my knowledge of what is going on in a number of different fields. It's interesting to read about how our professional experiences differ (and indeed overlap!), and being able to comment on each other's blogs brings another element of personal contact into it, which is great.

One of the most significant groups I have joined thanks to cpd23 is LIKE - London Information and Knowledge Exchange. I had no idea this group existed and now I have joined, I am amazed at the 'community' spirit that prevails in all the discussions, and the fact that they organise 'real world' meetups means that it's a real opportunity to get to know others from a whole range of backgrounds. LIKE is run on the LinkedIn website, and I think LinkedIn itself is a great example of how social networking can be used in the workplace. I must admit I still guard my privacy on there, and as discussed before, I don't put all my CV on there, just a little information, but since joining LIKE I have added a few more people to LinkedIn, which I am really pleased at.

I think social media definitely has a place in the workplace now - and while my particular workplace remains against it to a certain degree (no access to Twitter or Facebook), I think in time this will change, as the realisation dawns that so many people can be reached my these means. I do also find it somewhat ironic that our firm has set up a Twitter feed, yet in the UK at least, we can't access Twitter when we're at work...!!!

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