11 July, 2011

Tweetin' marvellous RSS feeds, not so enamoured with Pushnote...

Actually the title is slightly misleading.

I have already expressed my undying love for Twitter and indeed use it every day. Incredibly useful, informative if not slightly distracting, it's actually how I start and end the majority of my days. I especially love the lists feature (it's the anal classifying freak in me).

RSS feeds similarly are a regular and convenient feature of my life, greeting me every morning from my iGoogle page. Both of these tools I was introduced to by 23 Things last year and I couldn't possibly do without.

Pushnote however... Errr... I don't see the attraction or point of it. Sorry! It sort of duplicates twitter and RSS feeds without the fun. If any users of Pushnote can convince me otherwise I would happily be converted, but for now, not impressed. Saying that I have signed up, and will probably have a stab at trying to enjoy it over the course of these Things...

10 July, 2011

Considering my brand

I did something at 7:10 am today that I haven't done for about 4 years. I googled myself.

First self-googling attempt: pleasingly nothing came up for the most commonly used, and personal variant of my name (hurrah for my Fort-Knox-like facebook privacy settings!). Phew, no dodgy photos or malicious gossip. Embarrassing moments hidden from public view - Tick!

Second self-googling attempt: my full name and the addition of the keyword "Cambridge" brought up a wonderful, if brief, entry in the 2003 CULIB which I had never been aware of (chronicling my widely-feared widely-anticipated move from part-time to full-time), and a second entry with a photo found on the PPSIS Library website. Not too shabby! Professional profile only on show - Tick!

Third self-googling attempt: using my online persona Lady Kenneth as the search term, my twitter account came as the fourth and fifth entries (after a car insurance company in the US, a Lady Gaga tribute video by some lovely chap named Kenneth and a preacher named Kenneth healing a lady) and this blog came fifth. Can't be too upset with that! However much I try, I don't think I will ever quite match Ms. Gaga's global popularity and relevance in any setting, professional or indeed sadly even personal.

I'm a great believer in anonymity on the web, personally it gives me the confidence to write honestly and with some humour, which I don't believe I could do under my actual name. My personal facebook account is completely locked down and hidden from view for exactly these reasons. I have only ever updated my facebook status a handful of times in the five years I have been a member as I just don't have the self-belief that others are/would be interested in the mundane details of my day.

I am the "admin" for the library facebook page and approach this by keeping the tone strictly professional and informative. Initially horrified at the idea of twitter, for I could not see why anyone would be interested in anything I was doing or reading, I have now completely fallen in love with it as an information dissemination tool. I chose to use my Lady Kenneth moniker to provide a semi-shield from view, but included a photo so that students knew that it was indeed a member of the library team. I think this works well as it is informal enough to converse with the students but the account's main purpose is to provide library/current affairs information. I have linked this blog and the twitter account by using an image from the library shelves as the wallpaper image and occasionally the same image is used as a profile pic on facebook.

I think I'm happy with my online brand but understand this may and probably will have to change as my career progresses.

Food for thought: I found this relevant post by a PPS alumnus, discussing the importance of recognising your cyber footprint and its possible implications for your future (or even current) career on his blog.

07 July, 2011


I've finally awoken from my personal development slumber to take a sneaky peek at other (far more proactive and diligent) participants' blogs. Reassuringly there are a few newbies, as well as the consummate and enthusiastic professionals that I usually follow and read (via Twitter) with a cup of tea and a slice of sponge.

A year ago I embarked on the Cambridge 23 Things programme @ Cambridge which forced me into introduced me to blogging for the first time. I'm still wary of blogging myself, but now use blogs daily as not only a source of entertainment (one of my favourite ways to waste 5 mins every couple of weeks) but to keep up to date with current affairs in and out of the library & information world. As mentioned earlier, I mostly come across blogs via the medium of Twitter, clicking through to new blogs nearly every day. Some I subsequently follow fairly religiously, others I will probably never view again. Which makes me ask "what do some blogs have, that others clearly don't?"

There are two types of blogs that I veer towards: either informative/provocative with excellent links and comments (some gentle humour included perhaps; a spattering of profanity sometimes appreciated) or the pure entertainment value blogs (shoes/cartoons/vitriolic moany types). I myself find it difficult to straddle any of these areas without feeling ridiculous, hence my coyness with my own blog.

I recently attended a lecture at the Engineering Department here in Cambridge entitled "Blogging & Social Media" to try and get my head around the reasons behind blogging and how to (hopefully) do so effectively. The presenters included a member of the Community Affairs Team (who deal with outreach) and one of the Naked Scientists/Skeptics in the Pub. Both seemingly prolific bloggers/tweeters. Both had the same message to make; blogging is a tool for pushing out information and digitally engaging with people who are seeking that information (comments/links). Most importantly the Naked Scientist (disappointingly not actually naked) pointed out that blogging can be and should be as social and representative of the body that YOU've decided to portray. NS guy also pointed out that in this day of social unrest, blogging gives the tax-paying public a great insight in to what you currently have to offer, which provides a certain amount of transparency and possibility for instant engagement and reaction.

The University uses Wordpress as their blog content management system. The clever templates seemingly remove the need to create whole new websites as everything can link in to that one easily managed blog. I know that the Judge Business School Information Service has done similar to great effect. Most importantly what I took away from this session is that blogging is perfect for outreach, no matter who your audience may be; should and can run alongside facebook and twitter accounts as forms of engagement and information dissemination; on a professional level is great for self-promotion without the restraints of the more traditional avenue of publishing.

Phewfff... Goodness, my first serious blogpost in about 11 months, all done before 7:45 am... Time for 10 minutes of Pilates and a nice cup of tea (and maybe a further perusal of the blogosphere)


13 June, 2011

It starts...

I never did finish 23 Things last year. I think I got about halfway and then never caught up! I'm hoping that this year will see a new, improved and far more enthusiastic me tackle all that the CPD23 programme has to offer...

I'm scared already!

25 August, 2010

Exploring Library Thing

Just had a quick look round Library Thing and have taken the tour... I like the idea of using this as an easy way to advertise our new books. It would hopefully maybe point users in the direction of the monthly accession lists for further information on the new stock, but seems like a good way to highlight a few cherry-picked titles.


I'll give setting up an account a go now!


Where to start?

What... have... I... learnt...?

The most surprising thing I've learnt about myself and Web 2.0 is that I'm far more IT literate and tolerant than I thought I was! Sure I love the internet for buying food, looking at shoes, reading bits of irrelevant gossip and fulfilling my insatiable need for information on ridiculous people such as Justin Bieber. However I'd always viewed the internet in a different light when it came to "proper work". That was just the catalogue, databases, and the prominent websites in the information world surely? No room for fun, photos and interaction! Cam23 has made me realise that libraries and the information world have become very sociable creatures, with many ways to interact with them and even more ways to extract very useful and specific information from them.

I have also been shown how to ORGANISE all this very useful and specific information so that I don't lose it in amongst my rather untidy bookmark collection, or as previously mentioned countless amount of self-addressed emails!

I'm looking forward to exploring the next half of the Thing experience, and using further applications that will prove useful to myself, the students and the other members of staff in the library. Finally I'm starting to feel like I'm catching up with the students and how they now approach their search for information...


Well... Luckily I remembered that I had set up a Delicious account about 3 years ago for the library. I had played around with it at the time, saving a few tags for our various disciplines, general University information, general information resources and other library catalogues. Originally this was to develop a "tag cloud" for our library website... As with all good intentions it soon fizzled out owing to the start of the academic year, lo and behold we've had a further two and I haven't developed it further!

However, revisiting the account was enlightening... The style and layout of Delicious had changed, a cleaner and far more visually appealing platform awaited me! It's still an easy process to add tags and organise them. I will spend some time inputting more of the information already on our website and adding more links to new resources that I've now been exposed to via Cam23 (blogs, twitter, facebook and netvibes accounts of interest etc.)

It's actually inspired me to set up a personal account also (I'd always meant to do that), as I do hate realising that the link I saved for "that pair of shoes I desperately need to drool over" is on my home pc when I'm on my lunch break, and vice versa. It will put an end to my many self-addressed emails whose content amounts to a piddly link or two that seem to clog up my inbox...