Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Thing 6 - Online networks

I've been using a number of online networks for a long time now. I started out on forums and progressed to MySpace, hideous thing that it was (you'll be pleased to hear I never had any background music on my profile, though I did have a custom background) before joining Facebook and other networks that I still use. Building on my previous post on reflection, I think the most useful way of approaching this thing for me will be to think about my current use, and consider some 'now what?' actions to improve my use of them.


I joined Facebook quite early on, when it was only for those with university email addresses. I've never really been a massive fan of Facebook though - I only really used it to find out what old school friends are up to for the first few years, and now I use it to contact people who aren't on Twitter or if I don't have their email address. I do manage a number of professional pages on Facebook, so I use those to update people who want to use Facebook for professional purposes. I've also recently been replacing most of the 'friends' I haven't seen for 10 years or so with the professional contacts I class as friends. I also have quite a few family members who I communicate with through Facebook.

Plan of action:

  • Consider purpose of using Facebook and adapt use as appropriate (probably for more personal updates than other professional networks)


I also use LinkedIn, but not regularly. I only really visit when I get a request to add someone as a contact, and though I'm a member of a number of groups and receive email updates of discussions I very rarely contribute.

Plan of action:

  • Update profile
  • Join in relevant conversations (possibly need to streamline group memberships and change frequency of emails)
  • Remember to update status at least once a month (with current projects or events)

CILIP Communities and ALA Connect

As a CILIP and ALA member (more on both of those in the next post), I have a profile on CILIP Communities and ALA Connect - again I don't really use these much and am more of an occasional lurker rather than an active contributor.

Plan of action:

  • Update profile on both networks
  • Add contacts on both networks
  • Look for interesting groups to join in conversations
  • Set up relevant alerts

Other professional online networks

I'm a member of a number of other online networks - things like LISNPN (I help manage the social media for this), LAT Network, and more recently the LIS DREaM network. I don't really ever log onto these and don't tend to join in the conversations.

Plan of action:

  • Consider relevance of membership
  • Investigate alerting options if considered relevant (does anyone know if you can access Spruz forums through the iPhone Tapatalk forum app?)

Last but not least, Twitter

Probably the main reason I'm not that active on some of the networks I am a member of is that I absolutely love Twitter and get most of my online networking needs from that. I follow over 1200 people on Twitter, and probably 95% of those are librarians (I do also use Twitter to communicate with some family and friends too). I don't necessarily read every tweet from every person I follow, I use private and public lists to manage Twitter. There are some people that I want to read every tweet from, so they all go into a private list that I use if I am too busy to read all tweets. I also use saved searches to follow tweets for certain hashtags I'm interested in.

Other than the lists I use and the saved searches, I treat Twitter as a conversation. If I'm online I'll join in and follow the conversation, but if I'm busy then I don't worry about checking. I might miss something, but if it's important I will find out about it later or through other means (emails, RSS etc.). I've already tidied up my lists as part of Thing 4, so I don't need to do anything with Twitter at the moment.

The future?

With any of these networks, it's the people that really make them valuable. If my network on Twitter moved over to Google+ (or any other tool), I'd move with them. I do definitely need a network that I can keep up to date with easily on the move though, so mobile access is important to me (which could possibly explain why I don't use some of the networks very much).


  1. I like idea of managing Twitter with private and public lists, I must look into that.

  2. I find them really useful - particularly as I use a number of different Twitter clients (depending on which computer/mobile I am using) and they all work well with Twitter lists.

    Phil Bradley wrote a really good blog post showing how to use Twitter lists which you might find useful.