A reflective statement on your development as a social networker as a result of studying INF506, and the implications for your development as an information professional.
As I began this subject, I stated In my first online Journal (OLJ) entry that I was particularly interested in the transformative nature of social media; how information and ideas can develop when they are shared, discussed and interpreted (Riddle, 2016). However, as I progressed through the module, I also began to think more deeply about the process, the content and the impact of what we share. This was directly connected to my role as an information professional.
As a primary school librarian, I run the library’s Twitter page. The literature discussing Web 2.0 emphasizes inclusion and participation as key drivers for Library 2.0 (UC Berkeley Events, 2007, November 19) but by contrast, I am the sole contributor to the library Twitter page. I started considering how students and library staff could become contributors. The final module in this subject was very important in developing this idea in practical terms and how I could coordinate this in the future. I started to understand the importance of policies and guidelines to support a social networking strategy. I decided that for the next academic school year, I would include social media and networking in my yearly strategic plan; that I would set goals, and develop guidelines and policies so that they could be properly implemented with consistency across the platforms. Regarding my Twitter account for example, the guidelines could specify the contributors, the frequency of posts and the core messages that will be delivered.
Throughout the modules, I started thinking about social media in a wider sense – organizationally rather than just focusing on the library. Indeed, there is no coordinated whole-school social networking policy in my school. One issue which arises from this is that there is no consistency regarding social media presence. This means if someone leaves the school, there is no continuity of service to the platform. This could be quite negative for student engagement and from a school marketing perspective. The advantage of a coordinated approach however is evident in the literature which stresses the benefits of cross-promoting of social media accounts to increase the reach of the audience as well as presenting a synergetic school (LePage, 2014, Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014, p. 72).
In my first OLJ entry I stated ‘I think it is vital to think logically and rationally about the purpose and intended outcomes for using a particular social networking site’ (Riddle, 2016). My understanding of analytics made me start considering the value of assessing particular platforms after they have been adopted. As librarian, I use Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest accounts to share, communicate, collaborate and promote the library. Looking at the analytics was fascinating. While I previously understood the basics of analytics, in this subject, I was introduced to comparative tools to compare accounts which is something I would definitely adopt in the future. I also started looking at analytics in terms of informing future decisions and next steps regarding my social networking usage. For example, studying my Youtube account analytics, I realised that our views were concentrated around the upload date only. As our Youtube club is only in Term 3, it made me think about how we could begin regular uploads in order to gain more views, increase subscribers and most importantly, to keep the channel relevant.
Mapping out my Personal Learning Network (PLN) in module 4, I started reflecting on the multiple tools and networks I am part of personally and professionally, the interconnections, and the growing need to evaluate the tools I am using. I feel it is important to prioritise, as there are an increasing number of platforms continually emerging. Indeed, I reflected in my OLJ that I was trying to achieve Utrecht’s 5th stage of ‘balance’ in his model of PLN adoption (Riddle, 2016). This involves keeping an open mind and trying out new social networks but also critically assessing what works, and making decisions about the value of engagement that is experienced. Library users and followers of my social networking accounts are likely to experience similar feelings. I love the quote “Passion is what drives us to connect” (Ishizuka, 2010, p.32). I believe this is true and that we need to always keep in mind how to keep people connected. On a professional level, it is critical to have clear social networking goals, supported within a framework of policies, strategies and evaluation to keep people engaged.
Ishizuka, K. (2010). People Who Need People. School Library Journal, 56(2), 32.
LePage, E. (2014, October 29). How to create a social media marketing plan in 6 steps. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-plan/
Ramsey, E., & Vecchione, A. (2014). Engaging library users through a social media strategy. Journal of Library Innovation, 5(2), 71-82.
Riddle, K. (2016, November 19). INF 506 Assignment 1 OLJ first entry. In Kate loves books. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/kate/2016/12/27/creating-an-online-personal-learning-network/
Riddle, K. (2016, December 27). Creating an online Personal Learning Network. In Kate loves books. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/kate/2016/12/27/creating-an-online-personal-learning-network/
UC Berkeley Events. (2007, November, 19). Building Academic Library 2.0. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI