I feel a bit guilty that I have not investigated Nings before. I have heard of them but never had a specific reason to be part of one. Ning is a platform for the creation of social networks or communities around a common interest. Ning has been been around for more than ten years.
I am a member of The Global Teacher Librarian Network but I am a lurker and not a participant. The Ning contains special interest groups, a forum, Twitter feeds, videos, photos blog posts and more. Currently they are promoting The Library 2.016 Worldwide Virtual Conference on October 6. INF532 assignment 2 and the time zone will prevent me from following this conference live but I will be accessing the recordings in the coming weeks.
I can see enormous potential for becoming more involved in this network. I am adding this Ning to my personal learning network and will endeavour to participate and contribute to the global community. I have made a start by sharing my INF532 artefact to the video section.
I signed up to LinkedIn last year and created a brief profile but did not use it or make any connections. Throughout this session I have been exploring LinkedIn as a possible tool to expand my personal learning network (PLN).
I now have 52 connections made up mostly of teacher librarians, librarians, CSU students and educators. I have fleshed out my profile a little bit but it still needs some more work. I looked at the profiles of my connections to get some ideas of what to include on my own profile.
I sent a LinkedIn message to fellow INF532 student and new LinkedIn connection Kathryn McGilvray and she kindly offered to have a chat to me about her experiences with LinkedIn using a Google Hangout. Although the hangout was to talk about LinkedIn we strayed to other topics and talked about our experiences studying online at CSU. It was wonderful to connect with another student and have a chat that was “face-to-face” but mediated by technology. Within Kathryn’s tertiary industry she finds different people on LinkedIn than Twitter. So far on LinkedIn I have connected mostly with people that I am already following on Twitter.
I have requested to join groups relating to school libraries and education but most of them are still pending weeks later. This indicates to me that LinkedIn may not be the preferred network for my sector. Teacher Librarians appear to be more active on Twitter. However it is early days for me and LinkedIn so I will persist and try and get into the habit of using it like I do with Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps in the near future these weak ties in my PLN (Pegrum, 2010) will prove useful and fruitful.
As a regular Twitter user I decided to explore TweetDeck to determine whether it would streamline my Twitter experience. TweetDeck is a dashboard application that helps users manage their Twitter account. Using columns, you can follow hashtags, individual accounts, lists, what is trending and more. I found this brief video useful in getting started with TweetDeck.
Before starting this subject I would scroll through my Twitter feed and check on a few favourite hashtags using the Twitter application. I had tried Hootsuite and knew about TweetDeck but only used them a couple of times to participate in Twitter chats. I decided to commit to using TweetDeck regularly to determine whether I should add it to my digital toolkit.
I set myself some Twitter goals at the start of the session:
reply to Tweets
participate in Twitter chats
use TweetDeck daily
Using TweetDeck made following hashtags very easy by adding columns. See image below. TweetDeck saves me having to search for hashtags over and over again. I can simply dip in and out of hashtags when I need to. After a bit of practice TweetDeck was also great for Twitter chats. I was very disappointed to find out that TweetDeck does not have an iPad app. You can use TweetDeck in a browser on mobile devices but an app would be more convenient. I still have not got into the habit of using TweetDeck on my iPad and tend to tap on the iPad app instead. There are other features such as scheduling tweets and managing multiple accounts that I do not use at this stage but I will take advantage of these if the need arises.
Click image to enlarge
Using TweetDeck has become a daily habit and is now part of my personal knowledge management strategy (Jarche, 2013). My Twitter goals seem easier to achieve using TweetDeck. One day something better or different may replace it but for now it fulfils its purpose of helping me to manage the Twitter flow.