Monday, 25 July 2011

Online networks

Thing 6 is online networks, of which I belong to several. I currently find Twitter to be the most useful. I was an early adopter of Facebook, but lately I’m more likely to check in every few days to see what family and friends are up to, rather than several times a day as I would in the past. On the whole I find it is much less heavily used than it used to be, obviously not just by me but also by the friends that populate my news feed. If people don’t write status updates, or post pictures and links, the news feed doesn’t update, there’s no need to check it as frequently, which means I don’t add content as frequently, and the whole thing winds down. A social network is only the sum of its members’ activity. 

How much of this perceived fall off in user numbers is due to Facebook’s control over the content I see? For some time, Facebook has only shown content from friends you ‘regularly interact’ with, which makes this cycle of disuse more apparent. If I only regularly interact with 10% of my Facebook friends, and their use of Facebook decreases, that means very few news feed items for me. If anyone knows a way around this filtering of updates, I’d love to hear it.

Twitter is at the other end of the spectrum; it shows you every post from every person you follow, with no filtering. As a result, those I follow get culled very frequently as space in that feed is at such a premium. I brought Facebook habits to Twitter – thinking that I had to scroll back to the last comment I’d read before reading up to the most current post, which for a while made me quite overwhelmed and resentful of this ‘tool’ which was eating every spare moment I had. There is just too much content on Twitter to follow it all 24-7. I could use lists but have never found the time to organise this – in any case it would be the same number of tweets to read, just in different boxes. I try to keep those I follow under 200 – I could pare it down further but fear I would miss things. My interests range between archives, rare books, library advocacy, book history, digitisation, social media... many people only tweet about one of these things, so my net needs to be fairly wide.

I joined LinkedIn as part of Thing 3: online brands, as LinkedIn results feature highly in Google and I wanted to ensure a presence on a search for my name. I must confess to not having yet learnt how to use it effectively – I’m not job seeking so have little impetus to do so, but I have ensured that my CV is up to date so that anyone who does Google me is met with accurate information. I didn’t know that you could join groups, so I’ve joined 23 Things, CILIP, Archives*Open Network and Archives Professionals. I have been hesitant in adding people to my network – what’s the thinking on adding people you don’t know personally? Faux pas?

I joined LISNPN and Librarians as Teachers network. I had never heard of the latter and am very grateful for its existence. I’m expected to teach undergraduates and postgraduates as part of my job, but have never received any training in this area, which is one I can feel quite nervous about. I’ll explore these networks over the next week or so. I haven’t joined CILIP Communities as I‘m a member of the Archives and Records Association rather than CILIP, but ARA have a similar network in place which I have joined.

My colleague Helen Price-Saunders made a particularly astute point on her blog, that with the advent of the internet, the world of networking is a much easier place for the introvert to inhabit, and for this I’m very grateful!

1 comment:

  1. Hi that is very nice and popular article I thought a lot of Socialkik networking and how writers can best use it. One of my thoughts in recent times has been around for images to use on Facebook and Twitter.