Category Archives for Introductions
February 25, 2011
We had a great turnout last night for the first-ever pan-Canadian #hcsmca tweetup. Conversation was buzzing across the country from Halifax to Victoria and several other cities in between. I was lucky enough to be part of the Vancouver meetup along with 23 other people (I counted sometime around 7pm PST). The following are some of my reflections about the night that came to me in an inspired fit when I woke up this morning.
Social Media Takeaways:
- Major conversation threads included how best to target health professionals using social media (I’d be curious to hear from @robynsussel if her group came up with some solutions to this problem) and strategies for convincing management that social media is worthwhile (success stories, demonstrations, champions, external people).
- Most organizations actually have someone designated as their online community/communications person. This is a big step forward from even last year, which is reflected in the fact that many of these communicators are new in their positions. We are all still “learning by doing” which is great, and also a lot of fun!
- Excellent anecdote: box of condoms refilled at a downtown bar via Twitter. I know sometimes old tweets are hard to find, but if someone could dig this up it would be great
- @CIHC_ca is run on a distributed model. Around seven(?) volunteers have access to the social media platforms for CIHC, and all can tweet or blog. I didn’t know this was how it worked, but it is such a great case study for how to not only spread the work around, but also how to engage your community closely.
- @Michael_YouthCo and I talked around the balance of personal-professional. This is a perennial topic at social media events, I find, and it is embodied in his Twitter handle (name and organization in one). His experience is that the younger community YouthCo targets won’t bother if you are not completely yourself at all times, so YouthCo social media folks blend their personal/professional roles heavily on Twitter at all times. Right now, my impression is this is not the norm across many organizations, but I think it’s where we’re headed more and more everyday. The problem for organizations doing this is you need incredibly dedicated people who are willing to sacrifice some of their “personal” space online. Clearly, this is not YouthCo’s problem, and they are lucky to have the dedicated staffers that they do.
- The HIV research and non-profit community showed up big. Great to see them proportionally represented at the meetup, since HIV is such an important research focus in Vancouver and BC.
- Some HIV organizations have recently taken up the idea of changing their names if they include ‘AIDS’. Treatments have become so effective in recent years, that many patients do not progress into AIDS, so the orgs are trying to connect with their populations understanding that most are living with HIV, rather than AIDS.
- Additionally, HIV orgs have by and large been very successful in reducing the stigma of living with HIV. So much so, that at least a couple attendees last night working in mental health are hoping to replicate that success for their populations living with a mental health issue. This is a really needed push, and I hope they made some connections last night that will help inform their practice moving forward.
For next time:
- Many people mentioned using different platforms for different populations. The talk was very Twitter-focused, though, and I would be interested in branching a bit if we want to talk about other social media platforms and the success/challenges there
- Everyone agreed that we should meet again, and perhaps have some people involved get up to speak about their organization in a little more organized fashion. This sparked the idea that we could have a pecha kucha night with several different people giving short talks and then mingling afterward. I, for one, am very excited about this.
I really can’t put into words how great it is to have this community of people online and now in-person as well. We are truly building a community of practice not only in Vancouver, but across the country, and I am very impressed and happy with how social media has made this possible. We owe thanks to Colleen for fostering #hcsmca into a reality, and for dreaming up this crazy idea of a national meeting night. I can’t wait for the next one!
June 16, 2009
I have always quietly wanted to get in on the ground floor blogging, and always fancied myself as someone who keeps up on the latest trends (both fashionably and technologically speaking), but I also never felt I had much to say, or to put out there. It also took me a while to get over the fear of being “seen” on the internet. Granted this was all happening while I was in university, and may have been worrying about which of my parents’ friends would see me doing something untoward and could report back. This was also before the benefits of Web 2.0 technologies and having a public online persona were widely known.
But now, a few short years later, it seems strange that a second-year library student interested in the web wouldn’t already be blogging, and would not just now be starting to construct that all-but-absolutely-necessary web presence. But that is the case, and here’s why.
My goal with starting a blog in this day and age is to tackle some of the challenges that I face in library school by championing web 2.0 to a professional field that at times seems more than willing to accept it, and at times feels completely opposed to change. The feeling that by supporting social media in the library is somehow cheapening the Grand Tradition is one that is understandable, but ultimately unfounded. Rather, what this “library 2.0″ is allowing us to do as information professionals is evaluate and make known technologies and resources in the library, and online (and often both!), that can help our organizations and patrons gain improved access to new information, be more knowledgable about their research and any available services, and, hopefully, even have some fun in the process.
There are some perceptions of social media and web 2.0 in the library, however, that are hindering this process.
First is the perception that those librarians who do talk about social media are advocating 100% adoption of new technologies. This is simply not the case. There may be rather eager beavers among us, and the excitement that some emerging technologies bring out can easily be read as unflinching acceptance. However, I see it as our responsibility as information professionals to be aware of and, more importantly, to be able to articulate both the potential utility of social media as well as its pitfalls. This idea has its roots in information literacy, but it is also common sense. Not every new hot trend has a place in the library, but some might. And if information specialists can’t or won’t critically evaluate them to tell you which is which, then we have problem.
The second perception is the fact that the library is still only about books. I can see and believe that nostalgia in this profession is both potent and desirable. The Grand Tradition I referred to above is necessary to continue to justify many library programs, and there is nothing, in spite of my love for new technologies, that will replace the tactile and aesthetic pleasure of a book in your hand, or the excitement of finding the call number deep in the rows of expanded shelving. Nostalgia for librarianship itself runs even deeper. The Google takeover of the research process is a real (and scary) trend indeed, and it is a trap into which it is easy to fall. However, web 2.0 is not a book killer, nor is it undermining the librarian’s mandate of ensuring access to quality information for patrons. Instead, what it allows is a broad (and often free!) outlet to spread the library’s message. When social media and web 2.0 tools are understood, consciously selected and used effectively, they have real power to create and sustain library awareness and service.
So: here I want a sounding board for thoughts about how we, as a profession, can move forward responsibly while creating and advocating a conception of library 2.0. How can we improve attitudes and perceptions of social media in the library? And how can we ensure that, as information professionals, we maintain a level of compentency in web 2.0 (and beyond) that doesn’t take away from, but instead builds upon, the traditions and tangible value of library 1.0?
June 16, 2009
I just completed a course entitled Social Software Literacy, which was offered online through Rutgers’s School for Communication, Information and Library Studies. The course was inspired by the normal course of action when educating librarians (or anyone, really) on Web 2.0 tools: “here’s a list of tools that are out there, how to use them, and this is why they may be good or bad in the library.” It was a fun class to take, and ultimately rewarding especially due the blog writing that I did as a large part of the course requirements. The posts below, all categorized as Rutgers SCILS598, is the result of that blog. For more information on the course, you can peruse the wiki that served as our home base throughout the term.
Armed with that base of knowledge, I now want to delve a little deeper into the working of social media in a library context, and am being given that opportunity here on this new blog, as well as through other research-related work with colleagues at UBC, Dean Giustini and Allan Cho. So stay tuned.