New professionals - build your network using social media

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Professional networking is an important part of any career, but is particularly important at the beginning of a career to develop knowledge and build contacts within the profession. With the …

Professional networking is an important part of any career, but is particularly important at the beginning of a career to develop knowledge and build contacts within the profession. With the development and growth of social media and Web 2.0 technologies, professional networking can be achieved virtually as well as physically.
As a keen blogger and microblogger since 2007, I hope to share my experiences and some useful tips on building an online professional network. The session will begin with an introduction to social media, followed by practical examples of how blogging and microblogging can be used to build and expand your professional network and bring opportunities for development. The second part of the workshop will be more practical in nature, promoting sharing of useful resources and contacts as well as tips for how to get the most out of social media.
The focus of the session is for new professionals as I will discuss my own experiences as a new professional, but anyone is welcome to attend.

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  • Introduction and welcomeWho am I?New professional, currently working in a subject librarian role at University of WolverhamptonKeen user of web technologies both for professional activities and personal activitiesBlog regularly at JoeyanneLibraryanneTwitter as joeyanne
  • OverviewWhat is social media?Benefits of professional networkingMy experience of networking with other library and information professionalsHow to build your own networkTop tips for promoting your accounts and getting the most from professional networking
  • Definition of social media?User-created contentPublished and shared in a social environmentIncludes things such as blogging, microblogging, and social networking.You should all have completed the cards on your seats, but if I could just have a show of hands:Writes a personal or professional blog?Subscribes to blogs?Has a microblogging account? (Twitter, ...)Has a social networking account? (Facebook, LinkedIn)Nielsen Online produced a report last year demonstrating that blogging and social networking are now more popular online activities in the UK than e-mail.
  • A blog is a type of website with regular entries (called posts) arranged chronologically. Blogs can be used in a number of different ways; to share resources, experiences or views; to report on new services or ideas; as a news tool; or as a reflective tool. Open source blogging tools such as Wordpress and Blogger enable users to set up blogs with minimal technical knowledge. Many new professionals use blogs to track career progress (for example during their studies or throughout the Chartership process). Subscribing to the blogs can provide insight into the profession, enable learning from their experiences, and lead to conversation in blog comments. The comment string of a blog post can be as interesting and insightful, if not moreso, than the blog post itself.
  • Microblogging is similar to blogging, but uses short pieces of text up to 140 characters (same length as a text message). Microblogging can also be used for a number of purposes such as sharing links, points of view, current work/ideas, or as a conversation tool. Microblogging tool Twitter has gained popularity recently, and its potential as a networking tool is being realised.
  • Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Academia.edu and Ning) are used in a more traditional network building way. Each user has their own profile page which includes items such as general/career information, photographs, links to other online accounts (e.g. blogs, Twitter), and updates of activities. Contacts can be added as “friends” to keep up to date, and groups can be created/joined to share resources and encourage conversation. At the time of writing, Facebook was the second most visited site in UK (Alexa, 2010).
  • Over to you now – I’d like to get together with the people around you and discuss some of the benefits that you think you gain from professional networking – they could be things you’ve already experienced or just potential benefits. The counter will let you know how much longer you’ve got and we’ll feed back in 5 minutes.
  • As a new professional, networking is an essential skill to learn. Introduce Ramsey paper. List how professional networks can be used according to Ramsey.Of particular importance to new professionals is that professional networking can also be used to market yourself and your skills...Networking can be done in many different ways – using traditional means such as events and conferences, through work colleagues, as well as social media that we’re focusing on today.
  • So when you put social media together with professional networking, it certainly makes me very happy. This is mainly through the work that I’ve done as the JoeyanneLibraryanne persona which I’m going to talk more about now.
  • In June 2007, I started writing my own blog, JoeyanneLibraryanne, which I planned to use to jot down any thoughts about the profession as well as charting the progress of my distance learning course. The blogging process has become integrated into my reflection time – if something interesting happens at work, I find a useful tool for librarians, read an interesting book/article or attend a conference/event, I write a blog post about it. The process of writing blog posts help me bring together my thoughts and share useful resources. As more people read the blog, I particularly enjoyed the conversations that took place within the comments. People engage in debates on topical issues, or offer advice and potential solutions to any problems mentioned on the blog. Blogging has expanded my network as other professionals read and comment on my blog posts or contact me via the blog. The comments I find particularly interesting, it really adds a lot to the conversation and can spark some great debate, particularly if it’s a controversial topic!If you want to set up a blog...
  • To help build your network, it’s useful to subscribe to other blogs, get to know other bloggers, and join in the conversation by commenting on posts you find interesting. I use Google Reader to manage my RSS feeds from blogs and news sites.One of the largest resources of UK library and librarian blogs is the UK Library wiki. This includes links to and information about individual blogs, group blogs, library blogs, corporate blogs, and chartership blogs from UK. Definitely worth a visit to start you off!If you’re not sure which of these might cover your interests (there are a lot on the wiki now!), you may wish to use the custom search engine which I set up to search for terms you are interested in to narrow down the blogs (you can also then restrict to library blogs, or librarian blogs). Another tool you may find useful is a bundle of blog feeds I made which includes 16 blogs written by new professionals or library students in UK. If you are interested in following these you can click subscribe once and subscribe to them all in one go. You’ll also find that as you continue your adventures, you’ll discover more and more blogs to follow and you subscriptions will grow. You may also find out about recommended blogs through other social networks, or through links from people’s blogs to their other networks.
  • In 2007 I joined Twitter, the popular microblogging service. Initially I was unsure of the usefulness of the tool, but as more people joined Twitter I began to see the power of the community (which some refer to as the Twitterverse). Information professionals are often early adopters of such technologies, and I soon built up a network to follow. My network on Twitter grows almost every day as I discover more tweeting librarians. I find Twitter incredibly useful for networking; it gives an insight into both professional and personal lives of fellow librarians, and is another way of keeping up-to-date on new developments as they unfold. Last year, I participated in CILIP’s Web 2.0 Open Session via Twitter. The aim of the session was to discuss ways CILIP could use Web 2.0 technologies, and in order to engage with the community, members were encouraged to follow and participate in the discussion via Twitter. The Twitter posts from the community were fed into the event via a screen, so they could form part of the discussion at the event despite the geographical distance. More and more events (including this one which has the official tag of “exeter10”) are being covered on Twitter by delegates enabling people who can’t make the event still able to follow and occasionally contribute questions.
  • So, once you’ve got yourself set up with a Twitter account, you can then start finding people to follow.As a starter, Phil Bradley set up and administers a TweepML list of UK librarians on Twitter which currently has 247 members which you can add all in one go.If that’s a bit too much, you may prefer to look for people you already know initially, and then you can also use their lists to find people you might also be interested in following.I’ve found a lot of contacts with similar interests to mine by setting up saved searches for certain keywords or conference hashtags – you’ll see updates from anyone using these terms, even those you don’t currently follow (as long as their account is public), and may find other people to start following.You can also use Twitter lists which is a relatively new feature which enables anyone to set up public or private lists of people to help manage their stream (I use a private list of my favourite people on Twitter to make sure I never miss an update from them). Public lists can be used to keep an eye on people in that list, without necessarily following them all individually. I’ve set up a list for this conference which you may wish to follow to see tweets from people attending the conference, and of relevance to new professionals, I’ve also set up a list of people attending the CDG New Professionals Conference next month, which you might like to keep an eye on.
  • So now you know how to follow other people, and hopefully some of them will want to follow you back – so how do you promote your accounts so that others can easily find them?Anywhere you would find others – make sure your accounts are there too! Add your blog to the UK Library Blogs wiki, and add your Twitter username to the TweepML list. Include your links in your email signature, and link your other accounts from each one (your blog from your Twitter account, your Twitter username on the homepage of your blog). You may like to create a networking card like I have – this way at events such as this you have an easy way of letting people know your networking details. These have come in really useful for me – I take them with me whenever I go to a networking event and they’re always to hand in case I meet new people. As well as having links from your accounts to other accounts, it’s also useful to set up automatic links so that, for example, each time you write a new blog post it will publish a link to your Twitter account. This way, everyone that follows your Twitter account will also be aware of your blog and when it has been updated. I have to confess I check Twitter more regularly than Google Reader, and I’m far more likely to find people’s blogs posts quickly via Twitter.The last three points aren’t directly related to promoting your accounts, but I think they’re important to help build a stronger network and encourage people to follow your blog/Twitter and be interested in your views.Engaging in conversation is important, your network is a community and you need to participate to get the most out of it. This will enable people to get to know you better, and may also lead to more followers if you find people are interested in your views. Content is the key with these tools, particularly blogs, and you’ll attract more followers by ensuring your content is fresh and unique, and also something you’re passionate about. The voice of a blog is far more appealing if the writer is passionate about the subject, and it will also ensure you stay interested in it and any resulting conversations.
  • If you put a lot of time and effort into networking, you’ll also get a lot out (e.g. invitations to collaborate on conference papers, author journal articles).Through my own networking I have learnt about new developments, been invited to write a guest blog post for UK Web Focus, contributed to a conference paper for Bridging Worlds 2008 (which has since been published in Program), written articles for ALISS Quarterly, Open Access, and Refer and been put in contact with some key professionals, some of whom I have gone on to meet in real life. I also feel like part of a community and have a network of professionals I can turn to for support, advice, opinions and entertainment.
  • Over to you now – I’ll address some of the questions you’ve asked via your slips first, and then we’ll move on to other questions you may have.
  • Presentation and conference paper available at www.slideshare.net/joeyanne and www.joeyanne.co.uk/presentations.

Transcript

  • 1. New professionals: Build your network using social media
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
    Jo Alcock
    University of Wolverhampton
    jo@joeyanne.co.uk
    www.joeyanne.co.uk
    @joeyanne
  • 2. Overview of presentation
    Created using Wordle
    2
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 3. Social media
    Blogging and social networking more common online activities than e-mail in UK
    (Nielsen Online, 2009)
    3
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 4. Social media - blogging
    Like an online diary – from term web log
    Used to share resources, experiences or views, report on new services/ideas, or as a reflective tool
    4
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 5. Social media - microblogging
    Short updates – up to 140 characters
    Similar purpose to blogging
    Facilitates conversation
    5
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 6. Social media - social networking
    Profile with career info, interests, updates of activities
    Groups to encourage conversation and sharing ideas and resources
    6
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 7. Benefits of professional networking?
    7
  • 8. Professional networking
    • Professional networks can be used to:
    • 9. Get expert advice
    • 10. Exchange ideas
    • 11. Get a second opinion
    • 12. Obtain a reality check
    • 13. Test new ideas
    • 14. Gain moral support
    • 15. Engage in collaborative problem solving
    (Ramsey, 2004)
    • Also market yourself and your skills to others (e.g. potential employers, co-workers)
    8
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 16. Social media + Professional networking =
    9
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 17. JoeyanneLibraryanne blog
    JoeyanneLibraryanne
    www.joeyanne.co.uk
    Started in June 2007
    Currently 426 subscribers
    Record thoughts, share experiences and ideas
    Interesting conversation in blog comments
    10
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 18. Finding blogs to follow
    UK Library Blogs wiki
    UK Library Blogs custom search engine
    New professionals bloggers bundle
    Snowball effect
    Other social networks
    11
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 19. @joeyanne on Twitter
    @joeyanne
    www.twitter.com/joeyanne
    • Joined in Dec 2007
    • 20. 944followers; following 810
    • 21. Insight into professional and personal lives
    • 22. Valuable for conferences/events
    12
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 23. Finding people to follow on Twitter
    UK Librarians list on TweepML
    Exploit other’s contacts
    Search for keywords or hashtags
    Use Twitter’s lists e.g. @joeyanne/exeter10@joeyanne/npc2010
    13
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 24. CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
    14
    Promoting your accounts – top tips
    • Add your accounts to relevant lists and directories
    • 25. Include links in your email signature
    • 26. Add to business card (or create networking card)
    • 27. Link your accounts
    • 28. Engage in conversation
    • 29. Keep content fresh and unique
    • 30. Share your passion!
  • Conclusion
    “[t]he main feature of a good network is that it is mutually beneficial”
    (NACM Communications Dept., 2006)
    15
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
  • 31. Question time
    CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010
    16
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelinlibrarian/223839049/
  • 32. Thank you
    Jo Alcock
    jo@joeyanne.co.uk
    www.joeyanne.co.uk
    @joeyanne
    Presentation available atwww.slideshare.net/joeyanne
    andwww.joeyanne.co.uk/presentations