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Twitter for professional development and career progression
 

Twitter for professional development and career progression

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Presentation delivered to ALIA Top End Symposium, Darwin 2011 - "Twitter for professional development and career progression". ...

Presentation delivered to ALIA Top End Symposium, Darwin 2011 - "Twitter for professional development and career progression".

See the attached speaker's notes for further detail (and where the text in the slides is unclear).

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  • Today I’m going to talk about the results of a survey that I recently conducted about how Twitter is being used by librarians for professional development. Can I get a show of hands from the audience? How many people here use Twitter? Now how many of those with their hands up use Twitter on a regular basis - at least a couple of times a week? Thanks. I’m guessing that a lot of you who didn’t raise your hands are not sure if Twitter is for you. Maybe you don’t think you have a use for it, or time for it, or can’t see the point of it. Well, you’ve already heard from Lyn about how a library can use Twitter. I’m going to talk about how individuals can use it.
  • I joined Twitter at the beginning of 2009 - originally to follow a few interesting people. But as I started to follow and talk to other librarians, it became much more than that. I now use Twitter for all these reasons … *point to slide* It’s made a huge difference to my networking abilities – I’ve met so many amazing people. I’m always learning about new developments both in my profession and that affect my profession. I share what I learn with others, and I have great conversations. And all of that contributes to improving my effectiveness and creativity in the workplace, and to moving ahead in my career.
  • I wanted to know if others have benefited from their use of Twitter in similar ways to me. So I developed an online survey (using Survey Monkey) with 25 questions about Twitter for professional development and career progression. I promoted the survey from my Twitter account. My network of followers helped me out by retweeting (or sharing) the link with their own followers. My target group was library and information workers on Twitter. The survey was only open for a week, because I hoped to mostly catch active users of Twitter – the people most likely to be gaining value from their use of the service. I had 161 responses, and I’ll be sharing some of the survey findings with you today.
  • Like any social media tool, Twitter becomes a uniquely personal and customised experience for each individual. I follow lots of librarians and libraries, mostly in Australia and New Zealand, but also overseas. As a result, the survey responses reflect the people that I communicate with – and the people that they communicate with. For example, 68% of my respondents were from Australia, 8% from New Zealand, and 20% from the UK . So it should be borne in mind that my survey sample has been shaped to some extent by my own network. The first chart on this screen displays the age groups of the survey respondents. The blue section represents 26-35 year olds (34%). The purple section is 36-45 year olds (31%). The red section is 46-55 year olds (21%). In green are people who are 56+ (9%). And in orange, that’s the 18-25 year olds (6%) So Twitter is definitely not just for teenagers! There was a reasonable spread across sectors – academic libraries had the highest representation, followed by public, government, school & special libraries. The second chart here shows job positions or employment levels. The biggest section in purple is librarians at 49%. Red and green are library technicians and students, at about 10% each). The blue section is middle managers (19%), and the orange is senior managers at 14%. Maybe your next boss is using Twitter?
  • Please excuse the small font on some of these slides – I *will* talk through the main points. So what are librarians talking about on Twitter? And who are they talking to? The vast majority of the respondents are using Twitter as a professional means of communication and current awareness. About 140 out of the 160 respondents follow people and organisations in the library and information industry. They also follow work colleagues, friends and news sources, followed by technology news and companies or vendors. They’re certainly not just following celebrities and politicians! I mentioned earlier that I was targeting regular Twitter users. To put that into perspective, 52% (the orange section of the pie chart here) tweet daily. Another 28% (in blue) tweet several days a week.
  • I asked respondents what kind of activities they take part in on Twitter. A great majority (about 140 out of 160) read articles or blogs posted by people that they follow, and in turn they retweet (pass on to their own followers) useful information that they come across on Twitter. Most respondents also post new information to Twitter that they have discovered elsewhere. They ask and answer professional questions. Significant numbers also tweet from conferences, take part in group activities (such as ALIA’s recent #tweetaugust activity) and attend tweetups to meet their online colleagues face-to-face. But it’s not all work. There’s small talk too - after all, that’s how networking works!
  • I then asked if they had experienced a range of professional development and career related activities on Twitter. The greatest response was 127 respondents saying that they have gained exposure to innovative thinking through Twitter. A high number also agreed that they had been exposed to innovative thinking in other sectors and industries, and to management-level thinking. About half of the respondents reported that they hear about job opportunities, and have enhanced their own professional reputation and personal brand. The remaining activities included receiving and providing mentoring, career advice and assistance with job applications.
  • I asked respondents to describe what kind of impact Twitter has had on their professional development. 68% (in orange on the first chart) said very positive, and 26% somewhat positive. That’s a total of 94% positive impact on professional development . Some said it had no impact, but there were no instances of negative impact. The results are less striking regarding Twitter’s perceived impact on career progression, but there are still more than enough positive responses to be encouraging. 17% (again in orange) said very positive, 37% said somewhat positive, adding up to 54% positive impact on career progression. Again, there were no instances of negative impact.
  • This is my last chart, I promise! Continuing on from my last question, I asked respondents whether Twitter had actually contributed to their success in winning a new job or promotion. A total of 25% of respondents said yes, either directly or indirectly. Of those, a quarter (shown in orange, 6% of the overall respondents) stated that Twitter had directly contributed to their success. Given that half of the respondents have been using Twitter for less than 2 years, which is not necessarily long enough to have made or attempted to make a career move (see the 28% in red who answered not applicable), I think these are really encouraging figures.
  • Many of my respondents were very generous in providing comments in addition to their responses throughout the survey. This was terrific qualitative information to supplement the stats. Here are some of the best representative comments. *read out quotes* “ I use Twitter as my main professional current awareness source” “ It helps me as I do my work because the ideas I come across on Twitter often come in handy on a practical level” “ Twitter has helped me become an "ideas person“”
  • *read out quotes* “ My last three jobs have directly been the result of contacts made through Twitter” “ Twitter has been incredibly useful in making contacts and enhancing my professional reputation - I have on more than one occasion been contacted for advice / asked to speak at a conference by organisations based upon the issues I have tweeted about” “ Twitter is incremental. Some people don't get it and that's OK. But I love it :)”
  • I fed all of the comments that I received from the survey into Wordle, which generated a word cloud that gives prominence to the words that were used most often by respondents. I love the words that pop out here. * professional, people, network, development, contacts, useful, learning, information, social, ideas ... * They really sum up the nature of Twitter as a professional networking and learning tool.
  • So, no matter who you are or where you work, there are people just like you on Twitter. They are ready and willing to talk with you, and share their knowledge, news and ideas with you. And they would love to hear about *your* knowledge, news and ideas! And yes, Twitter is a great professional development tool that can take you forward in your career.
  • So I encourage you to take another look at Twitter. I know it’s not for everyone, and I don’t expect to convert you all into enthusiastic tweeters. But I hope I’ve demonstrated why people who use Twitter value it so much. And if I’ve shown you some stats that intrigue you, then please explore. See if people that you know or admire are already using Twitter. And give it a try! Thank you.

Twitter for professional development and career progression Twitter for professional development and career progression Presentation Transcript

  • Twitter for professional development and career progression Sally Cummings Charles Darwin University Library ALIA Top End Symposium 2011 Darwin, 7-8 October 2011
  • Why Twitter?
    • Networking and building connections
    • Current awareness
    • Information sharing
    • Conversations
    • Professional development
    • Career progression?
  • About the survey
    • 25 questions
    • Promoted through Twitter
    • Retweeted (shared) by others
    • Targeted regular Twitter users
    • Library and information workers
    • 161 respondents
  • Survey demographics - who’s tweeting?
  • Who do they follow? How often do they tweet?
  • What do librarians do on Twitter?
  • How does Twitter upskill people?
  • Perceptions of Twitter’s impact on professional development
  • Tweet your way to a new job
  • In their own words ... I use Twitter as my main professional current awareness source My access to this professional tool has enabled me to be perceived as a futurist, expert, leader in many ways. It keeps me at the cutting edge of our industry more than any other tool It helps me as I do my work because the ideas I come across on Twitter often come in handy on a practical level It has helped me become an "ideas person" Twitter is ... a two-way street (or more correctly a big network) and that is how altruism works - you must share as well as use
  • In their own words ... Twitter has been incredibly useful in making contacts and enhancing my professional reputation - I have on more than one occasion been contacted for advice / asked to speak at a conference by organisations based upon the issues I have tweeted about The best professional development discussion I have ever had was on Twitter, with an academic, a library manager, and a PhD student, talking about the role of the modern library, informed by different theories and experiences Twitter is incremental. Some people don't get it and that's OK. But I love it :) My last three jobs have directly been the result of contacts made through Twitter
  • Main themes
  • What can we conclude?
    • Library and information workers of all ages, sectors and job positions use Twitter regularly
    • Twitter is an effective professional development tool, especially if you contribute as much as you take
    • Sometimes Twitter can even help you land a job or promotion
  • Your turn!
    • Join at twitter.com
    • Find some libraries and librarians to follow
    • Start talking (tweeting)
    Follow: @sallysetsforth @CDUniLibrary @ALIA_TopEnd