How To Network And Market Yourself Using Online Tools


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Presentation for New Professionals Conference 2009 - introduction to online professional networking, focusing on blogging, microblogging and social networking. Includes information from my own experiences and top tips for online professional networking.

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  • Introduction and welcome.NameJob roleDistance learning student Keen user of web technologies both for professional activities and personal activitiesBlog regularly at JoeyanneLibraryanneTwitter as joeyanne
  • OverviewBenefits of professional networkingOnline networking with information professionals (IPs)BloggingMicrobloggingSocial networkingMy experience of each of theseTop tips for professional networking online
  • 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 online means which are the focus of this presentation.
  • Growth of online networks and the widespread availability of internet access has enabled networking to occur both synchronously (e.g. Instant messaging, chat) and asynchronously (e.g. Message boards, e-mail). Information professionals across the globe are using online tools to aid in professional networking, some of which I’ll examine in more detail. The three I’m going to focus on today are blogging, microblogging and social networking.Nielsen Online recently produced a report 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 of other information professionals 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. Blogs can aid professional networking by encouraging regular reading through subscription and conversations within comments.
  • Microblogging is similar to blogging, but uses short pieces of text up to 140 characters. 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 with careful selection of choosing who to follow, Twitter can be an extremely useful tool for professional networking. Twitter is also being used as a back channel at conferences (Reinhardt et al., 2009), and a way to become involved in events when you are not physically there.
  • Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, 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, 2009).
  • I started reading blogs before beginning my distance learning course began, mainly to gather a greater understanding of the profession. This introduced me to key issues and developments of the time and enabled me to keep up-to-date with new developments. It also introduced me to a number of key professional role models who have provided me with motivation to try new things and develop my career. I use a feed reader to aggregate the blogs I follow so that I only need to visit one place to read all the new posts. I’ve found it’s a good idea to get into the habit of reading feeds on a regular basis so that you don’t fall behind and feel overwhelmed by a large number of unread posts. This also ensures you keep up-to-date with new developments in the profession as they happen.
  • In 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.
  • 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. Recently, 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. My involvement in this event also introduced me to a number of new followers from the UK.
  • I have a public profile on many social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn,, Netvibes, Delicious and FriendFeed (which combines my online activity). I use each of these tools for slightly different reasons, but all can be used to develop network contacts. I find Facebook and LinkedIn particularly useful for making professional contacts. Nielsen Online’s report (2009) demonstrated that during 2008, 47% of people online in the UK visited Facebook, showing the huge reach this network now has. There are many groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn for information professionals which can be used for information sharing, discussion, and building further contacts. Facebook’s Librarians and Facebook group currently has almost 10,000 members (Facebook, 2009).
  • Build a brand identityDecide if you are going to use your real name, a nickname or an anonymous pseudonym (e.g. The Annoyed Librarian). Ensure you are consistent and try to use the same name on each service wherever possible. If you are planning to use online networking to market yourself and your skills, it will probably be useful to include your real name on your accounts.Think about the purpose of each of your accountsIt may not be appropriate for you to use each of the tools I have mentioned, think clearly about the purpose of the account and how you want to use it. For example, if you set up a blog, be sure to have an idea of the sort of topics you will cover, the style of writing, the frequency and length of posts etc. You will need to be a little flexible to allow your blogging style to develop, but you should have a general idea of what you want to use the blog for in order for it to succeed.Decide on a professional/personal balanceThis is a matter of personal preference; some people have one account for both personal and professional reasons, others have two separate accounts. Personally, I have one account which I use for both personal and professional purposes, and a lot of my personal networking is now with other information professionals. Link your online identities Be sure to feed your blog into your Twitter account, list details of your blog and Twitter account on social networking sites, and enable links between services wherever you can. This allows your network to be able to follow your activity across different platforms if they wish and alerts people to your different accounts.Find people to follow to get best use from each tool I found more value in tools once I had found a few people to use it with. Find some key information professionals to follow, and exploit their friend lists as you are likely to find other professionals you may be interested in following. Feel free to use my accounts where applicable.
  • Use the tools regularly, even if only for short updatesOnce you have decided to use a particular service, you will get the most out of it if you use it regularly. You don’t need to necessarily spend a lot of time on it; regular short amounts of time will be more beneficial than accessing it infrequently and trying to catch up. Integrate the tools into your routine The easiest way to use the tools regularly is to integrate the tools into your routine. If you always check the news in the morning, why not check your RSS feeds and Twitter updates then too? This is particularly useful if you follow professionals from America due to the time difference. Personally, I check my RSS feeds and Twitter updates each morning, and sometimes in my lunch break. I then usually check them at the end of the day or in the evening. You may not need to dedicate this much time to networking, but even if you only check once a week it’s useful to integrate it into your working routine otherwise it’s easy to forget.Engage with your followers/readers/friends Networking is a two-way process, therefore it is just as important to reply to/comment on other people’s profiles/blogs as it is to update your own. In this way you will truly connect with other professionals and build rapport.Don’t become too wrapped up in the tools themselves; give new things a goAt the moment Twitter is one of the main tools I use for networking. However, if Twitter became unpopular or ceased to exist and most of my network moved to a different service, I would move too. Web 2.0 tools come and go, but your network (or potential network) will always find somewhere to talk. Some tools may not be for you but you won’t know until you try them – most services will allow you to delete your account so there’s no harm in testing a service and deleting your account if it’s not right for you.  Most of all – enjoy! Networking may be a professional activity, but it is also an enjoyable one. It can help make your life easier (many heads are better than one!) and can also be a source of entertainment as well as helping you in your career. Best of all it allows you to become more involved with your profession and can lead to interesting discussion and potential professional activities.
  • Put a lot into networking but 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, written a paper for ALISS Quarterly, 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.
  • How To Network And Market Yourself Using Online Tools

    1. 1. How to network and market yourself using online tools<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />Jo Alcock <br />University of Wolverhampton<br /><br /><br /><br />
    2. 2. Overview of presentation<br />Created using Wordle<br />2<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    3. 3. Benefits of professional networking<br />Professional networks can be used to: <br />Get expert advice<br />Exchange ideas <br />Get a second opinion<br />Obtain a reality check<br />Test new ideas<br />Gain moral support<br />Engage in collaborative problem solving <br />(Ramsey, 2004)<br />Also to market yourself and your skills to other professionals (e.g. potential employers, co-workers)<br />3<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    4. 4. Online professional networking<br />Blogging and social networking now more common online activities than e-mail in UK<br />(Nielsen Online, 2009)<br />4<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    5. 5. Online networking - blogging<br />Used to share resources, experiences or views, report on new services/ideas, or as a reflective tool. <br />Networking by subscribing to blogs and conversation in comment strings<br />5<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    6. 6. Online networking - microblogging<br />Short updates<br />Similar to blogging<br />Networking through conversation with other professionals<br />Conference back channel (Reinhardt et al., 2009) and extend event participation<br />6<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    7. 7. Online networking - social networks<br />Profile with career info, interests, updates of activities<br />Networking via friends/contacts to build online network<br />Groups to encourage conversation and sharing ideas and resources<br />7<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    8. 8. My experiences – reading blogs<br />RSS Reader (Google)<br /><br />Insight into the profession<br />Keep up-to-date with new developments<br />Currently read over 150 library related blogs, plus others for general interest<br />Provides professional role models<br />8<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    9. 9. My experiences – writing blogs<br />JoeyanneLibraryanne<br /><br />Established in 2007<br />Use to record thoughts about the profession, study progress and share ideas<br />Integrated into reflection time<br />Currently 199subscribers<br />Interestingconversation in blog comments<br />9<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    10. 10. My experiences - microblogging<br />joeyanne on Twitter<br /><br />Joined in Dec 2007<br />More useful with larger network<br />Currently 420 followers; following 298<br />Gives insight into professional and personal lives of others<br />Valuable for conferences and events<br />10<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    11. 11. My experiences – social networking<br />Jo Alcock on Facebook<br /><br />Member since 2006<br />Blog and Twitter integrated into profile<br />Member of a number of professional groups incl. Librarians and Facebook<br />Grouped friends so that I canview information professionals separately<br />11<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    12. 12. Tips for online professional networking<br />Build a brand identity<br />Think about the purpose of each of your accounts<br />Decide on a professional/personal balance<br />Link your online identities<br />Find people to follow to get the best use from each tool<br />12<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    13. 13. Tips for online professional networking<br />Use the tools regularly, even if only for short updates<br />Integrate the tools into your routine<br />Engage with your followers/readers/friends<br />Don’t become too wrapped up in the tools themselves; give new things a go<br />Most of all – enjoy!<br />13<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    14. 14. Conclusion<br /> “[t]he main feature of a good network is that it is mutually beneficial” <br />(NACM Communications Dept., 2006)<br />14<br />New Professionals Conference 2009<br />
    15. 15. Thank you for listening<br />Jo Alcock <br />University of Wolverhampton<br /><br /><br /><br />