Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Social media

I am on a foreign territory. Everybody seems to write about and comment on social media; tthere are a couple of papers in my upcoming conference on the topic, not to mention my brilliant daughter who does it for a living (that is, writing about social media). I have been reluctant on the edge of hostile until recently, but of course when I started this blog I succumbed. I also belong to a dollhouse discussion group. My next step was Shelfari, which is a book sharing site where I have been building my personal bookshelf for a year now. I have always wanted to compile some form of database for every book I have ever read, with comments on when and whether I read it for work or for pleasure and whether I liked it. Shelfari is just the thing I need, so I play with it every now and then. I only have 1238 books on my shelf so far, but I am doing my best.

Last summer I finally signed up for Facebook. I knew very little about it and certainly never thought I'd get addicted. When I created my account, FB immediately picked up a dozen email addresses from my address book, and most of them were on FB. It was fun to know that a retired colleague in Canada is growing vegetables in his backyard.

However, what I certainly did not expect are the professional contacts. A colleague (not on FB herself) who is a university librarian asked me the other day whether I used any social media and whether I used them privately or professionally. I estimated that half of my FB friends were professional contacts, and later I realised that I was wrong, it's far more than half. And apart from boasting about your vegetables and pets, sharing professional stuff is great. There is so much information out there nobody can follow everything, but if I see a link posted by this or that colleague, I read it - and frequently repost for other colleagues; and I read their formal and informal reviews of new books; and I read about conferences and events that I cannot attend. So I can with confidence say: FB is not just play, but a very important part of my professional life. If you asked me a year ago I would dismiss it as nonsense

I am still keeping away from Twitter, but I do have a Spotify account.


Philip Nel said...

Far more of my FB friends are professional contacts, but there's also a lot of overlap between professional contacts and friends.

On Twitter. If you do establish an account, I think the open setting (as opposed to one where you have to approve each person who follows you), is the way to go. I started with a closed setting, and recently switched it to open. Benefits of Twitter: the signal-to-noise ratio is much better than FB. The challenge of sticking to 140 characters is fun. Also, you can use it as a "feeder" for your blog -- announce new posts via Twitter. And, well, it's fun to follow people like Neil Gaiman & Stephen Fry....

Clémentine B said...

I'd never heard of Shelfari! it's pretty amazing. Thanks for that!

Robin said...

Hi, Maria. We met at Hollins this summer--it's Robin if you remember. Anyway, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Blogging is about all I do and only because I've got too much to say and not enough people willing to listen to me go on about it in the physical world! Hope you're well and having a nice semester!