As you can see from my sidebar, I’ve been on twitter already for a bit and am using it mainly in my “professional” (as opposed to my “unprofessional”?) capacity. I actually run 2 twitter accounts, one as publicity officer for Huddersfield Choral Society (http://twitter.com/@HuddsChoral). Experience so far?
I’m a big fan of Twitter. I’ve found I have to be really strict about when I check it (via netvibes)- although I have found some really useful and relevant links posted by professional colleagues I follow which have been directly relevant and helpful at work.
It didn’t take too long (perhaps a couple of hours – honest) to follow the people I already knew were tweeting, to research the people they follow, do some searches for hashtags like #archives, and build a reasonably useful network for both accounts. Other people’s lists have been good for this too, particularly for the Choral account – although I haven’t experimented with creating lists myself yet (I know, I’m all take take take)
I have found it pays to be ruthless about who you follow and I am pretty pro-active about managing “following” on both accounts – if someone hasn’t posted anything of value to me within a month, I stop following them. And if they use twitter as an instant messaging equivalent then I do consider unfollowing them – unless they’re useful (!) or I think they might be offended (I guess I’m quite anti-social really ?!). I am a sucker for trending topics though – particularly loved the recent #composerfilms (and got a lot of re-tweets from it for my contributions, I might say…)
I found twitter quick & easy to set up, and I liked the minimal personal information that it requires to get an account. Also that you can see the twitter feed for an account before you actually have to get an account yourself – so a bit of lurking and waiting to find out a bit about the culture of the site is possible.
So that was thing 6.
I’ve decided to stick with the professional brand I already have for my online identity (pretentious, moi?). So I’m using the same photo as my linked-in profile, twitter account, this blog etc. This is partly because I don’t believe in saying things anonymously: I stand by what I say or I retract it. This may blow up in my face eventually, who knows? And obviously also because I’m a blatant self-publicist.
Anyway, the thing that spooked me completely with facebook and made me nearly lose my nerve was that having entered my basic information, the next step was for facebook to show me “someone who I may know”. The fact that she is a close friend of mine in no way lessened the shock of realising facebook already knew something about me before I’d even started! How did it know?? Also I’m bemused by the suggested friends when viewed on the “find friends” page – where do these people come from when a) I’m Sarah no mates (so far) on facebook (so they can’t be friends of friends and b) I haven’t entered any personal information other than I work at the University of Huddersfield (which any google stalker could ascertain quite easily). At least on the “news feed” page there is some context for suggested friends (friend of X, mutual friend etc) – yes in the course of writing this blog post I have acquired some facebook friends.
I’m still wondering what facebook will bring me. I prefer my friendships in real time. I don’t really don’t think I have the time to manage status updates, comments, photo tagging etc in that arena as well – a certain amount of which needs to be done to make it worth it (on the basis that you get out of something what you put in). I’m in a couple of communities of practice and ning (or similar) groups and have seen that the members have to get involved personally for the groups to go anywhere: all the groups could be really useful but they aren’t really, because there’s too much effort involved for people to participate in that particular arena as well as in all the others. I’m afraid I’m still a huge fan of email listservs – even despite the plethora of out-of-office, please unsubscribe me, please don’t reply to the whole list messages that every list generates once in a a while.
And part of me – the archivist and records manager part, obviously not the blogging, twittering, internet-accessing, internet-publishing part – worries about the amount of ephemeral stuff that is being created globally and the traces we’re leaving of ourselves which have to be stored – and consumed. And the energy requirements to generate electricity for the server farms which hold all this stuff are seriously worrying. Coincidentally I came across this greening IT project this morning (via a link in a tweet from someone I’m following….) which is the first time I’ve seen information management explicitly linked to the green agenda. Of course I’ve printed out the report (in b&w, double-sided on recycled paper at least) because I hate reading on screen and like scribbling on things. Am still cross with myself for not having make effective enough contacts with the green parts of Estates here at the University to be able to contribute to their recent (hard copy but at least on recycled paper) leaflet about energy saving.
So I’ll give facebook a bit longer and see what other friends I can make there (and who else it suggests I might be friendly with). But I can see that I probably *should* create a facebook page for the Choral – not least because if I don’t, someone else will… there was also an interesting story recently about facebook traffic to websites outstripping traffic from google and search engines but ironically I can’t find the reference (ok, website link) now! Huh, call myself an information specialist?