(a) A reflective statement on your development as a social networked as a result of studying INF 506, and the implications for your development as an informational professional.
When I started off with the INF 506, Social Networking for Informational Professionals, I was only starting with the use of Facebook and Skype, just a s means of communicating and interacting with friends and family. My perception of these tools was that they were more for social interaction. While doing my Information Studies, I did come across Web 2.0 technologies, I only saw the theoretical aspects of these technologies, not the practical applications of these tools in the Library or the Information agency. I did not see it as something that could be used for educational purposes. Having not working in the Library or any information agency, but just having gone to do my professional experience in an academic library, I didn’t have the first hand experience of witnessing the application aspects of these tools in the information agency environment.
However, after going through this course, I have learnt many of the features that could be used for the educational purposes and meet the informational needs of its users. Thus far, I have only seen the social networking tools as a user and it was indeed a transforming experience to learn about the ways these tools could be used as an informational professional.
I found myself registering to the many social networking tools that were being recommended, like Delicious, Twitter, Diigo, LinkedIn, Slideshare, SecondLife and many others. Though all these social networking tools were very interesting, I was not able to venture deeply into all of them. As suggested by Utecht, I had to go into the stage of perspective and find my way to the stage of balance.
At times, these tools seem to be overwhelming and seeing the participation level of the others, I was amazed at how can there be time to involve in all these tools within a short space of time. As Farkas commented on her blog, ‘No, we can’t do it all’ (2012), it was not possible to do everything I would like to do, even though there are times, when I felt that ‘I would love to do it’, I had to set my priorities.
Not having the experience of working in a library, but only gaining little experience from attachments and casual appointments, I do need to learn more about the practical applications of these tools, especially of library blogs and how could they be used to effectively used to meet the information needs of users, an area I should be improving on. As someone quite new to the social networking world, I was indeed a bit slow in picking up the traits of social networking and realise there was still a need for improvement and involvement.
Some of the social networking tools were indeed amazing and intriguing. As an avid reader, to be Delicious, Good Reads and Library thing were like new toys for me to explore and invent. I started bookmarking my favourite sites, collecting books to read and finding out the catalogue details of books. RSS feeds was another discovery for me, for now I am able to work on collecting the latest developments in my topics of interest, without searching for it all over.
Second Life was indeed a maze for me, where I tend to get lost and realise that I need to know more about it. I always thought that it was just a virtual gaming world and didn’t give it much attention. However, when I saw it being used as an educational tool, I was amazed and wanted to learn more about it. Though I didn’t get the time to explore it further, I am keen in learning more about it in future.
The subject has also made me realise the need for social media policy and gave me the opportunity to learn more about what it means to be an effective informational professional. Moreover, on the aspect of privacy issues, there are still a lot more for me to learn. As stated by Barnes, awareness is the key to solving the problem of privacy and security, where we need to be more proactive about educating the creators and users in the Internet. Sometimes, unwittingly, we might face issues, especially with twitter and Facebook, where what you read for pleasure is also reflected in your Facebook timeline, when it was not your intent to share it. It is at times like this, that I realised that I have to ensure that the privacy settings are set to the way we want it.
At times, it does feel that too much time is being taken away by these social networking tools, but as an informational professional, I need to be aware and be involved in, not only learning about the tools, but also constantly using it. Though I have been actively using some of these tools, I would look into learning more about the technologies that I have yet to explore. As commented by Tervooren in a blog post, ‘Create Digital Embassies’, I need to focus on the essentials , cultivate ties in the social networks where it makes sense and is beneficial, but don’t let them rule my life.
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Tervooren, T. (2011). A simple Guide for a Mindful Digital Life. Retrieved from http://zenhabits.net/digital/
Tomerlin, R.W., (2010), Using Delicious social bookmarking in your library. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/RebeccaWolfeTomerlin/delicious-in-libraries