CPD23: Thing 4 - Current awareness, Twitter…
I try my best to keep on top of library related things, but I do sometimes find it difficult, because there is so much to keep on top of. However, I think that I’ve started making some headway. I realised, for instance, only to focus on a few select blogs, tweeters, and websites that focus on my particular areas of interest - for example, focusing on the select few blogs that I know talk about customer service excellence, or marketing library services in HE. My advice is to think about what you want, and then go about getting it - it’s exactly the same advice I would give my politics students.
I have also found that other professionals are good at locating sources of information, and summarising it. In essence, other professionals become my aggregators. It is the same way academics work. There are some great academic writers, Giddens, Turner, Scott, that are brilliant at surmising really long passages and theories. They are the goto people. It is the same for the library world too.
I’ve had a twitter account for sometime now. I go through phases of participating. I leave it alone for months, only looking through posts. At other times, I participate contributing to discussions, retweeting, and the like. It often reflects what I am doing in the non-virtual world.
I am now following over 100 people, and for me this is just about manageable - although I am still open to following more people, but I have started to be a little more selective. Actually, #woodsiegirl gives a good account of how I tend to manage my own twitter account - it’s as if she was reading my mind.
I have tried a number of different RSS feed technologies. There was the built in RSS feed aggregator that comes with Mac OS X (apple’s operating system). It’s built into the Mail app. The problem is I use Microsoft Entourage (email client) to check my mail, so I do not open Mail that often. I, therefore, stopped using it to aggregate my RSS feeds. The other issue was that I am not always at my iMac - it’s at home, and I spend a lot of my time on the move or at work.
I needed something better, so I turned to Pulse News. I can say now that I could not live without it. I am able to pull all my RSS feeds into one app, and bring order to the madness. I have my news feeds, BBC, guardian online etc; I have my graphic design feeds, library related blog feeds, techi feeds, and so on. The app make organising them into categories easy.
It has changed the way I interact with RSS feeds, because it has meant that I can bring them together, and carry them with me where ever I go. I am not stuck to reading them on a my PC or Mac.
Keeping things separate
Flipboard is another app that has changed the way I keep up-to-date with information. However, I tend to use Flipboard to organise my non-library related information. Flipboard turns my feeds into a magazine like layout. I consider it to be a lot more casual. The layout enables me to identify what to read and what to overlook, with relative ease. I have my Facebook, gaming, film, and literature feeds, for instance, linked to Flipboard. I like to keep my library world separate from my none-library world, and the two apps do this nicely.