I’ve been using social media for work since around 2006, so am practically a wise old woman of Twitter in Internet years. As with anything online, though, everything changes so quickly and so frequently that the experience of years doesn’t really mean much. So I was pleased to have the chance to attend a social media workshop for ULCC staff, run by Pauline Randall of Florizel Media
The workshop was designed to get us thinking about not only how could use social media for work as individuals, but also about how we could collectively use social media within ULCC. To start us off, Pauline ran an interesting session looking at how we all used (or didn’t use!) social media already, both in work and outside of work for hobbies and interests. Some people were clearly experienced and successful bloggers in their hobbies, for example, but didn’t blog at all for work. Some people were quite hostile to using social media in work, with the main complaints being that managing another set of communications channels would be yet another task that would take them away from their core tasks, or that social media was intrusive and they wanted to keep a clear divide between their personal and professional lives. Some also feared that their work was too boring or would be incomprehensible to anyone outside their immediate team.
We had an interesting discussion about social media loves and hates, and I did. of course, share my personal hatred of all things Facebook with the group. Happily, I was not alone! We discussed positive benefits of social media in the different jobs within the group, and although Pauline didn’t push or bully, or over-promote the benefits. I really appreciated her approach, which was to gently prod the interest of people who didn’t use social media for work and catch their interest. By the end of the session we all had something that we wanted to take back and try out. A great result I think.
For myself, the idea of working without the support of social media is now unthinkable. I get most of my professional awareness updates via Twitter and blogs, I can follow conferences that I am unable to attend, take part in discussions and ask questions. Social media had enriched and, I think, improved, my work immensely. On the other side of that equation is a feeling of responsibility to share my own work, useful links and to tweet and blog events I attend. For me, it’s a virtuous circle. I’m part of a community, and that community makes my job easier, inspires me and sometimes is just a fun and friendly place to be. Before I pass a virtual sick bag, I’ll stop and say that I don’t always blog or tweet as much as I much as I should, especially recently. But the workshop made me stop and think about the benefits I get from my professional community, and made me come back to my desk and schedule time into my to do lists for sharing more.
In addition, I have some new ideas and feel a bit more up-to-date. I plan to see if some of the social media tools/channels I enjoy in my hobbies could be used in work. I’ve recently started to listen to a lot of podcasts – they’re portable (I can load them on my phone) and perfect for multi-tasking (I can listen even when walking, unlike videos). Perhaps there’s space out there for creating some podcasts on various aspects of digital preservation and digital research skills? I intend to streamline my information gathering tools and techniques so I can update and work in a smarter way. I’ll be looking at Sprout
as possibly better solutions to managing multiple social media accounts than Tweetdeck
, which I use at the moment. I’ll also be reviewing my RSS feed reader options, and have decided to look at what Pinterest might have to offer for work – I already use it personally, and altough I can’t think of an immediate work use, it would be interested to explore it a little from that perspective. And I am resolved to make better use of the tools I already use, blogging more frequently, making better use of our team Twitter accounts and using Storify more as a way of capturing and sharing information.
I must confess, I was a little jaded about social media training. But Pauline’s session was a great chance to get some new ideas and become enthusiastic again, so big thanks both to Pauline and also to Frank Steiner for organising the workshop.
*Image from British Library on Flickr, no known copyright restrictions.