Building a sense of community

For thing 12 on the 23 Things for Professional Development programme we’ve been asked to consider the role of social media in building up networks and a sense of community. Four questions were posed and here are my responses:

  • what are the advantages to social networking in the context of professional development? – for me the main advantage is that online social networks break down the barriers of time and space. My online networks reach far beyond the face-to-face networks that I belong to which are primarily local.

  • can you think of any disadvantages? – the only disadvantages that spring to mind relate to context and etiquette. In the past I’ve been on both sides when something communicated online has been taken out of context and inadvertently offended someone. It can be really difficult to judge the tone, especially when you’ve never met a person before.

  • has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally? – CPD23 has definitely expanded my network. It’s bringing more traffic to my blog. I’ve found new blogs to subscribe to. And I’ve picked up new followers and new people to follow on Twitter.

  • did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? Will you keep using it after the programme has finished? – I consider myself an early adopter and have been messing about with social media for a long time. My standard approach is to start using a tool for myself, either socially or professionally whichever fits best, with a view to assessing whether it would be a useful tool for the library to use. Learning about the tools and how they work is in iteself career development for me. I will definitely continue to do this after CPD23.

  • in your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community? – yes, without a doubt. The professional network that I have built up online, primarily on Twitter, is invaluable.