Currently aware

In his post for thing 4 David Green proudly proclaims

Fact: RSS and Twitter are my top 2 favourite things on the Internet

And you know what? I whole heartedly agree with him. In fact I may just stop this post here because there’s little I can add to what he has already said. But that would be lazy, so here’s my take on the Internet’s top 2.

My name is Emma and I am a Twitter addict. And for the record I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Since I started using Twitter properly, and by properly I mean actively engaging, I feel a connection to the profession that I wasn’t aware could ever be possible. My followers and followees keep me on my toes, they make me aware of current issues, share their experiences and most importantly keep me smiling through the grey days.

There was a lot of talk a while back about whether Twitter was an RSS killer. For me it’s definitely not. It acts as a wonderful addition to RSS as it broadens the range of articles and blog posts I am pointed to. What I increasingly found however was that when I was checking Twitter I rarely had the time to really follow up on the links I saw. I needed a solution to this and so have recently started using the wonderful Read It Later to well, um, store stuff to read later. With this addition Twitter has become for me a second RSS reader.

My top 5 follows for current awareness

I am a firm believer that RSS has changed the way the web works and that the world would be a poorer place without it. Through my RSS reader I am able to keep up to date with all of my favourite blogs and websites without having to remember or find the time to navigate to their sites regularly to check for updates. I find it increasingly hard to believe that we ever did things that way. Okay, it might have worked when we had 3-5 favourite sites, but there’s no way I could maintain that system with the 92 sites I currently subscribe to.

My top 5 subscriptions for current awareness

Nonplussed by Google+

I mentioned in my reading round-up for July that a lot of the article I have read over the past month have been about Google+. There are links to the best and most useful articles at the bottom of this post.

What I want to share with you here is my first reaction to Google+ and my experience one month in. And that can be described in one word…


I just don’t get it, or perhaps more accurately I just don’t need it. I got an invite quite early on and set about creating some circles. What I found was that I was just replicating my networks from Twitter and Facebook. But what’s the point in that?

Twitter & Facebook by ekcragg, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  ekcragg 

Facebook works perfectly well for me as a way to communicate online with my friends and family. Twitter works perfectly well for me as a way of sharing information and getting involved with my professional network.

Google+ by ekcragg, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  ekcragg 

Yes, I see that the theory behind Google+ is to bring both of those networks into one place to make it easier to share and communicate with selected groups. But at the moment it’s just not working for me, and why is that the case? I don’t want to have to specify for every single post I make who that content gets shared with. It’s as simple as that.

Julia Turner summed my feelings up perfectly in the Google+ segment on a recent edition of the Slate Culture Gabfest (which I would thoroughly recommend you listen to, it starts at around 17min):

“you can’t compartmentalise your public self from your private self with Google+”

If there is to be one social network to rule them all then that compartmentalisation needs to be doable and easy.

Further reading

Blurring the boundaries

Recently I read a blog post by Brian Herzog, the Swiss Army Librarian, about Being personal and professional on Twitter. It got me thinking about how I often blur the lines on Twitter and whether I should try to keep it more professional.

I think Brian is right, it’s easy to remain professional on the library accounts. Whether you’re tweeting under the library’s name, replying to a comment on the library Facebook page or posting on a library blog, it’s business. I really liked how he defined his aim when updating library social media accounts:

My goal is to be personable, not personal.

I would say my goal with these accounts is the same. To convey information from the library to our users whilst applying a human touch.

For my personal Twitter account however I apply different rules. Although it is essentially a professional account, created to allow me to engage with my peers in the information profession, it is also a personal account. It is mine, it bears my name and has no connection to my job, or my library. I therefore also express my personality and my personal interests through it.

Unlike Brian, I don’t think I need separate Twitter accounts, one for professional stuff and one for personal stuff. The main reason for this is because I feel that being a librarian and having in an interest in information and education is too large a part of me. Having two Twitter accounts would be like splitting my personality.

Today I read an article by Martin Weller and George Siemens, Higher Education and the Promises and Perils of Social Networks, which confirmed my thinking about the blurring of boundaries on Twitter:

Some users of Twitter try to have multiple accounts for instance, to differentiate personal and professional comments, but it is precisely the personal element in SNSs that gives them value and interest.

And so I shall continue to intersperse my professional networking on Twitter with stuff about quiffs, cats, sport and LGBT issues.