Thing 23: Bringing it all together

Once a day I endeavour to check my Twitter feed.  For me, it’s the most important time of my day, as it is the source of the majority of my library-related information and PD.  I click on links, read about new ideas, new technology, library life, it’s struggles and victories, and engage with blogs via links that are posted.

I try to log in to LinkedIn once a week.  This gives me a chance to catch up on the groups I follow and to find new contacts. I don’t have a large network on LinkedIn because I choose not to link with people I don’t know. Many whom I do know, are not on LinkedIn. Especially enjoyable are the posts from individuals, groups or companies I follow.

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Social media and donuts by Photo Giddy on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Pinterest is a social platform that I engage with when I have time, or when specifically looking for ideas on a topic.  Of course, once you start on Pinterest you need to know that you have, at the very least, an hour to spare.  It is the greatest visual fun and a real eye-opener to the innovative nature of humans.

Instagram – well, that’s a different story…I began my account as a public one, hoping to soon be in a library job, where I could share books, events, ideas, news etc., along with personal bits along the way.  However, that has not happened, so I post things of interest to me, now and then, but more importantly, I use it to follow librarians, libraries, museums and topics of interest in the GLAM sector.  In this way I get to see campaign ideas, displays, makerspaces, new books, and more.  I love it! For this, I log on probably every other day.

But, here is a secret…I operate another Instagram account, with which I engage VERY frequently every day…and were you to stumble upon it, you would shake your head with pity, and declare that that woman is touched in the head! It is my dog’s account…yes, you heard right, my dog’s account.  If you haven’t yet discovered the ‘doggie world’ on Instagram, or indeed, even the ‘kitty world’, I suggest you take a look at the #dogsofinstagram or #catsofinstagram hashtag and go exploring.

As an aside, it has opened up a world that, I believe, can only exist virtually in the social media realm!  One where people regardless of colour, nationality, culture, religion, geographical confines, age, interests, status in life, or whatever, can connect, challenge each other, support each other, chat, share tips, mourn and laugh together and love each other, unconditionally.  All through the name of the dog, or the dog’s account. No stigmas, no expectations, no mockery, no bullying…only fun and unconditional acceptance.  It is wonderfully therapeutic, brings a smile to one’s face every time, creates happiness and disperses loneliness.

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Dog by Rodrigo Monteiro on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I use Facebook to follow library-related accounts and pages of interest, and to connect with a few family members afar off.  For me, the most beneficial page to follow has been the ‘Troublesome Catalogers and Magical Metadata Fairies’ group…I have learned quite a bit in the month since I have joined this group. Because I find that Facebook can quickly become addictive to me, I have confined use of it to my iPad, and do not log in on my PC or my phone, so that it is not constantly intrusive to my daily routine. I take a moment over a cup of coffee every other day, to catch up on the newsfeed.

The ‘Reader’ function on WordPress is a great way to keep up with other bloggers, and those I follow are all wonderful library blogs. Blogging on WordPress has been somewhat of a challenge since I created my first blog in 2010.  I discussed my lack of ‘blogging drive’ before in a previous post, but Rudai23 has put paid to that. 🙂  Posting once a week over the last 23 weeks proves that it is indeed possible, even when you don’t feel like it. Of course, from now forward, it would also mean finding content or a topic to write on, but it won’t be weekly for me. 😉  However, I am more encouraged on the topic of blogging, and have lost most of my fear of ‘being out there’ in case the grammar police are on patrol, or the syntax is incorrect.

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Hootsuite by Wes Schaeffer via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The  above 6 accounts are the main social media accounts I engage with.  After signing up with Hootsuite, I decided to link only 2 – Twitter and WordPress.  I did not agree with the App’s permission requests for Instagram or LinkedIn, for privacy reasons, and so cancelled those.  Here is a snapshot of my dashboard from this morning…

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I found Hootsuite easy to use, although I worked through the tutorial at first.  I can see how it will help to bring social media accounts under one umbrella for ease of monitoring.  I look forward to using it to monitor the hashtag of the next Twitter chat I attend.

It must be super helpful when used within a library situation, where many social media accounts are monitored and regularly posted to, specifically because of the time constraints of a busy workday.  I love that Tweets etc. can be drafted and scheduled to be posted at different times, so engaging with different users/followers throughout the day.

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Content curation: how does it build value by Stefano Maggi via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At this point I’m cracking open the (virtual) champagne bottle, and getting out the crisps and dip.  CELEBRATION time, as I come to the end of Rudaí’s 23 Things! Thank you to the team who developed this programme – it has truly been a beneficial learning experience.  A time of personal and professional growth.

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Champagne by CycloneBill on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As always, thanks for stopping by.  😀

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Featured image:  Embracing social media by RDECOM on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 

Thing 22: Mobile Things

“…did you know that in just one hour mobile users will have carried out 68 million searches on Google, generated $3 million worth of ad revenue from Google ads, and made 8 million purchases through their devices with Paypal? In the same time mobile users open 2 billion emails, send 1 billion WhatsApp messages and 768 million text messages, while 29 million will have accessed Facebook .”                                                                    (Dealsunny.com 2016).

The use of smart phones and other mobile technology for seeking information is growing. To illustrate, take a look at this real time graphic  on mobile usage statistics shared on Stephen’s Lighthouse blog, from Dealsunny.com. 😮  It will blow your mind.

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.”

“More than half of smartphone owners have used their phone to get health information, do online banking.”                                                          (Pewinternet.org 2015)

The above quotes are from a 2015 Pew Internet Research study of American smartphone usage.  I would confidently say that the trend may be global.  This book review provides a look at new research on children’s and adolescents‘ info behaviour.  And in developing countries smartphone usage is rising rapidly, increasingly being used to access information, especially health-related information.

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Public Domain Image by Olu Eletu via Unsplash.com

As librarians we need to be on top of our game as far as mobile apps are concerned.  We should not only be seen to be using them, but we should be able to confidently teach people how to use the popular ones.  It is therefore important for us to remain abreast as best we can.  Articles such as this one I saw shared on Facebook a few days ago – Librarian Approved: 30 Ed-Tech Apps to Inspire Creativity and Creation – are a huge help.

After reading Rudaí23 Thing 22, by Wayne Gibbons, I was interested in finding out about the Gum app, since I had not heard of it before.  It was quick to locate on the App Store, simple to activate, and really user-friendly. I scanned the barcode of one of my favourite textbooks, and left my first comment, or ‘gum‘.

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Looking at their website, they’ve used a clever marketing strategy…alliteration…  “conversations on comics”, “poems on products” and “notes on novels”.  😀  That says it all.  The  potential for library users’ to converse about books internationally, right there on Gum, is huge. This article from a blog ‘The Library Voice’, shows how it was used successfully within a library situation. (Thanks to the author of Thing 22 for sharing this link.)

Gum is a super user-friendly, free app. There is no need to first enter an email address and create a password or user account.  It loads, requests access to the phone camera, and you get scanning.  To leave a ‘gum’ the app asks to create a user name. Once you create your comment, you ‘stick’ your ‘gum’, and it appears on your ‘wall’.  Gums can be managed, edited, deleted, and products unfollowed.  Apparently new gums on the same products create an ‘alarm’ that rings on your phone.

If we were to promote this app by means of posters in the library, or even face-to-face, it could really take off within a library community or reading club.  The apps for Goodreads and LibraryThing etc., are fantastic, but a user account is required. Also, Gum is not restricted to books only, so we can get info on popular household products, food items, PC games, tech tools and more.  There is a 12+ age restriction to the app, because, besides the user T & Cs,  there is little control of who posts what. So teachers beware.  However, there is a reporting tool, that, when activated, opens a ready-to-send email, guiding you on specific info sought regarding the product or comment.

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Another app that I personally enjoy is Adobe Spark Video. It is one of the trio belonging to Adobe Spark – Spark Post, Spark Page and Spark Video.  Admittedly, it is only available on Apple products, (sorry Android users …) but oh my!…it has never been easier to quickly create interesting presentations, lesson aides, info slides, portfolios and more. *shows thumbs up* 😀

What better way to use that old iPad or tablet, lying around in the library…set it up as an info display.  iPads are increasingly used in classrooms worldwide; teacher librarians can utilise this app to create interesting lesson segments.  Public librarians can have presentations which they all share to guide or instruct on certain topics upon request from users. Voice-overs are easy to record, as long as you know what you want to say.  I created this presentation on Information Literacy for a MOOC that I was doing a while ago.  It is far from perfect, but was fun to make. The target audience was a year 11/12 group of school children; please, academics, be forgiving as you keep that in mind. 🙂

When you’ve tried Adobe Spark Video, do let me know how you feel about it via the comment box below. Most of all, have fun. 🙂

I am super excited to know that I’m on Thing 23 of 23 Things next week.  Woohoo!! Really looking forward to ‘Making it all work together‘.  Until then, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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Featured image by Frederic Koberl via Unsplash.com (Public domain)
Clipart used from clipart.com

 

 

Thing 11: Reflection…

After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.     Sophia Loren

Thing 11 of 23 is on (my) schedule (1 post per week) with none left undone. It’s been rewarding, albeit tough.  I’ve always been up for a challenge, but 10 blogposts later, Rudaí23 is proving a lengthy one. 😀

Lessons learned? Oh yes!

leaf vectorAbout online tools:

  • Podcasting is fun; the software out there is becoming more user friendly for this medium, and it can be put to many uses within a library. An idea to record interviews with authors, and tips for writing, which can then be posted on the library website, is one of my favourites.
  • Curation tools are vital for organising stuff that comes to your notice as you happen along the information highway. Pinterest is so popular, but can be used for education and professional curation. I’ve gone on to use Storify more than once, now, as I endeavour to keep a record of my volunteering days at the museum library.
  • Screencasting is harder to execute than it looks, but a really effective teaching tool. It was an exercise in perseverance, but Screencast-o-matic made it less stressful.
  • Live streaming is not for the faint-hearted. The fact that one is broadcasting live to the world can cause a nervous sweat if you’re not the confident extrovert. But it was thrilling to receive comments and see the interaction with the video for 24 hours afterwards. Periscope, YouTube and Facebook are making it possible for us to share things in real time.  Not always attractive, but interesting nonetheless.  Last, but not least…an online (live) tool is best used when you have more-than-a-vague idea of how it works… and … REMAIN calm!  😀

leaf vectorAbout myself:

  • The urge to try out these tools has always been there for me, but being pressed to do so and to blog about it, according to a schedule, has been a challenge.
  • When given the option to take an easier route, like, say, watching a live broadcast and not necessarily recording one, I go for the more difficult option. 😮
  • I try!  Although not perfect, the satisfaction and experience gained, is immense.
  • Searching for information on each topic has led me to some interesting articles and websites, for which I am so much the richer.
  • Balancing the course with everyday demands and routines has not always been easy. Once or twice I’ve considered throwing in the towel.  Fortunately, online learning taught me to persevere…every day is a new opportunity to think ahead, plan, focus anew.
  • I’m especially grateful for the encouragement from loved ones.  🙂

The secret of concentration is the secret of self-discovery. You reach inside yourself to discover your personal resources, and what it takes to match them to the challenge.       Arnold Palmer

Overall, I am glad that I embarked on this course. I admit that I can’t wait to complete it for some extra time on my hands. That said, I also look forward to new learning opportunities in the next few ‘things’.

If you’re following this blog, thank you!  I hope that it challenges you to try out new things too.

When we lose our fear of making a mistake, looking foolish, or appearing ignorant, we can step out into the unknown to discover and gather experiences that can turn into golden-nugget-memories.                                                                                                                LibSandy

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Speaking of technology… I stumbled upon this, shared by Stephen’s Lighthouse: 17 ways technology will change our lives by 2050.

Hope you all have a great week.  I’m off to start thinking and researching about conferences for next week’s blog entry.

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Featured ImageThe lonely woman by Johan on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Thing 5. Online networking: an expat’s view of Facebook & Twitter

The focus of Thing 5 is Facebook and Twitter.  Being an expat has shaped my interaction with these two platforms, both negatively and positively.

Facebook
Facebook, by Christopher on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
I don’t like Facebook.  A few years ago, logging onto Facebook BEFORE BREAKFAST became the most important part of my day, and also the most painful, as I watched friends and family living their lives in familiar places and hanging out with each other. It made me so depressed. Because I missed the familiarity of home, friends and family, and I wanted to be a part of their lives, I spent longer and longer on Facebook. One day I realised this was eating away at my time and emotions to the exclusion of what mattered.  I came to my senses, deactivated my account, and made the choice to get on with expat living!

CC Open domain.
CC Open domain.
Some days the expat-adventure is jam packed with discovery and excitement, with the exotic and the oddly bizarre…

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Crazy Camel, by Jeremy Vandel on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

…on others you have to dig deep to rise above it all, or you become bogged down in a desire to give it all up prematurely, wishing you could head home. Home.  After a while you have to work hard at recalling the familiar and ‘home’ becomes a blurry concept. (Ok, after 15 years at least, for me.  😀  )

At its best, expat life influences and moulds you, defines who you become – your thinking, your outlook, attitudes, worldview, toleration levels… all these are enlarged, challenged, tested and you find the need to constantly have a conversation with yourself.  This introspection is good…if you keep a sense of humour, you can find your quirky side, your weaknesses, your oddities, and hopefully begin to view yourself as others see you, and to criticise others less.

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CC 0 image from Unsplash

The blinkers fall off.  For example, you gain insight as to why some don’t look you in the eye or give a firm handshake while greeting, because in some cultures a firm handshake is regarded as offensive; some consider the support of relations back home more important than spending on the latest fashion fad or fancy travel. You begin to have empathy for those who speak your language, albeit not perfectly.  You find that the way you use a word can be horribly misunderstood.  You find that some people have courtesies that must be respected and adhered to before you get on with the business at hand, and you are constantly exposed to many different possibilities on how to approach life’s complexities.

So what has all this to do with online networks and Facebook?  Fifteen years as an expat has changed me.  I’m not the person I was when we left our home country.  My online network habits will reflect that. Today I am ready to explore Facebook again. I still don’t like it, but I have subscribed again under a new email address, for professional purposes. It didn’t take them long to link me up (Facebook-style) with everyone (ever) in my life. (Creepy, how they do this.)  I hav just discovered an article that shows why Facebook can also contribute to insular approach with the latest tweak to their algorithm…to quote from it…

“…it means you’ll almost certainly see an even less diverse range of opinions and news than you already do.”

But if we are aware of this, we can help make the choice as to what we would like to see in our timeline. I took an hour to check privacy settings according to this article, and to explore the new user interface. If you want to follow me, you’re most welcome, but this is primarily an account for my librarianship interests. 😀

This time I have a career goal and I know where I’m headed. My view of the world is enlarged, so I’m going to let Facebook work for me, not against me. My interests now are libraries and their impact on society. And wonderful innovative librarians that I can learn from. And all things info!  Digital data! Techie stuff! Entrepreneurial ideas. Makerspaces. Social outreach. These will be the pages I follow. In Rudai23 Thing 5 , Bobbi Newman’s article  from a few years ago is listed, suggesting 6 Facebook pages for librarians to follow. These are still valid today, and I have chosen 4 of them to follow.  I will log onto Facebook when I have time on my hands and when the time is right, because I’m older, wiser and more at peace with myself and where I am. Admittedly, I still wish I was settled and not an expat, but until I am, I will use Facebook to reach out to connections that I can grow and learn from.

Moving on to the micro-blogging site Twitter…Twitter logo

…here is my fav!  I subscribed in 2011 and have thoroughly enjoyed the interaction.

Image by Matt Hamm  CC BY-NC 2.0

My twitter

Kay Oddone’s blog entry on Twitter brings its value across, as she encourages newbies to get tweeting.  For me personally, it is the most important go-to source for professional development.  Kay mentioned ‘lurking’ on Twitter until one is confident to add your voice – that is precisely what I did.  Here is how I commented on Kay’s article:

And speaking of ‘lurking’…I lurked until I was confident enough to find my voice. Not being able to have ‘librorum’ conversations face to face, Twitter filled that gap.

It has often taken me out of my isolated expat situation and is probably why I’m hooked! However, I’m constantly challenged to do, and to know, more by fellow professionals via Twitter, and always amazed at how much I discover each time I’m on the app. 🙂

It has been nothing but a positive experience for me. Yes, I made the odd mishap initially, by getting involved in political debates, and venting, but you learn fast. Within Kay’s article there was a link to some great ideas to tweet about, by George Couros, as well as a list of what NOT to tweet about.  (Remember the debacle with the unfortunate tweet by a PR Exec in 2013?)

Twitter chats are fun and really get you thinking. Remember, tweets are public and you are held accountable for what you say. I often worry that what I say is unimportant, or silly, but someone, somewhere in the world, is always kind, appreciative and encouraging. I follow and learn from librarians globally. Here are 9 of many accounts I recommend:  Liz McGettican, LWB_Online, Michelle Luhtala, Jan Holmquist, Sally Pewhairangi, Lyndelle Gunton, Gwyneth Jones, Bobbi Newman and my personal favourite, International Librarians Network. Look at their accounts and who they follow, to get ideas to build your own PLN (personal learning network).

In my opinion, with both Facebook and Twitter, you need to be yourself (be authentic), but act professionally if you want to be viewed as a professional. I know librarians can really let their hair down…(buns loose)… :p  but if you post a pic of yourself with that interesting cocktail, try to avoid the Miley-Cyrus-style hang out.  🙂

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Miley Cyrus by Paul Vera-Broadbent  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Show your interests and interact with others as soon as you feel confident to do so. They will appreciate it. In fact, most people are very helpful and kind. Share your knowledge, show your skills; pass on interesting news and links you find; investigate the things you have not heard of before, and encourage and engage others. Your followers will grow and mutual learning takes place.

The world of Twitter is exciting and vibrant. I’ve just read an article that reveals Twitter will soon be rolling out an update to include emoticon stickers for photos, making it even more fun to connect to people and to collaborate.

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Emoticons by Becky McCray

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Please feel free to leave a message.

 rose_06   Clipart from Clipartheaven.com

Thing 4: Pssst! It’s that ‘G’ word…

Google logo for blogs

Google logo for blogs, by SEO on Flickr, under a creative commons (BY-SA 2.0) licence.

 

As librarians we’re into communication and collaboration, the topic of Thing 4.  Google is the focus of this topic, but in my opinion, as educators and librarians, we are obliged to know the benefits of the commonly used communication/collaboration applications out there.   In this way we will be able to speak about them with authority, and assist others when the need arises, to make a choice or to set up their accounts.

From personal experience, making use of different services, if possible, makes for more efficient working environments.  Cloud computing has been a favourite of mine over the past 5 years, as it has kept me sane. Seriously.

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Flickr photo Descending Clouds, by Gary Hayes, under creative commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) licence. 

I understand that there are people asking valid privacy questions regarding the ‘cloud’, but after spending years backing up stuff, first on floppy disks, then on CDs, then external hard drives and memory sticks, and backups of backups, it’s such a relief to pop a doc into a folder on your desktop and to know that it’s taken care of – probably for good. It’ll be there whenever and where-ever needed! (Unless of course, a disaster strikes at the location of the storage warehouse, but hey, it’s their job to make backups, right?) :p  Yes, I know, I know…it’s right and proper to still keep a backup yourself. 🙂

Not having to remember what to back up, or having to lug those devices around and, most of all, not having to guard them so that they don’t get damaged, is such a bonus. When my hard drive went on my laptop a few years ago, I lost a couple of unimportant documents and a few of our latest photos, but nothing serious.  My habit of placing everything in a cloud drive paid off.  When the new drive was installed, it was merely a case of carry on as before, after installing the desktop folders which sync automatically.

I use cloud services from Amazon, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Flickr. Oh and iCloud, since I’m an avid Apple fan.  Because of my love-hate relationship with Google, I purposely avoided Gmail and Google Drive, until a few months ago when I began as an intern librarian at an international school. School-wide they used Google Education Apps – everyone communicated and collaborated (with parents too) using Google tools.  I saw the benefits first hand and realised that vast amounts of time and paper were saved while increasing cooperation and efficiency.  At the time I proposed to learn more about Google’s capabilities, but it didn’t happen then.  After 4 months at the school I sought out an internship at a different library.  What I did do though was to follow a few very talented and skilled people on Twitter, who are Google certified teachers, to be able to learn from them. Here are two: Alice Keeler and Catlin Tucker.

So, if it sounds like I’m selling something…I am – the Cloud! Not necessarily only Google.  Although Thing 4 focuses on the Google ecosystem (as I’ve heard it referred to) and make no mistake, it is impressive, personally I favour MS Office and its related apps. Here’s a shout-out to  OneNote logoMS OneNote…a note-taking, collaborative app that I have used for years (sadly not to its fullest potential); I use it all the time, across all my devices with great success.  I’ve heard it said that Google’s equivalent, Google Keep, is not quite up to the same standard.

Flickr photo shared by Microbiologybytes, under creative commons (BY-SA 2.0) licence.

Consequently, when I looked at Thing 4, my initial reaction was “Oh no, why the emphasis on Google!”

Oh no

Flickr photo, ‘Oh no’, by Courtney McGough, under creative commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) licence.  


However, I explored and worked through the tasks.  Reclaiming my Gmail account, setting up two-step authentication, checking the privacy settings, and setting up a profile took the greater part of 2 hours since it was all new to me.  But admittedly, once that’s done the hard part is over. I am really impressed with the functionality of Gmail. 🙂 It is a great email app.  Exploring the tools took another hour, after which I chose a few that I would use regularly, to link to my account:

  • Google translate: living in a country where Arabic is the first language, I often have to translate something, and this works really well for me. We’ve been expats for so long, I sometimes need Google translate to find words in my other mother tongue, Afrikaans. (I grew up speaking English to my mom and Afrikaans most often to my dad and other relatives.)
  • Google calendar: is really efficient, and just recently became even more so with this feature.
  • Google maps: saves my life regularly on the roads here in Doha, with infrastructure development taking place on an ongoing basis. Now that I have set up my Google account I can personalize the map app.
  • G+: a social app, similar to Facebook. Google-plus-iconSince I’ve only just set up my profile, I can’t comment on it, but it is nice to know of another manner in which like-minded professionals can connect and communicate around similar interests. I’m not on Facebook because I choose not to be at the present time, due to time constraints, but G+ appears to be more focused towards interests. I chose to follow an animal lovers group and a Smartphone Photography group for now. Will aim to search for Rudai23, and a couple of library accounts soon. A G+ account is also needed to be able to communicate using…
  • Google Hangouts: Hangouts_IconGoogle’s chat function, either via messenger or video.  I’ve seen it used in a conference setting and it worked well.  Yesterday, I tried a hangout with my daughter in Australia.  After initial PC sound battles, it was quite effective.  Google hangouts allows up to 10 people simultaneously on video chats and many more on messenger.
  • Google Drive: offers an impressive 15 GB cloud storage to subscribers.  It is shared across Drive, Gmail and Google Photos, a mobile feature that some like and others are sceptical of. According to Rudaí23 writer, Stephanie Ronan, Google Photos organises, categorises and even animates some images. Not sure I’ll be testing this photo app, though, as I’m happy with Flickr.

This last week I experienced the joy of using the cloud. I had a large volume of library signs and a Powerpoint presentation to deliver to the library where I volunteer.  I had designed these documents at home. Instead of emailing them, I was able to download them from my cloud storage, onto the desktop at work.  Here I could edit them, resize them for printing, and collaborate with fellow librarians on their design.  This method minimizes the correspondence by email.  We all know that emailing large attachments can be problematic, so downloading from the cloud is truly the way to go.  Sharing a link to the document by email or messenger is also a way to share, and this is used especially when you are not personally going to be at the point of download.

As an example, here is a link to the reading badges on my Google drive, for Grade 5s, that I created using online SaaS, for a school’s reading ‘Across the Genres’ programme.  (If you’re a teacher and you’d like to use these, they can be downloaded with my compliments. 🙂 )

That’s my take on thing 4’s communication and collaboration tools.

Till next time, and thanks for reading this far. 😀

Thing 3 – personal BRANDing…


When I opened a Twitter account specifically for my library career in 2012, I had no idea what an important role it would play in building my knowledge and connecting me to the library world. At any rate, that is a story for another time. At the time, I needed a user name for my Twitter account, and not being very creative with such things, LibSandy was born.

Later, I opened a Pinterest account; then Instagram caught my attention, and with each one I had a feeling that I should stick with the same handle. When a Hotmail account became so ‘yesterday’, I chose as near to the same user name as was allowed for my new email account.

All the ‘LibSandy’ business  was because I did not relish being ‘out there’ in my own name. I could be invisible and interact incognito. Fast forward 5 years – I hear how vital it is to be recognisable and visible for career purposes. Dilemma! I’m visible as LibSandy, not as Sandra Brandt.  Enter LinkedIn and About.me!  I only recently opened an About.me page in my name, which now appears on my Twitter bio. On the other hand, my LinkedIn profile (several years old already) displays my Twitter user name. After reading the requirements for ‘Thing 3’ I realise that somehow I must make ‘LibSandy’ more visible on my LinkedIn account, so that people can connect the two. The launch of this blog will no doubt help the visibility factor, as well as connect a name to the handle. 🙂

This visibility has me in a quandary.  Ideally I would just like to be part of the team, getting on with the job.  Not out there and in your face. (I’m one of those individuals – a mix of introvert and extrovert, with neither coming to the fore.)

MonaLisa

Mona Lisa – from Pixabay under Creative Commons Zero licence

Hopefully, after this, all talk of names, brands and identities will be done. 🙂

However, while we’re on the subject of personal brands…why is it so important?  In her article on building a personal brand, Megan Dalla-Camina states that,  what we are known for is as much about how we do what we do, as it is about what we actually do (italics mine).  As librarians we can identify with this. We are aware that we are subject to a code of ethics, of professional behaviour.  Our social media presence, websites and blogs also need to portray this to reinforce our brand, and to contribute to our trustworthiness.

social media

Social Media (from Pixabay under Creative Commons Zero licence)

Another reason is given by the Forbes’ article (I love their daily quotes… :p)  The Definitive Guide to Building Your Personal Brand by Jason DeMers…he says it’s important to think of your own bigger goals.  None of us are able to tell the future, and the paths we may take.  What if that path leads to really great opportunities – to leadership positions, or to starting your own business?

Innovation

 Innovation  (from Pixabay under Creative Commons Zero licence)

 How beleivable will you be?  Will you attract investment, either to yourself as an employee, or to your own start-up venture?  Megan Dalla-Camina points out that we ALL have a brand, and yet many of us are unaware that we even have one!

brand
Brand (from Pixabay under Creative Commons Zero licence)
So, what is your brand?

Do you know yourself well enough to recognise how you come across to others in your day to day dealings with them, virtual or otherwise?

 I noticed this tweet this morning…

There is loads of advice online, on creating your own brand – the crux of the matter is: know yourself, be true to yourself. Know  your goals. Begin there.

Perhaps we’d all like to go along with this advice…

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

– Dr. Seuss

… but it does make us vulnerable. 🙂 As long as the ‘saying what you feel’ part is done in a professional manner and with a thought for others, this may be good advice for branding and for people to get to know the real you.

On a personal level, my short term goal is to complete a decent number of internship hours – my brand plays a role there – to be recognised as trustworthy and responsible.  A medium-term goal is to secure a library job, hopefully as a new expat in Australia. In this regard I’m hoping my brand will be recognisable, portraying an up-to-date, professional, service-oriented librarian.  Lastly, my long-term goal is to keep working as an Information Professional well beyond normal retirement years.  Realistically, my age will work against me, but I am trusting my brand to carry me forward into a possible infopreneurial venture that will allow me to continue earning my keep, God willing.

branding

Desk  (from Pixabay under Creative Commons Zero licence)

 Branding is hard work; it demands constant mindfulness and continual review as it “shifts and matures” (Reinhold, in Build your Brand) throughout your career. And it needs to be ever present, without being offensive. There are many who say that the effort is worth the reward.

Thanks for spending (virtual) time with me. Hope your day is great.