As I stagger towards the finishing point of 23 Things, frankly rather thinged out, we have been asked to check that we have posted on all 23 Things (yes), and to rate the Things we’ve used. So here are my rapid assessments (ignoring Things 13 and 19, which are reflections and marketing respectively, rather than actual Things, and Thing 23, discussion of which would create a metaThing loop):
Thing 1 and 2 – iGoogle and RSS feeds. In combination, the Things that I have been most won over to. Despite my initial qualms I couldn’t have got any good feel for other 23 Things blogs without the feeds I had and they’ve been very effective at enabling me to mark posts I might want to revisit. After 23 Things, I also want to try and use RSS feeds to improve my current awareness strategies for my own research, as I think they might fill in my rather patchy scanning of new material.
Things 3 and 4 – Blogs. My blogging will obviously go on, but it’s been interesting to see that talking about social media hasn’t necessarily been a turn-off for some of my previous readers. So, while there will be more posts from next month about such normal topics as medieval anorexia and how theories of structural domination might be applied to child-rearing techniques, I may try and do some more posts about the interactions between academic life, librarianship and technology (especially from my new perspective as book author).
Things 5 and 6 – Google Calendar and Doodle. As I said when I first looked at these tools I’m not really in the kind of position where I need more complex scheduling tools than a paper diary, so this isn’t really relevant.
Thing 7 Twitter. After my initial frustration with Twitter, I keep on having twinges of wondering about using it more. If I used it, I could become well-connected, I could interact fruitfully with others, or I could at least know what bits of the UL are currently closed.
But the big problem, beyond even the limitations of technology and time, is to whom I might become well-connected? I don’t belong to one community, but multiple ones, and combining messages on medieval history and librarianship in one Twitter stream (even if I leave out my all other roles and interests) doesn’t seem likely to produce a mix that will appeal to followers. I’m not going to delete my Twitter account, and I might even carry on with the occasional tweet, but I don’t yet see a good way of fitting any of my personae into its mould.
Thing 8 tagging. I am still wavering on the usefulness of this as a technology. The results are often disappointing in practice, but there are some non-cataloguers out there who can tag things effectively, and who are apparently ripe for the mental exploitation that is crowd-sourcing.
Things 9 and 10 – Flickr. It was handy to learn about copyright free images, but I don’t really use images enough in my work to make this an important tool for me.
Thing 11 Slideshare. Since I don’t like PowerPoint presentations, why should I voluntarily search out more of them?
Thing 12 Delicious. For those helping students find information, it’s potentially very handy, as SM explained in the comments. For those of us not in such a role, it’s often more the equivalent of the belief that if you photocopy an article it’s almost the same as if you’ve actually read it.
Things 14 and 15 Library Thing. It works better as social citation sharing than I’d expected, but it’s mostly a tool for amateurs rather than professionals.
Things 16 and 17 Facebook and LinkedIn. I am going to delete my Facebook profile, and I have no urge to join LinkedIn. On the other hand, I may yet end up putting a profile onto academia.edu if I end up as an unattached scholar again.
Thing 18 Zotero. I suspect I’m too wedded to EndNote to switch easily over to this, and it’s not really much use for finding new citations.
Thing 20 Google Docs. I need to use this for a project I’m currently working on, so this is going to get some fairly extensive testing en route.
Thing 21 Podcasts. I don’t have any urge to create them myself, partly because I don’t like the sound of my own voice. On the other hand, there are times I’m quite tempted to buy an MP3 player so I could listen to some podcasts away from the computer.
Thing 22 Wikis. I’m going to carry on using them, as I did before the course, but I still haven’t felt a desperate desire to start creating content for any of the wikis I know.
As an academic, therefore, the course has introduced me to several new tools that I will probably now use frequently, as well as some that I may use again if I have a specific need for them. As a librarian, I now feel, if not completely up to speed with social media, at least no longer in the slow lane. There are a lot of other social media tools out there, but most fit at least roughly into some of the categories I’ve already met. I can now tell the difference between Jing and Ning, even if I don’t currently feel the need to use either. 23 Things has also provided me with real-life opportunities for networking within Cambridge that I didn’t have before, so that’s another boost for me (and possibly even the longest lasting one).
As for the usefulness of social media tools in libraries, I think that’s going to need a separate post…