Purposeful pondering


An article recommended as a good introduction was titled as a ‘survival guide’ to social networking (other students will thus know to which I refer) for information professionals. However to me it seemed more like a jumble of ‘can’s and ‘could’s – with a heavy focus on personal advancement.   It seemed to be just another hyped up promo piece: s-o-c-i-a-l n-e-t-w-o-r-k-i-n-g RAH RAH RAH!

“Even the Dark Side needs motivation” (2010) by Kenny Louie. via Flickr-CC:BY/2.0

Oh it listed a few rather obvious cautions too.  Could anyone responsible for forging relationships on behalf of an organisation fail to already appreciate the delicacies required to balance connections? If a library is considering Facebook as a community enhancement – how can this be done with personality?  (Must re-find those more useful articles exploring how, if personal profiles in public networks are to be used for workplace roles).


Finding nothing particularly constructive in the above article, I turned back to my learning hopes.  What I did not record there was my preferred focus on whether (and if so how) social media if used by a library might serve the library’s community (other than by serving the careers of individual librarians).  Returning to the aforementioned article, its tired (albeit true) blather about relationships set me to pondering about that library-community (not individual advancement) context.

Circling Doubt

What library (not personal career) purpose or function would a social networking tool serve?  Networking–right?  Who networks on behalf of the library?  Who goes outside the library to pursue, establish and maintain relationships (other than for finding/checking new hires) in order to serve the library’s goals?  If that was not a job’s responsibility before, why is it now?  If it was before, in what way does Facebook or LinkedIn facilitate that function–does it really?

But perhaps when an organisation looks at Facebook, it is not really seeing relationships (even if it harks about them), but merely another, albeit more public, location to be harnessed/marketed carefully–putting a best face forward–?  If a library’s presence on Facebook is “the library” rather than personal, how seriously can we take the notion that interactions on the library’s page are “relationships”?

From the other direction: Why do people use Facebook or any other social webtool?  Does the library have a valid role to play in those reasons–if not, is there a reason for the library to be there?

So many questions & questionable answers?

I am sure I am not the first to ask such questions because they all have vague familiarity.  At the same time a back-of-the-brain buzzing suggests that once-upon-a-time (last week?) I felt certain and positive about creative ideas for libraries in social networks–but its late and I’m still dizzy.

179/365 And The World Keeps Spinning Round by martinak15 (2012) via Flickr CC:BY/2.0

… and therefore planning

So, considering our assignment to propose a trial project, I must find a rationale somewhere and “because those others are doing it” just doesn’t cut it.  What I will be seeking:

  • Examples of significant effect: eg engagement (or other objective consistent with core library values) achieved and how
    — how do I find them?
  • Discussions of rationales – and not get too caught up in questioning ROI – such an intangible beast.
  • Could dig up the social intranet material – meh – yes, yes I have doubts about “collaborat-ability” of small or deeply stratified workforces – hm, no I see this as more relevant for corporate & special libraries.
  • OR: there is material on drawing in social network data to customer relationship software – again: wouldn’t that be for corporate & special libraries?
  • Those last two strands of thought raise a new question: is there a risk of inequitable service if social media helps us serve those who use it better than those who don’t?  So did phone and email.  Why do such questions keep distracting me?

Limbering up with LinkedIn

Monkey Swing by Thomas Tamayo at Flickr

Thanks to Dale Smith (2012) I received Tim Tyrell-Smith’s (2012) guide against being lazy on LinkedIn.

On pondering Tim’s advice, I wonder whether there are some people (like me perhaps) for whom such sites are not the best place to promote oneself. For example: suppose one is aiming for a career change – where they have worked in the past could be a distraction; Or suppose one has been out of the workforce raising children for many years? Or working at positions below one’s ability during those child-free years because they are the only ones with child-friendly hours?

If I were to convert Tim’s warning signs into a to-do list, re-ordering for the limited position LinkedIn has in my humble ambitions:

  1. Keep profile updated:
    Thankfully, LinkedIn sends out notices fairly regularly, so when someone else updated their profile recently I let it prompt me into updating mine.
  2. Come up with an appealing headline
    Particularly difficult for humble people – could you point to some good ones?
    (Update August 8: Michael Keleman recommends precise (unpuffy) clarity)
  3. Improve summary without just copying resume
  4. Find a few more connections.
    Eek, I’m not keen on quantifying my connections, so I’ll not let Tim’s “at least 100” factor in at all. (Except cousins: I still take childish pleasure in having lots of cousins (>50)).
  5. Complete profile
    If I did, I would run out of things to update it with?
  6. Keep personalising connection requests
    – yes, of course, would anyone send a generic request except to someone they know very, very well?
  7. Keep seeking constructive groups
    Two of the ones I joined are more often spammed than constructive
  8. Find new ways to contribute constructively to groups
  9. Provide true, specific recommendations for others
    It is the only kind I would, but for whom would my recommendation be desirable?
  10. Recommendations? Does anyone take them seriously?
    Even Tim admits they don’t carry a lot of weight. Maybe he just wanted to round out his “10” signs? How useful are they if you’re not sure what kind of work you’re seeking? Might they be counter-productive the more generic they are, or if they are more relevant to past than future ambitions?

What would you advise?

Image credit: Tamayo, T. (2008). Monkey swing. CC:BY-NC/2.0 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/malweth/2914866040/


Keleman, M. (2010, January). LinkedIn Taglines. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from http://recruitinganimal.typepad.com/ch/2010/01/linkedin-taglines.html
Smith, D. (2012, July 28). RT @WayneMansfield: 10 Signs You Are Being Lazy On LinkedIn […] #inf2506. @das013. microblog. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/das013/status/229111276884865024
Tyrell-Smith, T. (2012, July 26). 10 Signs you are being lazy on LinkedIn. Retrieved from http://fixbuildanddrive.com/10-signs-you-are-being-lazy-on-linkedin

Still Delicious after 6 years?

Later this year my “OLJ for INF206” category will conclude with an evaluative and reflective report including three of seventeen possible (OLJ) “tasks”.  To be able to write that then; I will now and until then need a starting point and landmarks against which to check my progress.

For example:

If I am to evaluate my use of Delicious as a social bookmarking tool and include a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of different features and/or functions, I need to have tried those functions.  Yet if this is “as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject”, all of those I evaluated before the subject do not count.  Similarly, well before this subject, I had already learned about multiple ways that “information organisations use Delicious to support information services, learning and/or collaboration of users and/or employees”. Can I learn more?

Features & functions

Checking against Kroski’s (2008, p. 54) list of common features of social bookmarking tools:

  • Bookmarklets
  • Bookmarks
  • Tags
    • As well as using as many keywords as possible, I used subject codes and terms to save and share material for classes. I tagged with todo and toread, but rarely checked back on those. I have often sought out tagging strategies, hoping to improve my rediscoverability and reusability. Did I save any in Delicious? <– something to seek
    • The tagroll (in other tools called a tag cloud) I created for a blog sidebar in 2006 was lost in an upgrade, and became irrelevant when Blogger finally got labels.
    • Although Delicious no longer encourage(teach) them, there is apparently a WordPress Plugin. <– something to try
  • Search
    • My favourite feature because it searches my notes as well as the tags and titles.
    • However I was miffed when the option to first search just my own links disappeared.
    • I search my own collection either to inform a conversation from something I believe I saved, or to rediscover a variety of material that I am sure I gathered although I do not recall the specific tag.
  • Subscriptions / Saved by others
    • I followed the delicious accounts of bloggers whose collections looked to be regularly interesting, and I check them out somewhere between occasionally and rarely.
  • Global Tag Cloud
    • Perhaps this became less popular because Delicious dumped it for highlighting stacks. I certainly rarely looked at it.

Other features/functions:

  • Private Tags – occasionally came in handy, particularly when “for:” was a tag; or when I prefer my research to be private.
  • Tag Bundles
    • I found handy as a home-educator to bundle tags into the key learning areas – eg: my SOSE bundle.
  • Linkrolls
    • Delicious stopped encouraging these (by no longer showing how to make them), however I managed to resurrect and edit the code to gather material in a post on research diaries a year ago;
    • People got around this with widgets and gadgets.  However the download burden for loading widgets needs to be considered if serving a mobile audience. I would want to be able to track its usage to see whether it was worth it.
    • Can I create them again for this WordPress site? <– something to try?
  • Daily post to blog
    • When I tried it with blogger it required a workaround with diigo;
    • yuck.  This is a great way to lose an audience.  Receiving such posts through my RSS feeds was boring. Sure I found one or two interesting items, but too many were just links with no context.
    • It might work out okay if you are careful about
      • volume (for daily posts I’d recommend no more than three new links)
      • only using it if it includes your own notes, and
      • writing engaging, personal perspective notes.
  • Send to others & Twitter
    • I used the for: tag until a Send field appeared and also emailed while saving.
    • Long ago while saving a link I know I sent @twitter, yet my search of Twitter with from:moonflowrdragon source:delicious came up blank


    • have asked @Delicious

[Update 26 July] and received reply, conversation, and answers

  • import/export
    • In the mists of time I believe I imported a file of bookmarks to Delicious.
    • In the aforementioned search for an autopost option, I exported to Diigo.
    • During the Yahoo! crisis I learned to backup. My choice was to re-install a Diigo toolbar, import my latest, and subsequently save to Delicious via Diigo.
  • Stacks (when Avos bought Delicious back).
    • for the experiment, I tried it out in summer 2011/2012 and even made one public; <–Try another? maybe libraries using delicious?
    • I never really took to it because I saw no value in sending people away from my/organisational site.
    • Most uses I’ve read about already were primary or early secondary school gathering activities. <–something to search?

Since the start of INF206:

  • Save from Twitter & Facebook. <–something tried
    • Email from Delicious was timely – set up very easy;
    • Useful for backing up tweets with links… but that means it will have backed up links to all of the blogposts that automatically tweet!

… what have I missed?

After all of that, my learning plan still needs a starting point on how information services can use tools like Delicious… Next Time.


Kroski, E. (2008). Web 2.0 for librarians and information professionals. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve delicious dessert…