23 Things for Research – Things 10, 11, and 12

I am playing catch up at the moment with this blog post one week late. I’m doing two other professional development courses alongside this, which is proving to be quite busy!

  • Thing 10: Facebook

I am a keen user of Facebook. I signed up in 2007 and have seen it go through many changes. Facebook is for my personal use, not professional, although I ‘like’ the odd library page here and there.

I think Facebook is hugely useful on a personal level but I am not sure whether it is useful as a way to promote yourself profesionally. I think that it is a good way for organisations to promote themselves to users of Facebook, however. Our library has a Facebook page, for example, as do many other libraries, in the hope that library users will see useful information relevant to them.

Using Facebook for personal reasons allows me to keep up to date with friends. It’s a great place to invite people to parties too and to share what you are up to, from the every day occurances to sharing something special, like graduating. I know a lot of people worry about privacy, including my mum. The media publishes how unsafe Facebook is and how every personal detail is made available for the public to see. What some people, like my mum, don’t understand is that you can alter your privacy settings so that your profile is completely locked down to people you are not friends with. There is a useful button which allows you to view your page as somebody else, including those you are not friends with. All you can see of my profile as an outsider is my gender, name, and cover photo (which cannot be made private for some reason. At least, I haven’t figured out how to).

You can also customsie what people see. If you’re afraid to ‘unfriend’ somebody because you’re worried it will cause more hassle than not, you can limit what they see on your profile and what you see of their’s.

Conclusion:

Great for personal use, probably not so useful professionally.

  • Things 11 and 12: LinkedIn and Academia.edu

I have a LinkedIn profile, not an Academia.edu profile. My LinkedIn profile was, like a number of my social media profiles, set up as a result of the 23 Things programme I did a few years ago.

I have mixed feelings about LinkedIn. I like to keep it up-to-date because I know that if a potential employer looked at it, they might not be impressed if they saw it had been abandoned with no current information. I try to be detailed in my job description so people can clearly see the skills that I have and I add professional development details to my profile too.

I do wonder at the value of LinkedIn for librarians though. I know somebody who works in IT who had recruitment agents contacting them constantly trying to find them job after they created a LinkedIn profile. I don’t believe librarianship works in the same way. I certainly have never had anybody contact me out of the blue to tell me they have a job opportunity they’d like me to consider.

I think that LinkedIn is a professional place for librarians to put their CV for others to see what they do, not as a recruitment tool. I think that it is another way for librarians to make themselves known via social media to show that they are serious about their profession.

Conclusion

A good tool for professional use but not necessarily as a recuitment tool.

  • Overview: comparing Facebook and LinkedIn

This section asks whether LinkedIn is a suitable alternative to Facebook for professional activities. Based on the way I use the two websites, Facebook is best for personal use and LinkedIn is best for professional. If you search for LinkedIn on Google, its strap line reads “manage your professional identity, build and engage with your professional network.” LinkedIn has been created for use as a professional. Facebook is definitely geared towards personal use and descibes itself as being used to connect friends and family. The fact that websites advertise themselves as such influences their appearance and functionality, which is further reflected in the way that people utilise them. Although I have a few present and past work colleagues as friends on Facebook, I am not going to use it to promote myself professionally, especially as there’s six years worth of my personal life on there. 

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