Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
Time efficient social networking is all about creating a strategy that works for you to extend your connection, communication, and collaboration in a manageable way.
A good place to begin is by identifying what your goals are – do you have a specific focus for your online activities? Your goals will help you to focus on what’s important and avoid wasting time. Plan your weekly activity so that it is always contributing to your goals.
Once you’ve identified your goals you can then begin to locate sites, discussions and content sharing that will help you get there. Be selective about what you view, read, and listen to. Which sites give you succinct, accessible, useful information that you can incorporate into your library services and an opportunity to share knowledge back with others? Don’t be afraid to regularly review your choices, sites that may have been relevant six months ago may not be now.
Consider which tools will help you to monitor your selected sites and groups whilst providing access through a single interface. RSS feed readers are a great way to pull in content from multiple blogs for daily review, sifting, and discarding as suits your needs. Be careful not to subscribe to too many blogs though, or you will find that you simply can’t keep up. Social listening via Tweetdeck allows you to ‘listen’ to multiple voices at once and curation tools facilitate reciprocal sharing of pre selected content.
This might be a good time to reflect on your online activity and review your habits. In summary the three keys to overcoming overload are:
What other ways have you found to manage social networking overload?
Image by webtreats
As a social networker you are involved in conversations expressing your ideas, thoughts and opinions through a variety of channels such as Twitter, blogs and wikis. Social listening centres on the premise that a conversation is very much a two way process involving talking and, just as importantly, listening!
The important practice of social listening allows you to gather both feedback and input from the social media environment. There are a number of reasons for tuning in to ‘what’s going on out there’ including:
As part of your social networking toolkit there are a number of tools you can use to establish and sustain your social listening.
How do you integrate listening into your social networking routines and which tools are you using?
In order to operate effectively within the world of social networking there are certain competencies that will support your work and further develop your expertise.
Joe Murphy and Heather Moulaison identified a set of competencies that contribute to librarians “…efficiently and effectively navigating online social networking sites …”
The competencies listed below encompass the librarian’s ability to understand the context within which social networking sites exist, the range of content they can promote, their role as a communication and teaching tool, and their importance in extending library services to a wider audience.
Perhaps most important of all is the identification of flexibility as a key competency required to work creatively and dynamically within the social networking environment.
Murphy and Moulaison emphasise the importance of active learning “because proficiency with social networking sites is most easily gained through active and personal engagement”. Bearing this in mind it is worth considering how you are currently engaging with social networking in your school library.
Those of you wanting to dip your toe into the water can take a look at the group post Where do I start? from our Social Networking for School Libraries group. (You are welcome to join our group if you’re not already a member).
For the more experienced social networkers among you, would you add any other competencies to this list?
Murphy, J. and Moulaison, H. (2009). Social networking literacy competencies for librarians: Exploring considerations and engaging participation.
image by luc legay
Do you want to hear more about a reader’s experience of a book, their reactions, and interactions with the themes and content? Then why not introduce your readers to the dynamic world of Bookcasting?
Rather than a Book Trailer that introduces and summarises a title, Bookcasts can be thought of as “aesthetic video responses to books.” A bookcast focuses more on sharing the reading experience by promoting the reader’s personal response to a book having taken some time to reflect on what they have read. The most common format used for bookcasts are videos that can be shared via YouTube.
Take a look at this example of a bookcast for Shaun Tan’s “Arrival” which talks about readers’ experiences of the arrival from real to virtual worlds.
Further information with an interesting comparison of the book trailer and a bookcast for the book “Monstrumologist” is available from the Bookhenge blog.
For a teacher’s response to the concept of bookcasting see this really interesting recent blog entry by Frances Wittman. What a great way to capture your students’ creativity and ‘voice’ as readers. It would be great to see some examples relating to New Zealand writers’ works.
Online surveys and polls enable you to conduct research and gather feedback that is valuable to inform the development of the school library and to hear what your users have to say.
Such surveys can also be a useful advocacy tool in the form of gathering and disseminating information. Have you used online surveys to gather suggestions from staff and students about their recommendations for the collection? How about a poll to find students’ favourite places to read? Certain information gathered can also be used as evidence for reporting on specific issues within the library’s annual report.
For a very comprehensive run down on survey and polling tools take a look at the Webtools4u2use site. PollDaddy is a great tool if you want to embed a quick poll into your school library wiki or blog. I have used Survey Monkey and Zoomerang and have found them both equally easy to use and effective for carrying out short surveys.
flickr image from: doug88888
Social bookmarking is a great way to organise and share your favourite websites. As a web based tool it allows you to access, add to, and manage your bookmarks anytime and from any computer that’s connected to the Internet.
For those who haven’t yet adopted this practice take a look at 7 things you should know about…Social Bookmarking (PDF). As a concept, social bookmarking has been around for some years now and has culminated in the creation of a variety of tools to support bookmark sharing. The main function of social bookmarking is the ability to share your bookmarks with others and in turn discover what they have bookmarked under tags (keyword access points) that relate to your areas of interest.
flickr image by sneeu
School libraries have used social bookmarking to set up accounts that provide access to a wide range of websites accessible under different curriculum and subject areas. The tags attached to each bookmark provide users with keyword access points that can be grouped together allowing easy access. Golden Bay High School have set up a Delicious account for the school library which shows you how this can work. In addition to seeing the listing of bookmarks you can also see the 10 most popular tags and the tag bundles where keyword tags are grouped under an all encompassing term e.g. Web 2.0 as a tag bundle name could incorporate individual tags such as web2, 2.0, Web, Library2.0, L2, W2, www2.
We are now seeing the next generation of social bookmarking tools coming into play which not only allow you to bookmark websites but also social media content from sources like Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. Tools such as Diigo and Evernote provide additional functionality including the ability to add sticky notes and highlighting to websites and pdfs. These are useful tools when you want to emphasise specific points or make connections with certain web information for staff and students. With the increasing use of social networking the school library can now also share its bookmarks through social networking accounts such as Facebook and Twitter and also via email. This is a great way for the school community to keep up with current content you are collecting through multiple communication channels.
For a comprehensive discussion about social bookmarking including some of the tools you can use take a look at WebTools4U2Use.
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