Plus ça change… (thing 23)

It’s frustrating and yet strangely reassuring to find that I haven’t changed at all in roughly 20 years of having “coursework” to complete. As soon as the 23 Things blog posted about the stay of execution, I just knew that I’d be writing this at the last minute on Monday night, even though I was well on track to complete by the original finish date of 27th August. Memories of various dissertations and even Alevel coursework flash across my mind, hastily compiling bibliographies (from index cards in the pre-Zotero days) into the early hours and checking page numbering while standing in the queue at the printers’. Sigh. I can take some solace from the fable of the hare and the tortoise maybe? So long as I get there in the end.

Image by Jehsuk, via Flickr

I’m determined to cross that finish line and collect that voucher certificate, so I’ve made sure that I’ve posted and tagged on each thing, up to and including this one. I’ve actually done it, 23 Things.

To fulfil the requirements, a quick summary of what I’ve thought of the various Things, though those thoughts haven’t changed much since I first blogged about them.

Things I was already using or liked so much I bought the company will continue to use: Google calendar, Google docs, RSS feeds (how did I manage without them?) and Google Reader (I tried out some other feedreaders but have always returned to Google Reader), Doodle, wikis, Twitter (more of this one later), blogging, commenting & tagging, youtube & podcasting (though not necessarily in a library context for the last two)

Things I really like even though I’ve not returned to them yet: LibraryThing, Zotero/Mendeley, Slideshare, Delicious

Things I am suspending judgement on, pending further use: LinkedIn

Things that are Not For Me: Facebook (no surprise there), iGoogle (I just haven’t really used it since I set it up despite using the calendar and reader functions several times a day)

It seems like a long time ago since the launch. A lot has happened since then and it’s been interesting to look back at my earlier blog posts and remember the early stages of this journey (yes, I used the j-word, live with it). I hoped to find out more about social media and specifically how they apply to libraries and I have. Through the various Things, I know more about what is going on in libraries in Cambridge and beyond as well as thinking about what else could be done and what that would mean. I know that’s the point of the programme and it’s been great.

However, I’m going to be self-indulgent and talk more about what it’s meant for me personally and professionally. If naked narcissism offends you, look away now.

When I started this blog, I wrote specifically about what I was hoping would come out of my participation in 23 Things.

I am particularly interested in seeing the new connections, friendships and working relationships that might be born out of the peer support and social networking that form an integral part of 23 Things.

This has been the best result of the programme for me, because I think I have made new connections, friendships and working relationships. As a direct results of 23 Things, I’m on the organising team for the Cambridge Librarians Teachmeet, working with 4 people met only through commenting on blogs and who have been great fun to work with, using tools (Doodle, Google Docs, wikis) that formed an integral part of the programme. It’s been a fantastic opportunity and I’m really looking forward to the event itself, which I think will be extremely interesting professionally but also in terms of continuing the peer support and networking that has begun with 23 Things. The communication meeting was also a direct outcome from the 23 Things programme, dealing with something that was hugely important to me. That conversation and discussion has already started, in ways that wouldn’t have really been possible before, and I am very hopeful that it will continue.

I agonised about anonymity when starting this blog, something I talked about in  Batgirl & me. I’m glad that I didn’t aim for total anonymity because being identifiably me has made it easier to get involved in Teachmeet and the communication discussion. I’m actually surprised how much I’ve been willing to put my name on during the course of the last 12 weeks – I now use my name on my Twitter account, on the Teachmeet wiki and elsewhere. It’s a real departure for me and I’m still getting used to it. I think, though, that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Certainly Twitter has been the big revelation of 23 Things for me. I was highly sceptical at first, lumped it in with Facebook. I lurked there, looking at tweets from conferences or training events that I couldn’t attend. I thought being an active tweeter wouldn’t bring me much more than lurking, but I was very wrong. Twitter has been invaluable in creating the sense of community I was hoping for. More broadly than that, I have found it a fantastic professional awareness tool because there are so many great librarians/information professionals on Twitter, linking to interesting blog posts/news stories/projects. I’ve also found a real benefit of the informal communication style is that I’m more likely to contact someone or ask a question or follow up on something via Twitter than I would be by email, for example. I’ve had fascinating discussions, found help with details of organising the Teachmeet and got involved in projects this way. I’ve used it for other non-work projects that I’m involved in. I have really enjoyed commenting on blogs as well, it seems that there is real value to be gained from being a contributor as well as a consumer of web 2.0 content.

All of this – Twitter, rss feeds from great library blogs, Teachmeet – has come at a time when I really wanted to get back on the professional development train after a few years where maternity leave and balancing work and home became more a priority. This experience and writing a blog has helped enormously, there is now burbling under at all times a real sense of professional development. I have several objectives in mind for the next year (useful as staff review is coming soon), which have crystallised due to my time spent doing 23 Things. It’s amazing to think about it really.

I am thinking very seriously about continuing to blog, something I didn’t expect. I definitely will keep going until after the Teachmeet as I want to blog about that and then of course there’s Teachmeet 2011. I also have a couple of posts formulating in my mind that I haven’t had time to post yet. I’m unsure if I have enough to sustain in the longer term though, and I’m also unhappy with my blog title if I continue to blog post-cam23!

Image courtesy of Creativity & Thomas K Hamilton, via Flickr

What is left to say? Just a big thank you.

Thank you to organisers and thank you, a great big thank you, to all the participants. You know who you are, those people who commented on this blog, those who posted great, funny, entertaining, thought-provoking posts that I commented on. Thank you for the very many conversations I have had with so many of you, most of which could only have happened because of 23 Things in the many virtual spaces for conversation that this programme has created. Thank you for Twitter, RSS feeds, countless great recommendations and links. Thank you for renewing my enthusiasm for my profession and for giving me the chance to re-engage with the things that drew me to this job in the first place.

I’m going to leave now before I turn into Kate Winslett at acceptance speech time. I’ll save all that for the wrap party.

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1 comment so far

  1. Girl in the Moon on

    Hurrah, hurrah! Congrats on finishing. Was worrying last night (could you tell?) that you’d fall at the last hurdle – didn’t know you have form for coming in just under the wire 🙂


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