Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Cpd23 - Thing 11 and 12 - Mentoring and Putting the social into social media.

Thing 11 is looking at mentoring.

I currently have a mentor as I am doing my Chartership and it is a prerequisite of the portfolio being accepted by CILIP. I have found it useful as meeting up with her has meant that I keep to my deadlines and she often points me in a slightly different direction to the one I was looking at - not in an immediately obvious way just a slight nudge! I've liked having one for this reason.

Other than that, I've never had an official mentor, although I have occasionally had unofficial ones throughout my life. These have generally been people I look up to and admire.

I have had to be a mentor to people in my current workplace and felt woefully under prepared for it, however, I didn't have any complaints and despite one of the members leaving later on I'm sure it wasn't because of me!

Although having a mentor is a nice thing to have I wouldn't panic if I didn't have one and I don't think others should do either, as often they are there to provide confidence. I  have built on my confidence by working hard and knowing that I can do what I put my mind to and participating in new ventures, like this, can really help.

Thing 12 is going to be quite a short blog this time, as I think I have already extolled the virtues of social networking before. I think social media is a fantastic tool  for building  networks and creating a sense of community.

Professionally, for me the ADVANTAGES are:

The speed of which I can interact with people - I know there's the phone but a tweet or a post in an online debate is so much easier, quicker and doesn't involve disturbing people working or trying to locate them.

The amount of appropriate and  really up to date knowledge I can  access - usually someone has read an interesting article or report and is willing to share. I rarely have the time to look for the them so it is great to latch on to what the people actually paid to research the good stuff have found!

It has put me in contact with people I would never have normally been in touch with. I have met them both online and then in real life, for example, the Cpd23 meetup in London. I found out about the Birmingham Library Camp through Twtter and the whole thing, from the agenda to the cake, has been organised by bunch of social networkers. I am looking forward to meeting many of them there.

The DISADVANTAGES for me are:

Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on what's happening as I can't keep up with everything, especially on Twitter. I can't have Twitter on constantly like some do so I generally just look through say 20 of the last posts from each of my saved lists and have to just leave it at that, otherwise, I'd be spending an inordinate amount of time on there which would not be healthy. For everything else I use rss feeds and have told myself it's okay not to read everything and occasionally use the 'mark all as read' button - without really having read them (who's going to know?) - great post on this here from Laura Woods, aka @Woodsiegirl.

I occasionally feel like I can't keep up with all the new social networking platforms, as reiterated in Phil Bradley's post. I know I need to for the benefit of my own professional development and the people I provide a service for but sometimes it just seems like -  yet another thing! Google+ is a prime example of this!

I'm not sure yet how I can get round these issues but I will be reading other's blogs out of interest to see if they have experienced similar issues and how they have dealt with them. My tip at the moment is to be selective.

The majority of the social networking community I have experienced comes across as really friendly and helpful. There have been the occasional blips such as the Little Gossip website and people using Twitter and Facebook for the riots and hate campaigns. But for every site glorifying a Raol Moat type character there is another called #riotcleanup. I think social networking reflects society - it is not like the crooked mirror in Andersen's The Snow Queen which distorts it.

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