Thing 23: Making it all Work Together

I have often wondered how people manage when they are in charge of running multiple social media accounts for work / on committees but hootsuite seems like a good way around it. I like the fact that you can have separate streams for mentions / retweets/ messages etc.

 

At the moment my personal needs probably don’t justify using a tool like this though I can see how it would be massively beneficial for social media managers. I’ve enjoyed having a flit around checking some of the features out but for me, I like keeping all of my social media accounts separate – in my mind I can distinguish each network as each one is used for a slightly different purpose. Having them all in one place would probably just confuse me!

 

I never really gelled with flip board the first time we explored it in thing 8 so I didn’t bother doing it this time (particularly as it’s public to all and I don’t want my twitter and Facebook mingling). It’s useful to bear in mind for future instances though as I enjoy using twitter and I’d love to do it for a special interest group or committee as I think there’s actually quite a lot of scope for creativity (just look at the Orkney Island Library’s twitter account for an example of this).

 

I can’t believe this is the final “thing”! I just want to thank all of the librarians who have devoted their time to making this a stimulating and educational experience. I’m so glad I made the off the cuff decision to take part as it’s been really rewarding and I’ve learned so many new things.

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Thing 22: Mobile Things

smartphone-431230_1280Considering the fact that I’m a product of the mobile generation, I was a particularly late bloomer. This was due largely to the fact that I was banished for an entire four year period from owning a mobile device. Before you pity me I can only highlight at this point that this was wholly accountable to my own stupidity.

When smart phones became available at a reasonable price on contract I went straight to the shop and emerged with a shiny new phone which I had no idea how to use. Within the space of a week I had gone out into town and had come back phoneless – I won’t go into detail but all I’ll say is that the truth of what actually happened versus the embellished story I used to explain the situation to my parents were somewhat at odds with each other. In the latter I’d featured as the downtrodden victim of a facetious criminal who had targeted me with nothing but malicious intent whereas the former (more realistic) version featured a pair of high-heels, a shiny, alcohol laced floor and a spread eagled Jordan Murphy whose inebriated brain could only focus on one operational task at a time, the consequences of which led to a considerably extended window of time for fellow dance-floor inhabitants to seize as yet, unclaimed scattered handbag items.

As if this story were not terrible enough, after waiting painstakingly for the two year contract I had signed to end so that I could finally be on par with my, by this time, much more technologically advanced peers, I walked into the shop, re-emerged with said desired smartphone and repeated the same process all over again. Four years after the beginning of this woeful tale began, I experienced a “third-time-lucky” situation and you’ll be glad to hear that my wiser and much more sensible self has had the self-awareness and organisation to be able to hold onto my smartphone!

By the time I finally had such a device, apps were already a well-established phenomenon and it has taken me until now to fully feel comfortable with and actually enjoy using them. I have in fact crossed to the other side and can now say “I couldn’t live without my I-phone”.

Some of the apps I’ve found really useful, aside from the obvious social networking sites and other tools we’ve covered in this course are Evernote and Google keep which are great for personal organisation, facilitating what I essentially consider my own personal database of files which can be accessed anywhere on any device. Though an internet enabled sign-in is required on PCs, the app on my phone allows me to access documents without the internet. Evernote allows users to create “Notebooks” in which any type of file is stored. For instance I have a travel notebook in which I keep a tube map, train timetable, any ticket booking confirmations and also quick notes I’ve jotted down about how to get somewhere. I have a recipe notebook, a work notebook and a “Tickets and confirmations” notebook. The free version has been more than adequate so far for my personal requirements as I only use it for current documents and delete any I no longer need. I suppose it’s nice to know your files are saved in an additional place which is easily accessible that requires no internet connection.

A very useful feature was the provision of an email address for my evernote account which could be used to email documents to although this is limited and I have now reached my capacity. All in all though a very useful app.

I also love functional apps such as mobile banking and the BBC weather app because, well, I have to live up to the British stereotype of constantly checking the weather despite the fact that one can be pretty safe in the knowledge of grey, cold, wet.

I will also check out the GUM app and see what happens with my copy of John Green’s novel which I’m fairly certain is sitting on my bookshelf.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Thing 18: telling stories through pictures

Of all of the Web 2.0 tools I’m a fan of, Instagram and Flickr have always presented a few problems for me. Until now, when I hear the word Instagram I can’t help but think of hipsters with their artisan ciders and carefully trimmed beards, health freaks snapping their “gluten free, chai seed blueberry muffins” and “it girls’s” selfies of Botox filled lips and HD eyebrows with the inevitable flash of Micheal Kors watch and handbag. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s all so “look at me, look how cool I am”, yeah well you know what, I eat blueberries every morning for breakfast but I just don’t feel the need to brandish this around for all the world to see.

Ok so perhaps I’m being slightly hyperbolic here. A little. Maybe. But I see how music videos and popular culture filter in through their mass medias and then I see Instagram pictures desperately trying to replicate this “ideal world” where people seem to prance about with Indian chief headdresses in vintage convertible cars with tribal tattoos and fringed leather jackets… I could go on and on and no, this isn’t a personal attack on Lana Del Ray or any of the celebrities and artists that I can’t help but notice people methodically (yet oh so nonchalantly) trying to replicate. I have just tended to feel in the past that image sharing platforms like this are perpetuating the desire for attaining perfection and young people are probably the demographic with highest exposure whilst simultaneously being the most vulnerable. When I was fourteen I remember been hypnotised by the beauty of the models in vogue and Elle but it didn’t make me feel good, it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough and never would be like them. Obviously what happened next was that I grew up and realised that actually it’s not natural to have a “thigh gap”, I noticed that actually no human beings really looked that insanely perfect because air brushing could only be performed on media generated images. I just fear that if I felt the damaging presence of these images of perfection ten years ago, what must it be like for young girls now? They have to contend with a constant barrage of content which they’ll inevitably be comparing themselves to. Perhaps I’m being over the top and I realise how conservative I sound but I don’t like this culture of vanity and comparison that has irrefutably evolved at a cataclysmic rate due to platforms like this. I just know if I had a daughter I’d have to think very carefully about how I’d have her interact with these applications.

I really hate to sound negative and I accept that there are probably many societal positives to come from this as well as the bad stuff. For instance, I don’t think I ever even knew about the Creative Commons project but I think it’s incredible. For all of the7548442648_761a493a2a_h issues presented by the very history we are making being under threat by superseding technologies, it’s great to know that such a grass roots project has been Bourne to document our 21st century world and not only that but it’s being supported by so many cultural institutions. I love how, once registered you are invited to make the commons richer by sharing your knowledge, its a library democracy! I lost myself for about two hours last night just ogling the amazing images that have been captured from space and planets to plants and wildlife and finally old images of places i’ve lived or been to. This is truly a gem of our time.

I can see how photo sharing is an invaluable resource for libraries and museums, particularly as technologies emerge and threaten old media formats with extinction; I’d hope that projects like the creative commons will allow photograohs to be carried through change and remain protected. One of our biggest threats is losing important pieces of history which seems more of a problem now than ever before. I tried to download the instagram app last night but my laptop wouldn’t let me for some reason but I’m also quite glad. I hope I don’t get reprimanded for not taking part in this aspect of the task but I just don’t quite feel too comfortable with using this yet. I also have the fear that apps like this automatically sync your personal images from your phone and that’s something I just don’t want to have to deal with! I am however glad to have come accross flickr, I won’t be using it in a personal or professional capacity at the moment because it’s not too relevant for either but I’m a happier chappy knowing the commons exists. It’s also given me chance to dig up an old picture of Trinity College Dublin from The National Library of Ireland’s commons account.

(Image taken from The national Liibrary of Ireland’s Creative Commons account Flickr)

I hope some one will tell me if I’m not attributing this correctly!

Thing 16: Collaborative Tools

Chain made of colorful paper clips on white background

Chain made of colorful paper clips on white background

Tools like Google docs were just about in existence during my time at university though it was the very early days where caution and suspicion we’re exercised before “signing up” to things and “creating accounts” willy nilly. I could count on one hand the sources that were incoming to my inbox and for as long as I could I stubbornly clung on to this ideal.

Things have changed however and as I acclimatise to the increasingly invasive nature of maintaining any sort of digital presence, I finally feel that the exchange of a few of my basic details for the advantage of clever collaborative tools and online resources is almost fair (when I put the fact that these basic details are being aggressively culled into one big melting pot of data which will inevitably be used to my own disadvantage by corporate companies for the perpetuation of the capitalist machine – yes when I put that to the back of my mind I can just about deem it a fair enough exchange).

Google Docs has been hot in the press recently with its new features set to rival Microsoft Office. I read a great article here  about Google Docs’ easy to use templates, spreadsheets and voice typing – it all sounds like pretty eciting stuff. I like how the platform works seamlessly with word to allow interchange between the two applications and I feel that as my University course gets underway I will find this an invaluable tool. As a distance learner I imagine that collaborative applications will be my best friend and as a stringent believer in everyone pulling their weight in team projects, it’s good to know that there will be no excuses for flakes! Dogs can only eat homework in paper format thanks very much! I’m looking forward to using some of the templates which I think will be helpful for some of the less traditionally academic aspects which I am less accustomed to like report writing and audits.

Scarily I was the first one to comment on the Rudai 23 collaborative document so I hope I’ve got it right!

I’ve used Docs twice before in a acollaborative way; I once added a question to a UKLIBCHAT discussion and I’ve also used them in the context of a lifestyle blog I used to contribute to; each week the list of article titles would be available for all the writers to access and each perosn would choose two or three titles that they would cover. It worked very practically in this way and I would certainly use it again for projects in the future.

Doodle looks like another convenient tool though I assume you have to have an account in order to use it. I have created an account but aren’t sure if you would be able to invite people to events if they don’t have a profile. If I ever do need to organise a proffessional event in the future I will bear it in mind but I doubt it would be useful at work as the company already has its own collaborative share point and all meetings are scheduled on Outlook calander. It’s all useful stuff to know though!

 

#Thing8: Curation Tools

Thing 8 is a librarian’s (is wet too rude?) dream: exploring the best resources to display and present information in a variety of different ways… erm “hello, somebody called?”

I’m already a huge fan of pinterest, It’s such a simple idea i’m secretly seething I didn’t think of it first. I mean well of course I did but then the idea was stolen right out of my hands and then some one injected me with memory loss serum… Anywho, I’ve always been an advocate from day one and use my board religiously for recipes, books and pretty much anything I find Screenshot 2015-08-18 15.32.46interesting. What’s worse is that I’ve pushed family members into similar addictions and all I can say is, Lord only knows what the living room is going to look like next time I visit my parents’ house… all because of pinterest! I think it’s the simplicity that speaks volumes; I use it as a personal curation tool but I can also see it as an incredible learning tool for classrooms and as information boards for libraries.

As a child me and my nerdy little friend – I won’t drag him into my sorry state of affairs by naming him – used to love making “Information pages”, we would choose a random topic, research it and then present the information on a beautifully presented plaque (usually cut from the back of a cereal packet). I even remember choosing cereal based on the size and sturdiness of the box all in the name of my beloved information pages! Can you imagine if a time traveller knocked on our door and presented us with pinterest!? I think I would have cried with joy for at least 7 consecutive days (Though I admit I was the girl who preferred the boxes more than the presents that came inside them on Christmas day). Unfortunately the bond with my friend never progressed past junior school; we both went to different high schools and he drew a questionable self-portrait of himself which was eternally printed on our “Class leavers tea-towel” and it forced me to ask if he thought of himself as a cockroach. Children are harsh critics. So our relationship ended here but my relationship with information was just beginning.

Pinteresting is a very visual tool and I think we all know from the infographic craze that our brains digest information more easily when it is presented in a visually pleasing format. It’s a perfect brainstorming tool and easily allows you to create your own moodboard on any topic. I’ve seen everything from dinosaur classroom project boards to oddly shaped furniture boards. All you can do is marvel at the ingeniousness of a six foot bookshelf in the shape of Great Britain!

I decided to explore Storify for this “thing” as I had never used it before and flipboard looked like a similar concept to other applications I’ve used whereas storify offers a slightly unique way of presenting information. Having used it, again, I can see it being a great tool for learning. It’s incredibly easy to use and would be good for anything chronology based. I’ve seen #uklibchat’s storify of the August twitter conversation; although it worked well I found it a little too similar to the original twitter chat itself (with some of the creases and overlaps ironed out of course) but I think I prefer the good old fashioned write-up.

The only annoying thing I noticed was that when I went back to correct any spelling mistakes I had made it kept automatically changing back to the incorrect spelling again, I’m not sure why this was but it was very irritating and therefore my storify probably has mistakes in it which, after three attempts at changing I just gave up and moved on.

 

Imaginitively, the theme for my Storify was “My Rudai 23 Experience so far”. Click Here to see my storify!

I’d also like to address the fact that I have cheekily skipped thing 7 but I’m creating the content for my podcast which is time consuming so I’m treating it as an on-going side project.