I have a confession to make. I have been, and am still something of, a Social media Sceptic. I know a little bit ironic considering the media I am writing in. 😉
As a librarian, I am currently using several social media sites with mixed results, which has failed to convert me from scepticism.
I have a Linkedin profile, where I can keep track of people I worked with, and professional acquaintances. I have a large number of connections, and through this I have spotted one colleagues job change. Yet most of my connections seem to only have one or two other connections. I would have thought with the close and tech savvy nature of our profession I would have been part of a vast network of connections, but few colleagues seem to be using this network.
I have a Ning profile, where I am on two groups Re-imagining libraries and NZLibraries2.0. Both these networks are similar in their interest and similar in their usage, in fact there is very little traffic on both networks. Again I wonder why as Kiwi information professionals who often engage in community spaces, we don’t seem to be adopting these technologies when the rest of the world is? 😕
I also a Twitter profile which is an official library profile for my organisation Tararua District Libraries. This has been quite successful for me in engaging with other librarians around the country, and with others who are interested in issues that interest me. This is not quite what I had envisioned though, as I was hoping it would be a tool to connect with the digital community based in the Tararua region.
I have two blogging profiles on WordPress one for this blog, and the other for the blog I run for the Library. I have been steadily building readership for the library blog, but again I wonder how much is local? There is a real difficulty in finding that out and I have not yet had a success in fostering community engagement. 😀
Personally I don’t use social media. I don’t Facebook or Bebo, I don’t Tweet at home. I read blogs, but don’t comment except occasionally as “Anonymous”. My better half and I have recently started to find forums that interest us but are yet to really engage.
Recently though I had a Social Media success. Through Twitter I have made contact with Tee Morris [http://twitter.com/TeeMonster] and Philippa Balantine [http://twitter.com/PhilippaJane]. Tee is in New Zealand giving a number of seminars on Social Media and I am booked in to attend two in Wellington next week. I have only had contact with them through Twitter. Tee and Pip offered to come to Dannevirke and give a session on podcasting, specifically Podiobooks. For this free session they drove from Wellington to Dannevirke and back on the same day. It was a wonderful example of social media networking. If you miss one of the talks presented by Tee, he was on Radio New Zealand with Chris Laidlaw last Sunday 7th June, which is available on podcast. 💡
Was this a Road to Damascus moment for me? Has the cynicism being cast from me in a blinding light? Well no. While the organisation was a great success, and an example of Social Networking at it’s finest, the turnout still leaves me with doubts. Despite lots of advertising on the blog, and twitter, despite posters and flyers around the library and newspaper advertising, we had for me a disappointing turnout. At our intimate talk we had five listeners, myself, two other librarians, someone from the council and someone who had travelled all the way from Wellington.
So all this has left me with these questions. Why, when as information profession, do we seem to be so slow at taking up Social Media? Is it just us Kiwi librarians? Even though I see myself as part of a growing movement in this area, and my networking at a national level is developing nicely, why can’t I seem to connect at a local level? Is this Social Media only really working in the big cities? Are there not enough digitally active people in the region to connect to? Or are they just virtually somewhere else?