Sally Forth comic strip by Francesco Marciuliano, May 1, 2009
I signed up for a Twitter account (I’m riofriotex) back in January, I think – both to try it out and to use it to follow the announcements of the ALA Youth Media Awards at ALA Midwinter in Denver. Unfortunately, about 45 minutes into the presentations, the Twitter feed failed (at their end) for some yet-unexplained reason. Luckily I was also following the announcements on a live video feed as they hadn’t gotten to the big awards (like the Newbery and Caldecott) before “some difficulties with Twitter” occurred. Nevertheless, I might use Twitter to “follow” similar events in the future.
I frankly don’t have the time to “follow” anybody. I’m finding that a number of my friends are sending their tweets either to their blogs (that I already read) or to Facebook. I also don’t have the time to distill my thoughts into 140 characters and post them for “followers” to read. To be honest, I find my friends’ tweets rather boring; I’d much rather read a more thoughtful blog post or even Facebook status update from them. I think the 140 character limit has really stifled their writing. And I have to wonder if that same limit only encourages some of the extremely poor writing (lots of sentence fragments in particular) that I saw in the papers I graded for the children’s literature course.
I suppose my aversion to Twitter is similar to my aversion to instant messaging – a dislike of texting, partly because my 52-year-old fingers don’t move so fast in the limited area of a cell phone keypad. Based on the poor response to Meebo on my campus, I’m not likely to encourage Twitter use with the students I work with. However, a communications professor on campus who I admire uses Twitter in a class assignment, and I’m interested to hear about the results.
First let me say I am not a huge fan of IM. I don’t send text messages on my phone, and I don’t even like to receive them since they cost me a dollar each. However, I have found the chat feature on Facebook handy (particularly to “talk” to my college-age son, who is often hard to reach any other way). I’ve also used various chat/instant messaging widgits on various websites, particularly those with online catalogs (to ask questions before I order an item). Recently I chatted with a colleague at work, a professor in the communications department, who has a Yahoo Messenger Pingbox widgit installed on her blog.
However, after attending TechNet 2008 and hearing Beth Thomsett-Scott’s Reference Beyond the Desk presentation, I decide to give Meebo a try. I’m rdg301librarian there. The reason for the name is that I decided to try IM to see if the students in Reading (RDG) 301, Introduction to Children’s Literature, the main class I support on campus–and the one I just finished substitute-teaching last week :) — would use it.
Back in Fall 2008, I put Meebo widgits on both the blog and the wiki I set up for the class. I even conducted a survey last November and one respondent said they’d used the Meebo widgit, but I really don’t think that’s the case. Granted, I’m not as good as I should be about remembering to sign in (and unfortunately, with audio off on our public desk computers at work, I wouldn’t always be aware when a message came in anyway) – but I still don’t think anyone ever used it.
Nevertheless, I’m going to leave it on our sites. I know my place of work experimented with virtual reference in the past and wasn’t too happy with it, but I’d be willing to help “staff” an IM aggregator service at our library. I’m on our Tech Task Force (which has mostly been focusing on our own 23 Things-type project this past year), so perhaps this topic can be addressed this fall – start of our new year.
After reading the ChartingStocks blog post about problems with Ning, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get any more involved with this Web 2.0 “tool” than I already was. I created a Ning account late last year to join a network created by an online class I was following. However, there’s been very little activity on that network since the class ended.
Unlike others, I didn’t have too much trouble finding possible new groups to join. I did a search on “texas librarians” and found a number of relevant groups. I joined North Texas Library Assessment because I recognized the name of the network creator and some other members, and because its topic, academic library assessment, seemed relevant to me. We’ll see if anything comes of it. I also joined Joyce Valenza’s TeacherLibrarianNing, which looks to be rather active.
Given the problems with Ning, and some concerns that Meredith Farkas raised in her blog about relying too much on even the “free” Web 2.0 tools, Ning is something I’m going to hold off on for a while, at least when it comes to setting up my own network. I’ll see how things go with these new ones I’ve joined first.
Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip by Mike Peters, May 8, 2009
After an intense three weeks preparing lectures (more like book talks on multiple picture books) on children’s literature genres, grading papers, listening to presentations and developing an online exam, I am back.
The article distinguishing between Facebook pages and groups was useful. My library doesn’t have a Facebook page, but perhaps we should think about developing one. I’m a fan of 20 pages, including a few libraries and other education-related places.
As for groups, I already belonged to a few (Librarians and Facebook, Library 2.0 Interest Group, Libraries and Librarians, for example), but found a few more to join: UNT-SLIS Unite!, where I went to library school, and a couple for my K-8 Catholic school in Houston (about to celebrate its 45th anniversary). There’s a potential problem with groups right there; people will often start them not realizing another group for the same thing already exists.
I’m also part of a closed group: my small (125) Houston Catholic girls’ high school class has a group, partly for planning for our 35th reunion next year. The administrator said, “I have made this a private group … to prevent professional alumni businesses from getting our class list. If you know any other Class of 75 members on Facebook, just have them contact me and I will let them in the group.” I think that’s a good idea.
I’ve enjoyed looking at the various reunion and other class photos posted on some of these group pages, and trying to figure out who is who!