Author Archives: isingidanceireadthings

Missing Links

For my final post, I chose to create a LinkedIn account.  Now, while my foray into the realm of Twitter was captivating and left me a convert, LinkedIn still has yet to grab my attention.

First of all, I really hate that I’m filling out a resume.  Yes, I understand that LinkedIn is for finding professional contacts and stimulating networking, resume writing is my least-favorite form of writing and I avoid it at all costs. So my profile is still rather sparse, as I’ve been avoiding fleshing it out

My next issue: the purpose of the site.  To me, it’s the job-hunting social network.  And if there’s anything I dislike almost as much as resume writing, it’s, you guessed it, job hunting.  Probably because, as a substitute teacher, I always seem to find myself looking for the next job to tide me over until school is back in session.  It’s an exhausting process that involves a lot of small talk and more than its fair share of schmoozing. 

However, I do like the job recommendation emails they send out.  Had I created this account a year ago, before starting at SJSU and really starting to enjoy my work as a substitute, this would have been an invaluable resource.  Many of the positions it shows are located in the greater Los Angeles area, a move which would have been welcome before.  Now that I’m settled into an apartment and enjoying my seasonal teaching, however, moving is a greater issue than it was.  I do, however, plan on fleshing out my profile and closely monitoring local postings as summer draws ever closer with my impending unemployment.

 

Overall, had I the time and inclination, I would probably use this site more.  It is not a social presence that immediately draws one in, like Facebook and Twitter.  It takes dedication to flesh out and navigate.  However, for the desperate job seeker, constant job hopper, or one who is perpetually keeping their options open, it is a great resource. 

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#Facebook

Once upon a time, hashtags–the term used to describe “#” in its use for digital metadata organization–were exclusive to Twitter.  Slowly but surely, they’ve begun to creep their way into other forms of social media.  I first noticed the #invasion when my Facebook friends would cross-post from Twitter, and these ridiculous run-on statements preceded by the number sign began to show up on my news feed.  To me, it made no sense.  On Facebook, these tags mean nothing.

But as I branched out into other forms of social media, I finally discovered their value.  These ridiculous looking phrases are actually quite efficient and effective ways of post-coordinate indexing, which quickly organize unlimited amounts of data into relevant categories.  So my pictures on Instagram tagged #halloweeniscoming are sorted with other pictures sporting the same label; the curious Instagrammer can now find these and other posts through searching this hashtag.  So now that I’ve encountered #hashtags in their natural environment, I can appreciated them for their important role in data organization.

With Pinterest, Flickr, and Instagram following Twitter (that I know of) in the #revolution, one has to ask: is Facebook next? According to The Wall Street Journal and Small Business Trends, they just might.  And I for one am in full support of this change.  It’s just another step in fully integrating the digital experience, and allows users with like interests to make vital connections easier than ever before.  Take yesterday’s movement for marriage equality that dominated many a Facebook news feed.  While visually, many people shared their support by changing profile pictures and cover photos to a red equal sign, hashtags could have connected them on a more concrete level, linking all posts from across the world and bringing them into one united group. 

 

#ilikehashtagsbutthatsjustme

To All the Twitter-pated

Prior to this class, I staunchly refused to enter the twitter-sphere. I didn’t see the merit of this new social media device–I already had a Facebook account which was more than adequate to serve my digital communication needs.  Twitter just seemed like an unnecessary evil. It didn’t help that the majority of my friends seem to share the same opinion, so it’s not like I’d be able to communicate with them using this medium, regardless.

However, in the interest of using this course to its full potential, I have decided to explore those social media sites I’ve previously scorned, just to be fair. So shortly after our last blog post, I created a Twitter account, and have been playing with it ever since–look me up @iSingDanceRead.

Some of my initial hesitation proved true. Few of my friends use the site, so my “followers” are few, and many of those are people I’ve never heard of. And some of the content posted to Twitter seems redundant–why use 3 Tweets when you can communicate the same information in a more viewer-friendly manner via Facebook?

Having now used it, though, I can identify some perks to this tool.  I’m most impressed by their app for Android phones. It’s very streamlined and easy to navigate, and while my Facebook app constantly crashes or refuses to load, I’ve never experienced any such inconveniences with Twitter to date.

I’ve also come to appreciate the sense of immediacy Twitter provides. Since people and organizations are constantly updating their Twitter feed, it’s as if you’re caught up in their train of thought, creating a more personal bond than one finds on Facebook, where daily posts average far fewer. I’ve loved following one of my favorite YA authors, Maureen Johnson, who is a self-professed Twitter-addict and constantly updates her page with both personal and professional information. It humanizes the name on the covers of her books, and makes her followers and fans feel more like friends.

However, this constant flow of information does have its drawbacks.  Unless one is willing, like Maureen Johnson, to be constantly updating their page, it is easy for information to get lost in the flow of things. For example, I follow the Santa Clarita Library on Twitter, who updates their feed a couple times a day.  While this is perfectly adequate for Facebook, where there is a much slower rate of information transfer, I’ve found that I rarely see their posts on my Twitter feed. When organizations and people update on an hourly basis, my feed is constantly in flux and posts are quickly lost in the flow. 

So while I have come to appreciate Twitter for its unique strengths, and now consider it a valid social media tool, it is not without my reservations. This site provides a great opportunity to connect with patrons on an immediate and personal level, however, it requires diligent and frequent postings and monitoring in order to live up to its full potential.

My, How Pinteresting…

When it comes to social media, I’m not the greatest advocate. Now, that’s not to say that I have anything against it. Quite the opposite, actually. I constantly check my Facebook account, and use it for both personal and professional needs.  On one hand, I use it as a means to keep in touch with gal pals scattered across the world, from San Francisco to Mozambique. Professionally, it allows me to keep in touch with teachers I have worked for in the past, and functions as a medium to secure future substitute jobs.  But up until recently, Facebook was really my only social media constant.  I never felt inclined to open a Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc., because all my social networking needs were met by this one site.  Why have multiple accounts on a variety of websites when the one does just fine and keeps me plenty busy?

However, I’ve recently become addicted to that young upstart.  It has taken the idea of bookmarks to a whole new, social level.  Not only do I have a visual database of interesting links, sorted into whatever categories make sense to me, but I can also view the collections of friends and colleagues.  I can even find pages run by organizations I support and authors I loved.

Yup, you guessed it.

I’m a Pinterest junkie.

As someone who has always been more of a visual learner, being able to organize all my digital metadata into a visual database is perfect.  No longer do I bookmark an interesting recipe, placing a brief line of text in a neat little folder within another little neat little folder within an unassuming icon on my browser, effectively putting it out of sight and out of mind.  Now, I simply scroll through my board “Yum :d,” look for that one picture, and follow the embedded link to that delicious looking crockpot recipe for Lemon Garlic Chicken (tomorrow’s main dish at dinner).  And it hold so much more than recipes.  My largest boards are for crafts, sewing, fandoms, clothing, music, and food.  It’s made me more organized, and constantly exposes me to new ideas and pushes me to think outside of the box creatively.  I also follow some favorite YA author’s boards so I can keep track of their book recommendations.

Obviously, it’s a great tool for my personal life.  However, I think it’s going to prove to be a great asset for libraries.  Libraries can now create a visual database of information for their patrons to browse at will. Fliers for current events can be posted on one board, and images from recent events on another.  Other boards could hold specialized information for different interest groups or to educate patrons about different events an issues, such as Black History Month or Women’s Suffrage.

Yes, all this can also be done on a blog, or through a website.  Pinterest, however, allows these to each have their own unique space, and users can choose whether or not to follow specific boards.  So rather than scroll through a list of facebook posts to look for relevant information, teens interested in YA fiction can follow the board specific to that topic.  Their homepage, then, is filled only with relevant information that piques their specific interests.  Book club members can keep in touch with each other by following and posting to a board specific to their needs.

Now, to be sure, ‘tags’ in blogs or #hashtags on Twitter allow for some filtering.  Users can, potentially, sift through a large quantity of posts and pull out only pertinent information with relevant tags. But this is still more work than the Pinterest board method.  Tags still require users to go from general to specific every time they go to the webpage.  With Pinterest boards, all the relevant information is already sorted, no extra steps necessary.

A quick search on Pinterest already shows that many libraries are taking advantage of this excellent resource. I only hope my local libraries will jump on the bandwagon too!