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#makeithappen: Cultivating and Maintaining Professional Relationships through Social Media

A poster session handout of the 2013 Alabama Library Association Annual Convention Montgomery, AL, April 24, 2013 Lauren Dodd Hall ( or @laurendodd) & Erin E. Boyd ( or @eeboyd)
Handout link:
Abstract In the early 2000s, when MySpace was a teenage trend and Facebook was only for college students, social media may have seemed irrelevant to ones career. In 2013, not only is it here to stay, it is currently one of the most powerful tools professional librarians possess to network with their peers. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and even LinkedIn all contain special shortcuts or groups that facilitate professional development discussions without the cost of attending a webinar or conference. If you are already at a conference (hi!), the conversations you initiate can last well after a program or a conference has ended. For example, do you #makeithappen in ALA Think Tank, the largest librarian group on Facebook? Have you ever spent a Wednesday night with #libchat? Do you Hangout with your fellow instruction librarians on Google+? Come chat with us (in person) about utilizing social media to engage with your librarian peers and create lasting connections.

Create professional circles Ways to Connect: Circles, Hangouts, Communities (i.e. Groups) Circles: An easy way to organize people you want to interact with into lists. You can choose to post status updates that are only viewable by the circles you choose. This provides a more private, personal experience. Hangouts: Start a free (!) video chat or video conference with up to ten people. Hangouts can be done from your computer, phone, or tablet (Android or Apple). Communities (i.e. Groups): Google+ offers both public and private communities. Here are some librarian communities: Instruction Librarians From the group profile, A community for instruction librarians at any type of library. Discuss technique, assessment, educational technology, and anything else related to teaching information literacy. This group has also been known to host hangout sessions. RDA Cataloging Community - A relatively new community for library and information science professionals or students to come together to share ideas, tips, tricks or resources and to learn about Resource Description & Access (RDA) or other issues related to cataloging and metadata. Libraries and Librarians - A public community about libraries and librarians of all kinds that covers local and global issues in librarianship.

ALA JobList - An extension of the ALA JobList site that also has places on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

People you know or have met Ways to Connect: Chat, Events, Friends Lists, Groups, Messages, Pages Chat/Messages: Messaging features within Facebook. Events: Facebook events are an easy way to spread the word about upcoming events or occasions. They can be created by anyone, and be open or private. The creator can invite their friends, members of a group, or fans of a page. Friends Lists: Facebook now allows you to create lists for each of your contacts. Create lists for your family, close friends, and professional contacts and share information with only those contacts. Pages: Communities/entities can create their own pages for people to like and interact with. Many libraries/alum groups/associations have fan pages. Groups: There are three types of groups: Open, Closed, and Secret. The table below illustrations each groups privacy settings and who can join.

Image link: ALA Think Tank (open) - The largest active librarian group on Facebook. An informal group of information sharing librarians whose motto is #makeithappen. Disclaimer: while they love

ALA, they are not affiliated with the American Library Association. Their ALA is Awesome Librarians Associated. Academic Librarians (open) - From the group profile, There doesn't seem to be anywhere else (listserv, social network, etc.) to talk about what is going on in academic libraries, both on the macro- and micro-level. The goal is that this group will be a place where these issues can be beaten to death without boring the rest of the library community. These could range from philosophical discussions about assessing learning in academic libraries--finding peer-reviewers for like-minded librarians going up for tenure--investigating new or evolving resources--or advice on the publishing process. The only limit is that the discussion be related to academic libraries. MSU-LEETS (open) - MSU Libraries eResource and Emerging Technologies Summit or MSULEETS is a symposium held at the Mississippi State University Library focusing on emerging technologies in Academic Libraries. Academic Social Media Managers (closed) - This is a small group for people managing social media in academia. Wordpress and Librarians (open) - A Facebook community for librarians that utilize Wordpress for their library or personal use. RDA Caf (open) - From the group profile, A group for library and information science students and professional catalog librarians. Its a place to discuss Resource Description and Access, share resources, and get the latest news. This is an unofficial group, and it is not owned by JSC for Development of RDA. Lifting Librarians (closed) - From the group profile, Just because our jobs are sedentary doesn't mean we have to be! Post recipes, inspiration, stress relief and time management tips, workouts, wellness tips, books to read, music to listen to, anything that will help improve the quality of life for librarians and those who love them. SLIS Groups - Search Facebook for your current or former SLIS program to find out what's going on with the program, connect with alumni, or offer current students advice. Association Pages/Groups (ALA, ALLA) - Join many of the open association (ALLA, ALA, ACRL, PLA) groups on Facebook. Start discussions or follow to see what activities each group is hosting.

Connect professionally without an introduction Ways to Connect: Crowdsourcing, Hashtags, Followers, Lists, Twitter Chats

Crowdsourcing: Have a question? Ask it on Twitter. Youd be surprised at how many librarians (and occasionally non-librarians) want to help you out! Include a hashtag to help others find your question. Hashtag: One of the most popular features of Twitter is the hashtag. A hashtag is a word or phrase that begins with the symbol "#" to create a tag that provides a way to search for commonly used phrases or to start a conversation. Followers: People who have chosen to follow your tweets. Where do I find people to follow? The easiest way weve found is by finding one person to follow and see who theyre following. You can also see if they have a library list that they curate all of their librarians or library-related topics in. Twitter lists: Lists are great way to organize who you follow into categories. Twitter chats: A great way to get involved with Twitter is to participate in Twitter chats. These chats usually have a common hashtag that should be included with each tweet to connect with the conversation. An easy way to keep up with Twitter chats or to view older chats is to use the site TweetChat: For examples of popular Twitter chats, see the list below. #libchat - Occurs every Wednesday evening at 7:00 CT. #libchat hosts a meeting of the minds on books, libraries and technology. Think of it as a library conference at your desk. For more information, see #SLAtalk (formerly #SLAchat) - SLA hosts organized chats with pre-planned questions, and captures some of the responses on their official blog. Here is the blog post from their most recent chat: #jlib - A new Twitter chat for Childrens Librarians. For more information, see: #saturdaylibrarian - A hashtag inadvertently created by someone who had to work on a Saturday; now a regular, popular place to post Saturday library adventures or see who else is working behind the desk. #ala2013/#acrl2013 - Official hashtag for this years conferences. A great way to connect with fellow librarians at a conference, catch up on sessions you might have missed, and tweet snippets from presentations. Usually beneficial to follow whether present at the conference or not. #acrl2013 has passed, but the tweets are still worth going back and reading. #alaleftbehind - For those of us who cant make it to ALA. Started as a joke hashtag, but has become a way for left behind librarians to commiserate and connect. #alctsce - The official hashtag of ALCTS online learning. Anyone can live tweet during webinars to share information being presented during these sessions.

Designed to facilitate professional relationships Ways to Connect: Connections, Groups/Discussion boards Connections: Connections are your LinkedIn contacts. Connect with your coworkers, library colleagues, or former classmates. Groups/Discussion boards: Join groups to interact with other professionals. Each group has a discussion board for professionals seeking advice or sharing information. You can search the group directory (or use the Similar To feature) to find a wide number of groups to join. See the list below for a few library groups: American Library Association - This is the LinkedIn group for the American Library Association (ALA). The group currently has over 30,000 members. LIS Career Options - Subgroup of the American Library Association LinkedIn group. From the group profile, This is a forum devoted to exchanging information about LIS careers, both traditional and alternative, for LIS professionals, students, and those aspiring to a career working with information. Librarians in the Job Market - From the group profile, This is a networking group about potential available library positions. INALJ - From the group profile, A positive space online for information professionals, library staff and librarians looking for jobs to congregate and share tips and information. Careers in Federal Libraries - A group specifically for those currently employed in--or looking to be employed by--the federal government/government contractors. Alumni/SLIS Groups - Find your former schools/programs on LinkedIn and stay up to date with other alums, or offer current students advice.

Personal vs. Professional Considerations

Why social media? Its free, easy to use, and allows you to follow conference or webinar sessions whether you are physically or virtually present. You can friend or follow colleagues during conferences to stay connected. What if I want to keep my account personal? The easiest way to keep your account separate is to create lists or circles to separate personal and professional contacts. For ultimate privacy, you can create a second account that is for professional contacts only.

Where do I start? "Ultimately, it's about experimentation. If you're already on Facebook, perhaps browse and join a few of the librarian groups. Create a "librarian" list and post occasional statuses meant only for that group. If you're new to Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn, just sign up and start small. Follow or add a few people to your list. Find groups to join, or read a #libchat or two without participating. Find out what you're comfortable with. And have fun!" How do I maintain my connections? The suggestion that we can offer is dont go off the grid for too long. Checking in on your social networks on a regular basis will keep you connected to your peers.

Further Reading
Hack Library School 20 Essential Twitter Chats for the Library Crowd: 25 Ways to Use Twitter to Improve Your Professional Development: Do You Keep Your Facebook and LinkedIn Friends Separate?: