Thing 12: Putting the social into social media

Are there any other advantages to [online] social networking in the context of professional development than those already outlined above?

(Those advantages already mentioned were: better communication between individuals who may or may not have the chance to meet otherwise, creates a more collaborative working space as people are encouraged to share ideas, aids in building online communities, which can then turn into real-life communities, can provide easy access to other fields of the profession.The only thing I can think of is that online networking might help those who otherwise would not engage in networking, such as people who don’t feel very confident in face-to-face  social situations or who dislike real life networking.

Can you think of any disadvantages?

Only that people could use online networking as a replacement for face-to-face networking. Not sure this is necessarily a bad thing in all cases, but online networking is probably not appropriate for every situation. Sometimes you do just need to talk to people face-t0-face.

Has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally?

Yes, lots of people, especially on Twitter and blogs.  I think I even have more contact with people who work in my building via Twitter than in real life, which probably tells you all you need to know about communication in our workplace.

Did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? Will you keep using it after the programme has finished?

Yes and yes.

In your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?

Well, I think it does – it’s certainly made me feel part of the wider library community,  but I also think it can do the opposite and lead to people feeling excluded, for example if they don’t feel confident in using social networking, or are latecomers to it, or just don’t understand it.  As with pretty much anything, social networking should be used with caution, and should not replace a normal diet of day-to-day, face-to-face interactions.
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