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Posts tagged: Managing Information

Twitter Thinking

I had a great conversation with my colleague David Nolen this week about reading and writing being the same thing, essentially. Or how could they be. He’d been wrestling with the idea since he heard it from the Nobel-prize winning French writer J.M.G. Le Clezio who spoke at MSU recently.

Somehow this led to “does Twitter make you stupid” which David posed theoretically, and I, of course, rejected outright.

Twitter makes me smarter and super full of information and super-duper totally connected to everyone and everything all the time (gulp). –me

But, fighting knee-jerk reactions is my specialty, thanks to my father, and drilling down to the essential bits of the “changed-brains” theory that seems to be floating around, there does seem to be this new way of gathering information out there. Whether or not it’s changing brains, we continued to debate.

Thinking about Twitter, I imagine mainlining data. The myths (how could something so new already have myths?) that Twitter is about lunch or contemplating belly buttons is so beyond my experience it’s hard to know where to begin. I am acting as my professional/personal self online. I gather, evaluate and disseminate information (much like olde librarians of yester year). I put myself in my community to be of service to the community. I am still trying to be where my “patrons” are, when they need me. I have internalized my profession and I am actualizing it in this new world.

That being said, I have decided not to check Twitter until I have already accomplished things AT work. NOT to begin reading tweets from my bed via my iPhone as soon as I wake up, as has been my wont. It turns out that if I start mainlining too early, I get into that cloud of data and it’s hard to get back out to think about larger projects. I need that morning time to start thinking about projects at work. To get motivated. So is this an addiction? Or is it just hard to switch between two types of thinking? I don’t know. More to come.

My 2.0 Sandbox: RSSmeme and Wordle

Originally posted on June 16, 2008.

Well, I’ve been working hard on productivity issues related to 2.0 technologies, in part for my “steal-this-idea” session on Friday (Where Do We Go From Here: Managing Your Identity in Social Networks). A part of managing your identity turns out to be managing information overload. So many 2.0 applications and social networks are pushing information to you–which is better than having to go and ferret it out. However, the time it takes to go through all the blogs, and tweets, and friend updates, and News Feeds, and now Friend Feeds, is daunting. Even keeping up with my own activity–the blogs I’ve shared and want to file or re-read, the articles I’ve tagged to file for projects, the research I need to return to–is overwhelming. As I mentioned, FriendFeed has been great in tracking my own activity. For others, it’s been great keeping up with friends or colleagues. As I mentioned in my previous blog, Steve Rubel has been ruminating on how FriendFeed may replace traditional news feeds as a way of getting selected, trusted information.

It appears that a step in that direction may be RSSmeme, which primarly aggregates shared items from Google Reader (for those who have “registered” their feed). This tool gives you sites that have the highest number of “shares” in a certain period of time (now, today, this week, etc.). I’ve registered my Google Reader feed, and I’m now in the mix. RSSmeme will give you stats on the top share-ers, as well as the top authors being shared, top sources and top tags.

Additionally, it will aggregate your Friend Feed, showing you just the top stories tagged by your friends. This allows you, of course, to create that nirvana Steve Rubel was pointing to in his posts…perhaps. I don’t have enough friends to make that data meaningful, but knowing the top stories tagged in RSSmeme is still helpful. Perhaps because the people being aggregated share my interests. Like Digg, it’s rating stories, but unlike Digg, this is a passive process. Which makes it (in my mind anyway) time-saving and possible to be part of my information flow, rather than an addition to it.

I’m not sure what it all means yet, but it’s in my sandbox.

Another fun thing I’ve run across in my blogs today is Wordle. I love a tag cloud–I’m a very visual person and love visual representations of all kinds. For this you can cut and past documents into it, or select a username (mine is acp_lex) to create a cloud representing the central ideas in the text. You can imagine having students cut and paste their papers into Wordle to see in a graphic representation the ideas (and/or repeated words!) in their papers.

Can’t wait to see you Friday!

Identity in Social Networks

I’m reposting blogs I have been doing on our library website, just because this blog looks sad and lonely and I don’t have time or inspiration to blog separately.

I’ve been thinking a lot about creating identity–and re-creating identity online. And about managing information as part of all of that. I presented about it at our MS Library 2.0 Summit. If you follow the links to the 2008 Agenda, you can even find the podcast, my slides and a handout. I haven’t listened to the it–I’m afraid my voice was cracking at the beginning…so embarrassing.

One of the central models for creating identity in social networks came from all the new(ish) Facebook privacy tools, particularly the ones using Friend Lists. You can create a system of relationships as complicated as you have in real life–if only you had time to go through and tag everything and then remix it all to give info to some and keep it from others. But it is possible to do. And so I’ve been mincing my way through it, realizing that I’ve been sending out info to everyone’s NewsFeeds from my applications that I didn’t necessarily want to (can also be controlled under Privacy)–among other social gaffes.

So in thinking about all of this as a developmental theory–I’m moving into some sort of adolescence, I think. Becoming an adult? And I guess that means figuring out what to blog about here, on my personal blog. So I’m going to be working on that. And upgrading my WordPress (remembering where those files are and how to do that…lol). And in the meantime, what follows is a sample of what I’ve been writing about–pretty dry, but think of it as evolving.

So, here we go again…

2.0’ed again

So, I’m giving a talk at the MS Library 2.0 Summit on Managing Your Identity in Social Networks, and it’s something I think about all the time. Not just privacy, though that is a huge part of it—choosing how we want to be in public (online) is so important and there are lots of great tools to make that easy to do. But daily, I’m also faced with the headache of just managing so much information. Not extraneous hilarious cat videos on YouTube, but information I need to do my job better. Or at all.

I think part of the problem is me as a human being. I really have a vision for how these tools will help me provide better public service to our patrons here at MSU. I see that we’ve put all of our resources online, but we haven’t followed them there. In CHAT and over email, I see where our patrons get stuck and lost looking for peer-reviewed articles or trying to find a book. If they were here in the library, I could just watch them wandering through the Indexes or at the Card Catalog and call out from the Reference Desk. Or maybe one of them might screw up the courage to wander over and ask a question. But where are we now? For me, the 2.0 technologies are a means to an end. And that end is providing reference service to the Mississippi State University community. I am absolutely passionate about that and occasionally overwhelm myself with my earnest attempts.

Really, the human being part of me would like to be able to cut off from the world. I miss the time before cell phones when you could really be unavailable. Or away. I’m still on a primitive Motorola plain-Jane phone they don’t sell anymore. It does take pictures, but that’s about it. I’m reluctant to upgrade to a piece of machinery that will compel me to remain connected without interruption. Instantly uploading pictures to Flickr, blogging from the bathtub, twittering from the movies, facebooking on the beach, etc. Well, maybe I’ll still be able to take a bath.

Anyway, in trying to “manage my social networking identity” this week I’ve jumped into FriendFeed and Google Reader this week, sort of at the same time. I love Google Reader so much more than Bloglines. SO much more. And FriendFeed has the potential to be very interesting. Right now my only friend (imported from the Facebook App) is David Lee King. He’s quite the twitter-er it turns out. FriendFeed is a foot print of what you are doing in all your social networks—what you’ve bookmarked on, what you’ve shared on Google Reader, your twitter status, your blogs, your comments, etc. It’s interesting. And Google Reader has so far made it much easier for me to keep up with those blogs I always intend to read but haven’t been able to work into my daily routine.

It’s been a while since I had anything to say, but since I’ve started blogging at the conference website again, I’ve got overflow that needs to go somewhere. Try again if you can’t get to the site. Our WordPress doesn’t like our Server.


34th Birthday

Me and Gran

My birthday was a good day. 34 is a boring birthday. I went with Kris to see my grandmother on Sunday to celebrate–they fell in love and we had a great shopping trip. It’s her favorite thing to do at 89. I should be so lucky.

However, back at work I’m overwhelmed, so I’m going to make a catalog of what’s sitting on my desk in an effort to straighten out my brain.

I’m surrounded by print outs on:
implementing IM, how to engage 2.0 learners
Ellen Wagner’s talk on Learning in the Era of Web 2.0,
danah boyd’s list of people doing research on social networking sites and her presentation at NMC’s Online Conference on the Impact of Digital Media,
blogs from Library 2.0 on “Twenty things I want to ask our users” and “What they should teach in Library Science school,”
the NMC’s Horizon Report 2006
Coffee’s on, dusty books are out at UMass library” article from the Boston Globe
Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk’s article from Library Journal on Library 2.0
David Ward and M. Kathleen Kern’s article on “Combining IM and Vendor-based Chat: A Report from the Frontlines of an Integrated Service.”
An Educause article from Roberth H. McDonald and Chuck Thomas on “Disconnects Between Library Culture and Millennial Generation Values.”
Another Educause article from Carol R. Holder on “New Media and New Literacies: Perspectives on Change.”

Other random things on my desk that I’m working on:
Resumes from a search for a Digital Project Coordinator
An evaluation of the core reference titles for my subject area (agriculture/forestry) and suggestions from my OCLC Evaluation for my departments from this summer.
My committee member folder from the Templeton Ragtime Music Festival.
IM Class for library staff for January
CHAT training class for Reference Staff for January
Myspace class for our MegaResources workshop (mostly k-12 teachers)
Statistical reports on the declining reference desk statistics
Research guide materials for my department
Articles on JCR and Education and tenure for an article I’m writing with an ed faculty member
A printout reminding me that I can set up an Ask-a-Librarian link on EBSCOhost, which is an email reference function.
ASERL Conference Call Minutes for our collaborative Ask-a-Librarian program.

Plus fat folders on Virtual Reference and three on Library 2.0 full of other articles, some read and some not.

Now, the question is, where are my priorities? I was nominated to be the Treasurer of the Mississippi Library Association today. It’s a “level 1” service activity in my P&T document.

I also need to send the wiki to my department liaison, but I’m not certain it’s in the right format so I’ve gotten a bit stuck. Then I’m writing a podcast script for our Undergraduate Research Center by the end of January.

I’m just going to have to stop. I’m listening to the Sirsi/Dynix Institute’s program from last month on 25 technologies in 50 minutes while I write this blog.

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