Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Confessions of an Info-holic

I love reading blogs, listservs, Twitter and a variety of information from other sources.  But I could stop at any time.  If I really needed to.  

As I sit here, procrastinating by sharing my addiction with you, I have this problem:

So, 55 unread messages - 22 from my work email, 33 from home.  But it's actually worse than that.  I have 260 messages in my work inbox and 282 in my home inbox.  

And then there's the small matter of the 95 blog posts I haven't read yet.  I popped into Google Reader, while it's still operating, to see how many blogs I subscribe to.  Turns out it's 40, but I also discovered these stats:

And OK, now that's starting to look like I might be a bit out of control.  It's just that so many people have really interesting things to say, and I don't want to miss out on any of it.  It's a librarian thing.  But my iPad has beeped three times since I started this and instead of feeling that warm happy glow from incoming mail I have a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.

So, time for ACTION!  I need a way to balance my love of information with having time to actually implement some of the great ideas I am reading about.

Here's what I am going to do - I am going to get rid of at least half of the blogs I subscribe to. Ouch.  Choosing what to remove is going to be hard.  Especially since I just remembered another blog I was recommended in the weekend that I was going to subscribe to...

I seem to manage Twitter better than my RSS subscriptions.  I don't have notifications for Twitter so I don't feel the burden I do when I see that stupid red circle with a giant number in it telling me how many blog posts I have yet to read.

Next up, email.  My two main sources of incoming emails are from the school library listserv and the Virtual  Learning Network (vln).  Both are awesome sources of knowledge.  However, in the interests of my sanity I am going to turn off email notifications for the groups I belong to on the vln. I can still go in and check out the great discussions happening there but I won't get an email every time someone posts something in any of the seven groups I belong to.  

Don't ask me to give up the library listserv because I WON'T!  I'd probably get withdrawal symptoms or something.

Wish me luck, information addiction is a hard one to overcome, I just hope I have the willpower to get me through.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Unconferences, Twitter and ANZ 23 Mobile Things


On Saturday I am responsible for a 60 minute "unconference" run as part of the SLANZA (School Library Association of New Zealand) Waikato/BoP AGM.  I am basing it on the "smackdown" part of the educamps I have been to.  I have been to several educamps (unconferences run by teachers) and have enjoyed them immensely.  To have the opportunity for free p.d. about a variety of great ideas and funky new tools...what can I say, I'm addicted.  

I hope that things go smoothly in this first try of an unconference for librarians.


I was thinking about what I should share at the unconference and my love of Twitter was my first choice.  Two years ago I attended a SLANZA conference and two of the keynote speakers, from Australia and the U.S., both raved about Twitter.  Up to that point I had considered Twitter to be for people who really wanted to know what Lady Gaga had for breakfast.

So, I decided to give it a go and I have never looked back.  Twitter is an amazing opportunity to tap into the wisdom of librarians and educators from around the world.  You can follow amazing, professional people you may otherwise not have access to.  I think of the people I follow as being my personal curators.  They are all sharing links to the best articles and videos they come across, in additional to adding their own thoughts and ideas.

I try to follow a range of people from the education sector - librarians, teachers, principals, I.T. experts.  I also follow people in the U.S., U.K. and Australia as well as NZ.  It broadens my horizons and exposes me to lots of new ideas.

I was thinking of examples of what I have gained from Twitter and I'd have to say that it is all Twitter's fault that I am nervously anticipating Saturday's unconference.  All of the educamps/unconferences I have been to I heard about on Twitter.  Here are two more examples:

  1. At morning tea today I had a chat with the assistant principal at our school.  We were discussing TED talks and I was able to discuss a talk she mentioned because it had been tweeted about a few weeks ago.  Felt good too!
  2. A few of the NZ educators I follow have been discussing timelapse on Twitter and showing examples of what they've been filming.  Because of this I am now working on a timelapse of the library at lunchtime to use to promote the library on the school website.  

If I've inspired anyone to have a look at Twitter, here are a few people to follow to get you started (I've limited myself to ten librarians and ten educators):

@MSimmsNZ - Me!

@anniemurphypaul (a journalist not an educator, but she writes about how we learn)

If you actually need a few tips about getting started in Twitter, that leads me nicely to my last topic today...

ANZ 23 Mobile Things

This sounds a bit like a bank app...but it's not.  It's the Australian/New Zealand collaboration of 23 Mobile Things, which is a "self directed online program to learn more about mobile technologies that are changing the way people, society and libraries access information and communicate with each other".  I'm really keen to follow this, if I can fit it in.  But all you really need to know that is that Week 1 deals with...Twitter!  I love the slides by Ned Potter about why you should use Twitter.  If I haven't convinced you then check him out, he says it better that I do.