Monday, April 14, 2008

Thing 23: Final thoughts

Basically, I feel like a learned A LOT going through the 23 Things on a Stick program. Sometimes I felt (and still feel) overwhelmed by all of the information in each Thing, because I felt like I didn't have enough time to explore as much as I wanted to. The program opened up a lot of doors as far as promoting the library, offering classes, etc. It also consistently brought up issues with the filtering of the computers, which I think is something that needs to be addressed. It's pretty hard to incorporate some of these tools (such as MySpace or YouTube) if people who come into the library don't have access to them.
Some of my favorite Things were some I was already familiar with. I really liked Bloglines, because I like having everything right in front of me. Especially as more friends and family create blogs, it's nice to just add them to my feeds, and that way I'll automatically know when they're updated instead of constantly having to check each site separately. I can see myself using that for years to come.
I also really enjoyed learning about Flickr. I really didn't know anything about it, but I love the idea of using it as a backup for photos. I love pictures, and it would devastate me if anything happened to them, so this is a project I plan to undertake using Flickr.
LibraryThing and Facebook were tools I already used and loved, but I got the opportunity to explore them further and discovered aspects of each that I was unaware of before. It's made me want to keep learning more about each and really take advantage of what they have to offer.
One thing that surprised me about the 23 Things on a Stick was that I really wasn't sure I would use any of them in my daily, personal life (although I'm not sure why I thought that). I already use Bloglines and Facebook everyday, have started getting my photos on Flickr, and have begun to do even more with LibraryThing. So I've really taken a lot away from this program. And that's just to name a few.
One suggestion that I think would make things so much easier would be if the links on the 23 Things on a Stick blog could open in a separate window. It's difficult to follow directions when you constantly have to go back to the 23 Things blog instead of going back and forth. Maybe there is a way to do that and I just didn't figure it out, but that to me was a little frustrating at times. I would participate in more programs if management allowed work time to complete them.
It's difficult to sum up in one word or sentence my experience or thoughts on 23 Things on a Stick, but I guess I would say it made me feel more comfortable with all of the different tools that are out there, and it also made me want to learn much, much more. Overall a very successful program.

Thing 22: What did I learn today?

The 23 Things experience has really been a lot of fun, because some of the things I've discovered through the program I can see using in other parts of my life, besides just work. Some of my favorites have been Bloglines, LibraryThing, Flickr, Facebook, and just discovering other social networking options. Some things I don't know that I will ever use, but it's nice to know they're around.
I think I am going to keep doing a blog, but I will probably create a new one that may be more relevant to my life. I will definitely incorporate the things I've already learned, and hope to be more willing to explore on my own. It's definitely good to keep up with what's happening on the Web, and I still feel like I haven't even cracked the surface.
I'm not sure I've found a way to keep up with things; I'm still learning more about the things we have already done. There's so much to explore, and I would like to be more comfortable on some of the sites/tools I plan to use regularly (or already do use regularly). It's definitely been a great learning experience, and I'm glad I got to complete the program.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thing 21: Other social networking sites

So it was interesting to know that there are so many more social networking sites out there; I had no idea at all that there were so many. It's so overwhelming, and I don't even know how to begin choosing which ones are "right" for me. I thought Gather was interesting; one of the things I liked about was that it had different links for different interests, like books, movies, music, etc. And some of the ongoing discussions were pretty funny, but some also seemed pretty pointless. I am intrigued to join the Minnesota Readers Group, but I haven't yet, because I'm not sure I want to join anymore sites. Again, a lot of these sites seem like good places to go and waste time. I'm not sure how many of them I would actually keep up with. I did hear some good things about, so I may check that out, although i haven't yet. I hope that the 23 Things on a Stick blog stays up for awhile, so that I will be able to expand my knowledge even more when I'm not on a time constraint.
To me, Ning seemed similar to the sites we've already explored, although I did notice that it was much more customized and specific. I did join the 23 Things on a Stick group and left a comment for someone, and I also added a badge to my blog, so I hope that it works when I post. I was a little upset that we had to join yet another site, when i already feel like I have joined or signed up for so many things I will never use, but I did it anyway since it was part of the way to complete the Thing. I cannot see myself on this much in the future, though.
I have used WebJunction before, for finding information for computer classes and such, but I'm not exactly clear on how it's a social networking site? It seemed like the most different site from all the other ones I have looked at.
Also, when I tried to read the Publisher's Weekly article about MySpace and Gather, I wasn't able to get it to come up, which was a little frustrating since I was really interested in it. Oh well.

Visit 23 Things on a Stick

Thing 20 - Libraries and social networks

I already have both a MySpace and Facebook account. I created a MySpace page a while back because a lot of my friends were there, and I thought it would be a great way to keep up with friends who live far away. But, for some reason, I have found it to be rather difficult to figure out. It's probably like most things, I just haven't put enough time into it. And I never really actually communicated with my friends all that much on MySpace. More recently, however, I have re-discovered Facebook. I first had a Facebook account when i was in grad school and a TA; I thought it would be good to know what all of my students were up to. However, I wasn't entirely comfortable with that account, as I wasn't sure of the privacy standards. But, when I started to realize that nearly all of my friends had decided that Facebook was the "better" way to communicate and stay in touch, I opened a new account, and have liked it much better than MySpace. While all of the application invitations can get annoying, I do like that you can become "fans" of things, and it seems much easier to communicate with friends who are also on Facebook. It's also a great way to share pictures, because if one of your friends "tags" you in a picture, it is automatically added to the photos on your account, which is pretty cool. Also, it's a great way to create groups and events, and it just seems a little easier to use, and much more private than MySpace.
I looked at Hennepin County Library's MySpace page, and I really liked it. Our library has talked in the past of having a MySpace page, but we have filtering problems that would have to be overcome before that could become a reality. I liked how HCL featured music they have on their shelves, events, and all of that. It would be great if we could link it to the library's home page. I'm not exactly sure how well a Facebook page would work, since I think MySpace is still more popular, but any of these I think would achieve one goal - to get youth and teens more involved in the library.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thing 19: Podcasting

So I've known the general definition of podcasting for awhile now, but have not been overly familiar with podcasts themselves, either creating or listening to them. And I'm still not familiar with creating them; to be honest, I don't like how I sound to myself, and so I'm not comfortable putting out a podcast that anyone could listen to. However, it was interesting searching the directory; I used, and I liked that because it was divided into categories. I didn't have a specific podcast I was looking for, so this was a great way for me to find one. I was looking for one that was related to fantasy football, because I'm really into that during the football season and so I thought a podcast of it would give me an edge next year. I'm not sure I like the one that I selected, but I did notice that there are a lot more to experiment with, so that was nice. I also chose a podcast of a morning radio show I used to listen to all the time, but which now I don't get since the radio station isn't in Fargo. I was able to subscribe to that podcast directly from the radio station's web site, so that was another route to take.
I did add both of these podcasts to my Bloglines account, and was excited to see that they have actually been updating. Unfortunately, I think that iTunes needs to be on the computer to listen to them from that account (at least the morning radio show), so I haven't been able to listen to them yet. But, I'm excited to be able to upload the morning show to my iPod and listen to it at the gym or whenever.
Not quite sure how this would work in a library. Unless you did something like podcasts of special programs the library hosts or storytime or something like that. A teen program could also involve making a podcast, but again I'm not exactly sure about the best practices and all that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thing 18 - YouTube

I really like YouTube, and have spent several hours at a time there before. It's so easy to get lost in all of the interesting videos. And the fact that they list related videos makes it easy to meander around the site, which is what I constantly find myself doing. It took me a while to choose what video I wanted to post, but then figured I would post the Sweeney Todd trailer because a) I love movies and b) I love Johnny Depp and c) the whole concept of the movie is pretty awesome. Plus a lot of the other things I would have posted, like comedians or something, seemed somehow inappropriate for a work-related blog. So those are my reasons for choosing the video I chose. I could see how YouTube videos could be good PR for a library and also get teens more interested. I liked the WSU library orientation that they had for their new students. It was really quick but also really informative. YouTube seems like it would have a lot of different options for libraries; they could post videos to their own website, could have their own videos posted on YouTube, and so there are a lot of possibilities. One problem I think we would have is that I believe YouTube is blocked on our filter computers, so I'm not sure how well it would work for our library specifically, unless there's a way to unblock that particular site.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thing 17 - ELM productivity tools

For some reason, I had a really hard time with this Thing. But it looked like, from all the comments, that I wasn't the only one. This is one that I would really need more time to explore, I think, to really get the benefits from it. I'm not really sure how I would use it at my job. If there was someone who wanted us to do ongoing research, I guess then it would be useful. But there really aren't too many requests like that. And while I do use Ebsco more than most of the other databases, it still isn't all that much. This Thing had a lot of information that I will have to continue to digest when I have the time. I can see Ebsco being really helpful if writing an academic paper especially, and that would have been really nice while in school. There are other searches too, that may yield an interesting collection, but I struggled to get it to work. I will keep trying.