Communication Tools

(AKA Week 2 Reflection)

This week in our PLN exploration we were asked to try Twitter, Facebook and Skype. So I thought to myself, “Too easy. I’ve done all this before.”

Wrong. I’d barely scratched the surface of what these tools can do for communication.

Twitter: I used to be passive, just following a few friends and interesting celebrities. Now I’ve put that account away in the bottom drawer, and set up @Infobrarian, where I try to be a bit more conversational. Now I see Twitter as part of my librarian toolkit.

Facebook: This used to be strictly for keeping in touch with family and old friends. Now I’m using it to talk to the VicPLN participants. That’s a bit confronting, because I can’t hide behind an alias – my Facebook account is in my real name, has my real photos, and worse still, has me tagged in lots of my friends’ old embarrassing photos. Maybe I should set up a professional account here, too, although Facebook doesn’t really like you having more than one.

Skype: I loved using Skype when I was revising for exams last year. I had a fantastic study partner in another state, and we used Skype and Dropbox to share summaries and revision. After the first couple of sessions, once we were sure neither of us was Hannibal Lector, we didn’t bother with video, and just used audio – or mostly text chat.

Some people probably like the immediacy of Skype, but I prefer to think about my responses when I am discussing “deeper” topics. So yes, my brain is a bit too slow for Skype …







5 thoughts on “Communication Tools

  1. So glad to hear that even with familiar tools, you are seeing new uses for each. The idea of personal accounts and professional accounts is an interesting one. Most educators would probably feel more comfortable with setting up different accounts, as a way of keeping the line between work and personal life clear.

    You can do this in Facebook by using a different email address, though the automated sign up will often reject names it thinks might be made up. An attorney named Mark Zuckerberg was even rejected by Facebook when he tried to sign up- they claimed he was just trying to steal their founder’s identity!
    The PLN team

  2. The “professional” Facebook account might be a solution for teachers, who are forbidden in most Australian states from having their students as FB friends. With a work-related account, teachers could set up subject-based forums where they could discuss relevant issues with other users – including students – without “friending” anybody.

    But why bother with Facebook for this? Why not just use any blog or utility that has a forum built in? One of my schools has a student blog. Why not communicate through this?

    Answering my own question: That’s where the kids are – on Facebook.

  3. It’s a good idea to have a professional account with Facebook -that way work needn’t mix with your private life. Try with another email.
    PLN team

  4. 2 months later – and I haven’t done anything about setting up a “professional” Facebook account. I prefer to be “me’ on the VicPLN Facebook page, and that’s the only thing I’ve been using Facebook for lately. Both of the schools where I work have blocked Facebook. One has its own blogging platform, and a library blog, so that’s where I interact with our students. I have a smaller role in the other school, with less student contact, so there isn’t any imperative to meet students online, although we are now setting up a subject-based discussion through LibGuides. This school also bans staff from “friending” students on social networking sites, so Facebook isn’t an option.

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