This thing called “social” media

What is this all about and how can social media be helpful? I have debated this question with myself for a long time. I have accounts with so many different social media outlets that I cannot begin to remember them all, much less keep up with them. When I think about social media as “professional media,” it makes more sense to me.
There is a difference between social media for social purposes and social media for professional purposes. For example, I use Facebook to keep up with my personal contacts. It is a great way to know what my friends and family are doing. I use Twitter and blogs for professional learning. To my friends and family, my Twitter feed is rather boring – it is full of links to great library ideas and library humor (which doesn’t seem to have the same impact when shared with teenage boys!). To my professional contacts, I might retweet something exciting!
Where does that leave blogging? I use blogs as part of my professional learning network. There are so many great school library blogs out there, where do you start?
  • Find a few to follow and make it part of your daily routine to check in with each of them. Is there a specific day of the week the blogger posts? Add it to your calendar so it becomes part of your to-do list.
  • Start small. Find two or three bloggers that you enjoy. Get into the habit of keeping up with a few. Library Learners has a list of library blogs by state, if you want to follow someone in your area:
  • Ask colleague which blogs they read. Browse a few and see which ones speak to you. Choose blogs were you find support or ideas that match your teaching style. Choose one that stretches you and introduces new ideas to you as well.
Do not let the idea of following blogs overwhelm you. Just like you would read the latest journal as soon as it showed up in your mailbox, make it a habit to read the latest blog post. This is the heart of “professional media.”

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