LinkedIn. The site now has over 100 million users and, although not as well known as Facebook, is becoming more prolific. It is designed to be a professional rather than a personal network. It is popular in the business sector and with a growing number of librarians. As with Facebook, you set up a profile which includes your employment and professional interests and then you make connections (add friends in facebook terms). It is advised that you connect with people you know or have business links with rather than just anyone. This is so that you build up a professional network of people.
It is possible to view public profiles and open group discussions without joining LinkedIn, although if you want to see a full profile or contribute to a discussion then you need to become a member. Many of the discussion groups are closed unless you are registered.
Check out some of the following Cambridge librarians and CILIP discussion group on LinkedIn to see if you are tempted to join:
Colin Higgins (St. Catharine's College)
Ange Fitzpatrick (Judge Business School)
Libby Tilley (English Faculty)
Iain Shaw (Academic Services Librarian, Cambridge University Library)
To join go to http://www.linkedin.com/ and fill in the join box. You can fill in as much or as little of your profile as you wish as you can always come back and edit it later. But remember this is your professional profile and you want to project the right image, after all you may be connecting with future employers.
When you look at your page in the top right your name is written and if you hover over this you will get a drop down box that allows you to change your settings. From your profile page there is a search box where you can enter names or from the drop down list choose groups to search for some library groups.
Once you join a group, such as CILIP or the Cambridge Library Group, you can follow and contribute to discussions. This is a great way to network with other people in the profession.
Not sure if LinkedIn is for you then check out this article on How are people really using LinkedIn?.
More social networking?
Just as you thought it was safe to go back into the social networking water, having mastered twitter, facebook and LinkedIn, along comes a new one - Google+. Check out Phil Bradley's blog to learn more about it and why librarians need to be on it. Also on Yahoo news there is a review on why G+ is more about cloud based computing rather than social networking. It includes a link to the slideshow by Vincent Wong, using G+ photo viewer, that tells us what G+ is really all about . Google+ seems to be a mixture of Facebook and twitter, plus more, as you invite people on and connect directly or just follow them within circles that you create. I have put below a screenshot from an account I set up to test the waters. If you are logged onto your google account (e.g. gmail, calendar etc) then G+ will appear on the toolbar as well for easy access.
After reviewing LinkedIn then why not try out Google+ and blog about the different social networks. You could think about what you might get out of them professionally or for your library. Do you think you will maintain a presence on them all or just choose one? If so which one and why.
Remember to look out for the extra thing this week on media sharing sites.