#CJBSsmdl – I owe you one!

8540717756_b3c03d693d_kThe time has come to write my final blog for the Social Media Driving Licence. The point of the course was not to make us experts in all aspects of social media but to help us become more confident and introduce us to a whole new world of tools available. Like many, I started with some apprehension but can honestly say that I no longer think that Twitter is a danger to society (slight exaggeration but you get the gist)!

I particularly enjoyed learning about the tools I’d never heard of such as TinEye, Feedly and Photo Pin. It was during these demonstrations you could hear whispers around the room of ‘I wish I known about this before!’ The highlight for me was setting up this blog but it was by no means a walk in the park. It’s great fun writing about something you have an opinion of or find interesting but it becomes quite a challenge when you are given a topic to write about and have severe writers block!

The course has been great fun and I’m definitely ready to embrace social media like never before. My confidence has grown especially when using Twitter. I plan to continue to blog, start using Twitter for professional purposes and explore further the tools we have been shown. A big thanks to the Information and Library Services team for all their hard work and most of all their much needed patience!

Social Media Class photo credit: mkhmarketing via Flickr 

It’s easy once you know how!

When using social media there are a few things we need to be mindful of. Firstly content, which doesn’t necessarily need to be good depending on what site / App is being used but it’s a plus if what’s shared is useful or interesting. Secondly, are we offending anybody with what we are writing or doing anything that could get us in to trouble? Offending people is sometimes hard to avoid. As soon as you voice any kind of opinion there will be someone who doesn’t agree. Are we doing anything that could get us in to trouble? You’d think this would be easy to avoid…just don’t do or say anything stupid right?! It would seem though, that many people are getting caught out and it doesn’t matter whether they meant what they said, it’s too late. As soon as you click ‘send’, ‘post’ or ‘tweet’, it’s out there. There are people who have had to face serious consequences for their social media faux pas. Thirdly, (and most of us are guilty of not being from time to time) are we being good social media citizens?

In our week 7 class ‘Sharing and Caring’ we focussed on crediting other peoples work and staying on the right side of copyright law when using imagery. It’s pretty easy to obtain images from the web, there are millions of them, but it doesn’t mean that we should be downloading and using them as we please.

In recent years Creative Commons has come along to help those who want to protect their work and those who are searching for images they need. The non-profit organisation has created several easy to understand copyright licences (creative commons licences) for the public to use for free, thus removing individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee. Each licence makes what can be done with the piece of work in question very clear.

In order to protect your work, you can go to the Creative Commons website and answer some straight forward questions regarding whether you want to allow adaptations of your work to be shared and whether you allow commercial uses of your work. CC then provides you with the appropriate licence.

Now to post a CC image and credit it properly (I hope)! Today I visited Jaffa in Israel and so decided to search for an image of it. Sites such as Photo Pin and Flickr now make it even easier to find images which can be used guilt free as long as the rules are followed. Once an image is found, the sites even help you to credit it.6096001800_52edaa8b34_o

The old port, Jaffa, Israel photo credit: Ronsho via Flickr CC

 

 

Need help getting from A to B? Go further with Google Maps

photoExploring the Google tools made me realise how much I use Google.. and dare I say it, depend on it!  Aside from the search functionality, the Google tools I can’t currently live without are Gmail, and the calendar, others such as Maps come in pretty handy too.

I love a good map! My fondness must come from childhood scavenger hunts and participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme! I’ve never really thought about it before but I do use Google maps a lot. The majority of the time to find out how long it will take me to walk / drive from A to B. Street View can also be very useful and surely I’m not the only one to search for their own house on it?! Considering I’m a regular user, I’m surprised that I wasn’t aware of everything else it allows you to do. In recent years it has become more and more interactive.

In recent months Google have released several new features including:

Smarter Traffic

Not the most interesting topic, but most of us do have the need to travel! Google Maps predicts traffic based on historical data and provides real time traffic updates with the help of Waze which they bought recently.

Trip planning

Now this is where it comes into its own! It already allows users to map a journey, mark pit stops and share it with friends.  Now, you can map routes by plane and train. I haven’t tried but apparently it also helps you to buy tickets. Say you are visiting a city, Google will help you plan your visit. Type in a place or attraction and it will suggest other places nearby of similar interest. If you click on the first place you want to visit, the tool will help you map your route from place to place. If you change your mind once you are there, you simply drag / drop places to adjust your route. Let me introduce you to Pegman if you have not already met him. Pegman is your guide through Street View. Pick him up and drag him to the place you want to see, and roads with Street View imagery will appear with a blue border…what a guy!

Some new features are not available internationally simultaneously, as Google tends to do A/B testing. By doing this, Google is able to test a newly added feature in one market, and analyse it before rolling out to other markets.  So a feature available in the UK may not be available across the entire EU.

Could it be that by using all that Google has to offer; Drive, Gmail, Maps, G+, YouTube, shopping, you can pretty much organise your entire life?!

Generations, social media and employability

4289324169_93abdfaa2f_bWhilst at a course today the subject of generations X, Y and Z came up, a topic that I find really interesting. For those who are not familiar, it simply refers roughly to those born between the post war baby boom and the early 80s (X), those born from then and the year 2000 (Y) and those born since the year 2000 (Z who are still in school). Generation Y (myself included) were born into an emerging world of technology and have grown up surrounded by smart phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets. As a generation, they are constantly plugged into technology and it has become an essential aspect of life. Some people are quick to slate generation Y. They are sometimes known to text rather than talk to each other even if they are in the same room, wear hoodies and jeans everywhere (including job interviews) and be overly confident and ambitious. With young entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerburg the ‘millennials’ (another word many people use to describe the generation of people born and raised in the 80s and 90s) believe there’s no limit to what they can achieve.

I listened to a podcast recently where MBA Executive Director, Karen Siegfried, talked about social media and employability, LinkedIn profiles, and the fact that employers now expect students to have an active and genuine social media presence. Now let’s be clear, it’s very easy to simply have an online presence (Facebook, Twitter) but we’re talking about one that is appropriate for professionals or prospective employers to see. Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn to either find potential interview candidates or look up those who have already applied. Karen made a good point that there is an increased expectation that applicants have an active social media presence that supports their stated interest or expertise. If you mention something on you CV, they will expect to see further evidence of it on you LinkedIn profile. I can imagine that generation X may struggle with this new trend and for generation Y it’s yet another thing to worry about when job searching. It’s not enough to create a LinkedIn profile, fill in all the sections and forget about it. One has to be actively posting, updating, and networking. Online companies such as Google or Amazon will be especially hot on this.

Although generation Y are very comfortable with technology, not all will have been submerged it in from a young age. The internet didn’t exist when I was young. When I did eventually get a mobile in my late teens it did one thing, make calls! It was years before you could use one to access the internet or take photographs. When I started university in 2004 we were obviously using the internet a lot but Facebook and Twitter where unheard of and looking back I’m really glad about that. Children born in the mid-80s were the last to experience life before it depended on technology and social media and I’m pleased to be one of them. I feel for generation Z who are said to be lacking in interpersonal skills and are less comfortable with picking up the phone or speaking to someone face to face. Interviewing therefore may be an issue for them, unless of course it is over Skype!  Regardless of what generation you are, your CV is no longer just a piece of paper.

Image: CC licence, Eric Danley

New age storytelling

041a--once-upon-a-time-(readmore) a group of hunters returned from a long journey hunting for food. That night, whilst sitting around a fire, they told the surrounding villagers of unforgiving vast landscapes and fierce creatures. Over Millennia, storytelling has evolved but the fundamental point of storytelling remains. Whether it is to relay an account of an event or entertain, the reason for doing it has never changed. Since the early days, the pen, the printing press, the computer and the mobile phone have altered what is written, and the medium through which the written word is produced. Now, in 2014, we have a plethora of mechanisms at our fingertips to help us create and share. With the introduction of New Media the methods are worlds away from what they once were. One such instrument we can take advantage of is Storify.

A bit like a jigsaw, Storify allows users to piece together a story / timeline by integrating different social media elements such as images (Flickr), videos (Youtube), links, tweets etc. The beauty of it is its simplicity. One simply searches for desired content and drags it into place. The true value lies with its ability to collect relevant content from various forms of media together in one place. It has so far been very popular with journalists and broadcasters but increasingly people like you and I are using it to document conferences, events, create reports and marketing content or create memoirs of weddings, for example.

Can you remember what was on your Facebook or Twitter profile a month ago? My guess is not. One of the benefits of Storify is that you can easily go back and find content. With news feeds and streams, most of what is published on social media is soon forgotten. What I’m doing now – blogging – is all about you writing your own content. Storify, on the other hand, uses what already exists in the social media cloud. All that’s needed is a sprinkle of creativity to make it your own!

 

Live tweet-a-thon

As @NatalieEmma launched into her social media story and the sound of furious typing filled the room, I froze! My mind went blank, just as in an interview when you suddenly forget everything you know. The target to live tweet the talk had been set and the pressure was on. There were to be prizes for the best tweet, most re-tweeted tweet and team with the most tweets.

Unfortunately my writer’s block didn’t pass – I found it really difficult to listen, extract worthy snippets and compose a half decent tweet all at the same time. Oh, and just in case you somehow had a few spare seconds, read/re-tweet what other people in the room were posting!

I was unsuccessful at producing what should have been a sequence of focused tweets but, at the 11th hour, managed to save myself from total failure. I use Pinterest and, quite often, if I see an image whilst I’m out and about, will Google it, download and pin it instantaneously (otherwise risk forgetting it). When @NatalieEmma showed a slide comprising cats and social media, I almost – without thinking – searched for the image, saved it and uploaded it to Twitter. This, to my great surprise, led me to win the prize for most re-tweeted tweet!

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The point of live tweeting is to provide an instant report/commentary of what is taking place, not only for those who are not able to participate but also for those who are. It is also a great way to create a record of an event that you can refer to later but the skill definitely doesn’t come easy and some would say the tweet-a-thon was mildly traumatic. Let’s hope practice makes perfect!

Could you re-twitterate?

Tweet@CJBSsmdl I need a Twitter 1:1! I need to ‘get with the programme’ with this one I really do but at the moment I feel a bit left behind. If I could only get handles and hashtags down! I may not be an A* student in tweeting yet, but the good news is I understand the benefits of using Twitter for both professional and personal purposes.

RT (which stands for re-tweet right?) I read an interesting article recently which in a nutshell gave the perspective that twitter gives us the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of an astronomer, doctor, teacher, musician or priest, if we so wish. This is what I believe the true value of twitter is. Not only because we will never get to be all these things during our short lives but also because we can receive these insights instantly. The article went to say that this benefit can only be achieved if we follow the right people but this I think all depends on what the individual wants to gain from twitter. For some it’s purely entertainment, for others a way of keeping up with the latest news or a means of following favourite celebrities. When I first opened my twitter account two years ago, I thought that’s all it was, another way of feeding our obsession of reality TV stars but during that time and with the help of the CJBS Social Media Driving Licence, my eyes have been opened to the endless possibilities.