I recently ran a version of my social media workshop for a group of health care librarians and information professionals in Liverpool. The group were LIHNN (Library and Information Health Network North West) and HCLU (Health Care Libraries Unit). (For further information about them see their web site at http://www.lihnn.nhs.uk/). I was forewarned that many of them have limited access to social media. Several confirmed that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs were all blocked in their workplace, yet most of them came from organisations who had set up YouTube channels, Twitter streams and Facebook pages! This raises an interesting question: if they receive a query about, for example, an event listed on their Facebook page or the content of a video on YouTube how are they supposed to respond if they are not able to check the content at the time of the enquiry? I find this mass blocking of social media web sites by organisations totally bizarre and ludicrous. The blocking is not even consistent. Slideshare may be blocked but other presentation sharing sites are often accessible. Add to this the antediluvian technology most of them are forced to use – in particular IE6 – and we end up with organisations that are out of touch with their users and communities, and have no idea what is being discussed or said about them.
But health care librarians and information professionals, and health care practitioners are an inventive lot. There is plenty of evidence of them having circumvented the barriers put in their way. The excellent Liz Azyan published a series of blog postings on social media and health care just before the workshop took place and they provide plenty of examples and support for those putting together a case for access to social media.
The Liverpool workshop participants were equally innovative. During the practical sessions they were able to test out social media for providing up to date information on their services and current awareness to their users. The winners were wikis for creating mini-websites and Netvibes for presenting RSS feeds and current awareness. The NHS Bolton Library wiki at http://boltonpct.pbworks.com/ and Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries Netvibes Team Knowledge Update at http://www.netvibes.com/sathlibraries are just two examples. There was also a great deal of interest in Twitter and blogs for at least monitoring “conversations” on health related topics and their own organisations, and word clouds for analysing the content of documents.
Facebook did not win any converts, nor did Second Life.
My PowerPoint presentation for the day is available in several places, and you should be able to view or download it from at least one of them:
You might also like to view the twitterstream that evolved over the evening by going to http://search.twitter.com/ and searching on the hashtag #hiow . You will note the participants had their priorities right by tweeting on the quality of the biscuits and tea/coffee 🙂
A big thank you to all of you around the world who tweeted to us at the seminar about where you were, what you were doing and how you use Twitter. It really showed how great Twitter can be.
The slides are based on earlier Web 2.0 presentations but I have included examples from local government authorities and public libraries. Apologies to those of you I have used as examples: you may be deluged with enquiries from the seminar participants! There was a lot of interest in what is being done especially by local authorities.
The event was a joint LARIA/ALGIS seminar and held in London at Baden Powell House, London, Tuesday 18th November 2008. All the presentations will be available on the LARIA web site.
If you were not able to attend my recent workshops on Web 2.0, I am running a similar course at Manchester Business School on June 5th. The workshop will start with a brief overview of Web 2.0 and what it means, then look in more detail at the different applications. As is usual with my workshops there is a substantial practical element so that you can try out the technologies for yourself. Details and a booking form are at www.mbs.ac.uk/bis-training or you can call the Business Information Service on 0161 275 6503.
My presentation, Using the Web, that I gave at ‘The Research Practitioner – Skills Day’ in London on April 23rd and 24th 2008 is now available. It covers search tips and some web 2.0 applications, with the emphasis on searching for people.
I shall be giving a presentation for the Berks, Bucks and Oxon District of CILIP next week on the “The Reality of Web 2.0”. The date and time is Tuesday 4th March 18.00 for 18.30 and the venue Great Expectations, 33 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=471801&y=173139&z=0&ar=Y. BBOD meetings are free and open to all with a professional interest in the topic. Refreshments provided afterwards.
The name of the venue is appropriate given the topic! I shall be looking at how far, or even if, the technologies have actually delivered in terms of improved productivity and usefulness. The publicity blurb is as follows:
“Now that the hype of Web 2.0 ‘stuff’ has died down, how useful has it turned out to be in practice and what impact has it had on the way we work? Karen Blakeman reviews the successes and failures and will look at applications such as Facebook, Second Life, start pages, social bookmarking, Twitter and Slideshare. Where do they fit on the Gartner hype cycle: are we down in the trough of disillusionment, or slowly making our way up the slope of enlightenment to the plateau of productivity? “
The event is free but please inform Norman Briggs, BBOD Events Co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
or Chrissy Alcott, BBOD Chair Chrissy.Allott@berkshire.nhs.uk if you plan to attend.
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