Facebook killed the blogosphere?

I don’t blog here as much as I used to. Part of it is just life and work taking up a lot of my time, and part of it is the energy that goes to the other blogs I contribute to.

Another part of it, though, is the other outlets I now have access to.

A post by Aaron Stanton about using Facebook as a personal blog got me thinking about this. If I just want to share a link without lengthy commentary, I can post it on Twitter or Facebook. (A good portion of my Facebook posts are public, so feel free to subscribe – or friend me if you know me.) If I want to start a discussion, I increasingly find LinkedIn groups or Facebook better places to do it than this blog. I use these outlets to share things I think are interesting, or to refine my thoughts on a topic.

I also don’t read blogs as much as I used to. I find links on Twitter and Facebook, and I follow discussions on LinkedIn. When I do read blogs, I’m more likely to follow a link to a post from Twitter or Facebook than from my feed reader.

That said, and despite the title of this post, I don’t think blogging is dead. It has changed significantly, though. Back when I started blogging (in 2003), if you wanted to publish something online, blogging was the way to go. My blog was primarily professional, but a lot of personal and silly things got posted there as well, because there was nowhere else to post them. Now there’s no reason to write a whole blog post just to share a photo of my dog. Overall, I think my blogging has improved. It’s more focused and thoughtful.

Goodbye RSS?

I’ve noticed that I’m using RSS feeds less and less often lately. Sure, I still have hundreds of feeds in Google Reader, but I’ve gone from checking them daily to weekly to I can’t remember when I last checked them. It’s not just because I’m busier. I’m getting a lot of the information I used to get via RSS from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. I used to look for the bright orange RSS icon to follow blogs, but now I look first for the little Twitter bird or the Facebook F. I’m just starting a new blog project (more on that soon), and I suppose I will need to create Facebook and Twitter accounts for it.

It seems I’m not alone – and this change is not without consequences, according to Ken Varnum at RSS4Lib. We’re moving from an open standard to mediated discovery. And it’s not just that people aren’t using RSS. It’s becoming more and more difficult for the consumer to find.

Ironically, I did find Ken’s post using my RSS feed reader.

How do you follow blogs?

A day in the life of a philatelic librarian

Last week I started a new job as librarian for the American Philatelic Research Library, and this week is far from the typical quiet week in the library because it is our first Volunteer Week and we have four volunteers in the library sorting old journals.

Volunteers sort journals at the American Philatelic Research Library

Volunteers sort journals at the American Philatelic Research Library

So when I first saw that this week is Library Day in the Life, round 5, I thought that I wouldn’t participate because this is clearly not a typical time in this librarian’s life. Then I decided it was actually a good time for me to participate, as I begin to explore what exactly a day in my life will be like. I’ve been keeping a diary at work, so this is kind of a public extension of that.

Here’s a little recap of my day, from my Twitter feed:

Run, breakfast, bike to work, say hello, talk about volunteer work week at the library. THEN check email.

Met member of board of directors for the first time. (This is my second week on the job. Trying to remember names and faces!)

Also, I actually do get to read a lot at this job. Reading up on the library and society history to start.

Morning train just went by. I love my new office.

Met with board member about library blog, digitization, union catalog. Volunteers busy sorting journals. No time for snacks.

Biked home for lunch. Came back and sent introduction letters to other philatelic libraries and librarians, because I’m new.

The volunteers already finished their first project! Wow.

I also learned how to send mail. Important when you work for a philatelic library!

Finished my correspondence. Went out to help volunteers sort old journals. Favorite title: The Precancel Optimist.

SLA Leadership Summit report

I have returned from the frozen south (below freezing in Savannah and 16 degrees in Atlanta) to the frozen north. SLA usually does a nice job of picking warmer climates for its January meetings. They just didn’t count on my ability to bring cold weather with me wherever I go.

The locals might have complained a lot about the cold snap, but attendees at the Leadership Summit from the north seemed quite happy with sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s. The agenda at the summit was pretty full, so you had to be creative to get out in that sunshine, but you couldn’t beat the hotel location between the river and the historic district.

This was my first attempt twittering an event. It would have gone better if the hotel’s internet had been more reliable, or if I’d set up my phone to send tweets. Between three of us, though, I think we did a pretty good job keeping our Social Science Division members informed about what we were doing at the summit.  Lots of new member benefits and incentives were announced, as reported on the NJ Chapter’s blog.

I was involved in several good discussions about the future of SLA and the profession. I often get very tired of those discussions, but there seemed to be a lot of good energy at this meeting. It’s difficult to say what will come of this, but the report from the SLA alignment project was much more concrete and received a much warmer reception than last year’s report in Louisville (where it was also unseasonably cold).

I’m not a huge fan of leadership speakers in general, but I liked Stephen McGarvey, and especially his thoughts on communication. Tell people what you want them to do – not what you don’t want them to do. What’s the first thing you think when you see a “no food” sign? If you’re me, you definitely think, “I could really go for a sandwich.” How about, “Help keep your library clean and protect the collections”?

Never say never

As John Dupuis said, “the Twittermonster has claimed another victim.”

I once said I’d never join Facebook. Now I pause during my day and think, “That thought would make an excellent Facebook status update.”

I said I didn’t see the point of Twitter. If Facebook is too much information, surely Twitter is way too much information.

However, I am starting to see the point of Twitter in some situations. For example, I’ve followed the conference Twitter feeds at SLA conferences and gotten lots of good information–like where to go for a quick lunch, and which speakers are really good.

So, when the chair-elect of SLA’s Social Science Division said she was going to post Twitter updates from the upcoming Leadership Summit, I decided to try creating an account for myself so I could help her put the Twitter feed up on the division’s web site.

Naturally, I announced this momentous occasion on Facebook, and promptly picked up a follower on Twitter. So, now I am twittering. And, I suppose, ascending the Twitter Life Cycle curve.

SLA Leadership Summit

Next week I’m escaping the gloomy central Pennsylvania winter and heading to Savannah for the SLA Leadership Summit. I’m looking forward to seeing my SLA colleagues again, and to taking care of some final details in program planning for the 2009 conference.

My division (Social Science) chair-elect will be Twittering the summit, and I helped her get the Twitter posts on the division web site for our members. I may even jump in with a few posts. I’m usually too caught up in the conference itself to do much conference blogging (and at SLA there are usually many others doing it much better than I could) but maybe I can do conference Twittering.