Thing 5: Reflective Practice

Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve discussed several social media tools. As a general rule, I’ve been familiar with and a user of most of them, Storify being the exception. In completing some of the reading and posts, however, I noticed a pattern in my use of these tools: I mostly consume information and rarely participate in a conversation or put forward my own information stream. It seems that, even though the tools may be Web 2.0, personally I am still operating in 1.0 mode. This is a significant issue because it is the cooperative and conversational aspect of Web 2.0 that makes this paradigm so interesting and promising in my eyes.

Part of the problem is that my life has been busy enough that I don’t have a lot of time to reflect and work out what I want to say, but there’s also a part of me that is intimidated by the idea of putting my thoughts out to the world. I don’t really know what qualifies me to blog, or tweet, or storify (is that a word yet?). A cursory glance at some of the information streams out on the Web should convince me that lack of qualifications is not something that will necessarily stop people from publishing, but in my head I still think in the old model, where authorities speak and the rest of us learn. I should say, while trying not to skip ahead to Thing 6 too much, that I am much more active in “closed” social networks like Facebook, Google+, etc., or at least I was until I started my MLIS program and had a couple of kids. I believe that is because I am communicating with people I know, which makes me less apprehensive. I figure my friends and “friends” are much more likely to find what I’m broadcasting interesting or useful, so the whole enterprise seems like less of a waste of their time (and mine).

While I think there are some negative consequences to the conversational free flow that is the hallmark of Web 2.0, such as data growing in a weed-like and feral state across the Internet, I believe that the ability to start and join conversations with people regardless of physical location has enormous potential for transforming the world in positive ways. However, it doesn’t seem to me that I am doing my part to encourage or benefit from that development. My decision to sign up for CPD23 was actually driven in part by a desire to change the way I approach social media, so this post is one way in which I am applying lessons learned in this reflection exercise. My plan is to continue to blog and use some of the other tools   I am familiar with (and others we will discover in this process) to augment my Web presence and get myself comfortable with the conversational Internet.

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