Back in January, a programme was launched by library staff to encourage learning about new and emerging technologies that could aid both personal and professional development (for example Slideshare, Library Thing, Mendeley, Doodle and Google Drive to name a few). The programme was called ‘Sot23 Things’ and was inspired by the original “23 Things” that ran in the USA in 2006. The premise was simple; each week, the “23 Things” team would publish instructions for the ‘things’ and over a period of 12 weeks staff would experiment with these and then blog about their experiences.
So, a motley crew of staff from all over the library embarked on a journey to discover which of the wealth of Web 2.0 tools might work for them and which they would proceed to avoid like the plague. Some ‘things’ were more popular than others – Flickr and Netvibes were two success stories, whereas Linkedin and more surprisingly Twitter ended up with the fewest fans. Views were exchanged on the blogs which became a space to reflect on the whole experience, as well as offer support to colleagues who needed a bit of encouragement to work through the programme. In total, 54 library staff took part with 20 completing all 23 things, with one glorious winner and well-deserved prizes for best blog name and best blog post. Feedback for the exercise was positive and centred on increased confidence with new technologies, a raised awareness of tools that are reshaping information services and improved technical skills.
One clear advantage of this programme has been the continued engagement with social media by staff who took part. Indeed this blog itself is a direct result of “23 Things”, the Blog team being participants in the programme and inspired to bring social media to the wider library community.
Whilst “23 Things” began as a programme for library staff, it has set something in motion that will benefit our readers as well, which is the ultimate goal when communicating with our staff and students.