Blogging & Your Digital Identity
Blogging to Develop Your Digital Identity: Crafting Your Personal Brand
This was a session from the 2010 Annual PaLA Conference held Sunday, October 24, 2010 – Wednesday, October 27, 2010 in Lancaster PA.
A panel of four librarians, Erin Dorney, Peter Coyl, Amy Pajewski, and Tara Murrary shared their insights for using blogging as a way to extend one’s personal brand and provide a strong digital presence. Each had different experiences and advice.
Peter Coyl started the panel discussion off. Peter is currently a librarian at the Hsinchu International School in Taiwan. He is a 2010 MLIS Drexel graduate, where he was awarded the Doris Keller Hossler endowed Fellowship. His blog is called Adventures of a Guybrarian. Peter started blogging back in 2004 and his current blog he started in 2009. He started his blog primarily to be his digital portfolio. He feels blogging is a great way to stay connected, especially since he is a librarian in another country. Some other blogs he follows include Will Unwound, The Unquiet Librarian, Library Grits, and Dear Librarian.
Next up was Erin Dorney, a Syracuse graduate and Millersville University Outreach librarian, whose blog is called Library Scenester, which she began in 2007. She addresses the ‘would anyone really read it’ thought with “If you are passionate about what you write, people will follow you.” She see blogging as an doorway for many opportunities, such as involvement in professional organizations, requests for more writings and publications, networking, friendship, and support. She also offered some great advice:
- tie the physical to the virtual (don’t silo yourself)
- be genuine and be professional
- monitor the conversation
- leverage social networking
Amy Pajewski followed Erin. Amy is currently finishing her MLS at Clarion University. She is a single mom and a full-time debt collector, but is actively seeking employment in the library field. Her blog is called Adventures of a LIS Student, which she started in March of 2010. She blogs primarily on things such as being a student, job searching, and her thoughts on things she read or learned about in the library literature. She sees a blog as an opportunity to go beyond your traditional CV (Curriculum Vitae). She sees two very positive benefits to blogging as always having a ready writing sample to offer and as a great way to establish relationships.
Last, but certainly not least for the panel presentation, was Tara Murray, the Director of Information Services at the American Philatelic Research Library (located in Bellefonte, PA). Tara not only has a personal blog, DIY Librarian, but also participates in several group blogs. She was very fortunate as blogging actually helped her get her job as the library wanted to start a new blog and she already had that kind of experience. Some blogs that she followed early on (and still) include Jessamyn West’s blog, librarian.net, and Meredith Farkas’ blog Information Just Wants to be Free. Tara’s two main pieces of advice are to be yourself and to imagine that your boss, patrons, or mom are reading the post before you actually make it public.
The panel left time for Q&A and there were many questions, such as how to get started, how to find time, what to write about, etc. The panel provided a very informed presentation on blogging and many left this session motivated to start!