Social media had always been a social tool for me prior to commencing my Masters in 2015. I used it to keep in contact with my family and friends overseas and to manage my social group. When I realised how important Twitter is in the information profession I was a little sceptical, but I gave it a go. I set up an account and followed some information professionals and organisations. I now look at Twitter at least daily and try to post weekly, along with participating in Twitter chats. I have steadily increased my followers and those I am following and regularly my tweets get liked or retweeted, which I assume means I am being noticed by those in the profession. My confidence has grown over the last year with my increasing activity and Twitter is now something I enjoy and value. I have also used it to seek employment opportunities and will be interviewing shortly for the National Secretary of ALIA Students and New Grads group, which is an amazing opportunity. One of the things I like about Twitter is that it is easy to pick up when I have a spare moment, something I can fit into my busy life.
I also utilise other social media platforms for professional development and networking including LinkedIn, Facebook and WordPress. I have developed a network of information professionals on LinkedIn, have joined several relevant groups including Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and American Library Association (ALA) and I also follow potential employers. Facebook is mainly a social platform for me, but I follow library related groups and am a member of the student group for the Masters. WordPress is the site I use for my professional portfolio but I also follow several library related blogs such as the International Librarians Network.
I have gone from being a sceptic about the benefits of social media for professional networking and development to a convert. I have steadily built up my network, knowledge and confidence using it and will continue to do so well into the future. I feel I have balanced my professional and personal personas on the platforms and in doing so I now have an online brand I can be proud of.