Thing 4 of the Cam 23 programme involved a great deal of reading, commenting, and reflecting on other people’s blogs. So far, the diversity in blog type is teaching me a lot about presentation and audience within the blogosphere. Creating a blog roll specifically for the cam 23 bloggers has really helped me to keep on track whilst following the experiences and ideas of other participants. My previous experiences of web 2 tools have centred on Facebook for my personal life and Twitter for my professional networking. RSS feeds have become invaluable to my professional current awareness levels over the last two years. I have recently been more of a passive consumer of blogs rather than an active producer of content and I am looking forward to changing this situation through blogging for the cam 23 project.
The issue of commenting on blogs is indeed a thorny one: to comment or not to comment, this post sums up the argument nicely. I for one think that commenting on blog posts is an invaluable resource for the blogger, the reader who comments, and any subsequent readers. It allows a picture of opinion, a debate, to build. If anything, it gives confidence to the blogger that someone is reading his or her blog and is sufficiently moved by the post to take the time to give an opinion.
Like any form of social media which is open to all, all sides of human nature are exhibited. This at times includes the darker side of the species: offensive language, bigoted opinions, rude remarks. Once we open the gates of the town to free speech, we're on shaky ground to then moan about the opinionated comments of the metaphorical bigoted sheriff. Blogging is an open media, comments are thus open. There is a difference between offensive comments and comments to which the blogger happens not to agree. I think the tip that I’ve learnt is not to be too precious about blog posts; they’re not the first draft for that long-awaited novel! And although negative comments can leave me feeling glum on a personal level, I remind myself that professional challenges to my opinions lead to further reflection and a stronger future position.
In the spirit of cam23, I have been commenting on the blog posts of other participants and have in turn received some positive comments in my blog. But for me this programme isn’t just about developing my own social media tools, it is also about thinking how these tools could be used within the library / user interaction. I have been particularly impressed by the Medical Library's blog's ability to inform users of both general library information and current awareness within the medical profession. Comments are a positive addition to blog posts. They show engagement of the blog with the wider blogging community, they can give credibility to an argument, and conversely they can spark furious debate. Comments on a blog post can lead to further blogging to show another side of the debate and can ignite strong opinions. So far I am enjoying regaining my inspiration to blog and am trying out tools that I had not previously considered useful. Even if I am struggling with my linkedIn profile, I am discovering that the key to this whole process is to try, to play, to evaluate and to only then form opinions.