Once upon a time there was a librarian participating in #blogjune who had run out of ideas by the 21st day. A quick lunchtime mention of this on twitter resulted in no less than 6 responses, all different. The librarian is happy now because this will take her through to the 28th day without having to think too hard.
Thank you, PLN
Last week, @acrystelle tweeted the following question:
PLN & PLE – Same thing? Or different? What do you believe to be definitions for these terms? Any opinions or thoughts?
I had to ask what exactly a PLE is, but now that I have an answer (it’s a personal learning environment, as opposed to a PLN which is a personal learning network) I thought I’d respond to the question here, as I have a bit more than 140 characters to say.
My initial reaction was that of course they are different – one’s a network and one’s an environment. Then I started worrying that I had oversimplified it, which led me on to giving the question considerably more thought. After tying myself up in knots about this several times over the weekend I can say I think I ended up overanalysing it and that my initial response was, in fact, what I wanted to say.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me explain.
The term PLN is fairly new to me, I didn’t come across it until I started to be active on twitter and joined in the conversation between many like-minded LIS professionals. On reflection though, I realise I have been developing and engaging in PLN’s my entire life. They just weren’t called that. They were called mothers groups, or running partners or fellow committee members, or book clubbers. Each of these networks has contributed to my knowledge and has enabled me to share my experiences and knowledge as well. Each of these networks is part of my PLE – a subset if you like.
So, how do I define them? My PLN’s are issue specific (although with considerable crossover between some) and comprised of individuals whereas my PLE is broader than that. My PLE encompasses both private and professional connections and importantly, it includes place. The classic example of course is that the local library is part of my PLE but not my PLN. When faced with a question, a difficulty or a need to share some news, I consider which part of my PLE is the most appropriate vehicle and select one or more PLN’s based on that assessment.
A long answer to a simple question.
Towards the end of 2010 I lost my librarian mojo – I could really sympathise with this post from A work in progress about being dazed & confused. I’m in a not-so-different situation to Fiona, OK, I have a job in libraryland but it’s a first job and I need to start thinking about the next step in my career sometime in 2011. That’s both exciting and daunting and the daunting part overtook me by the end of the year.
I am not a 24/7 librarian so my recent 3 weeks off work have really been 3 weeks away from the whole library thing – very little interaction on twitter from me and I haven’t read a single blog post that could be remotely called professional (OK, I’ve read some by librarians but they weren’t really library related). Partly this is because I went camping for a week – to a location with flaky 3G connection at best but mostly it’s because I really needed to take a break from all the PD and the information bombardment my day usually contains. I barely even picked up a newspaper during this 3 weeks.
As a result, I feel quite refreshed, in spite of wondering if I’ve missed out on anything really fantastic. I probably have, but I’ve learned that life goes on regardless! As I’ve blogged about before, I value my PLN and in particular my twitter network but it’s still pretty much a work thing for me, rather than a life thing. I have some strict boundaries around the work/life balance thing – having seen first hand what happens when you don’t – so it suits me to keep things as they are for the moment.
I’ve come back to work to the realisation that I have 2 PD events coming up for me in the next 3 weeks – as well as the prospect of a #tweetup around the ALIA Information Online conference that is being held in Sydney in early February. This has cheered me up no end (because let’s face it, who actually enjoys coming back to work after 3 weeks leave?).
Today I had an awkward and potentially very difficult situation arise at work that I’m at a loss to explain – although I suspect social media might be at the root of the problem.
The HR manager at MPOW had an email from an individual today saying that this individual understood through professional networks that I had accepted a position with another organisation and that my job was therefore about to be advertised. The person asked to be advised when MPOW was likely to be advertising as they were very interested in my position.
Now, I have seen this email and I have this person’s name as a result of that but I draw a blank with who it actually is. It isn’t anyone I know and a google search of the name brings up nothing even vaguely library related.
It’s fairly common knowledge among my small section of the twitter-verse that I have been for a job interview but specific details of where and when have been limited to a few DM’s with a few select (and trusted) people. Similarly, it’s not a secret where I work, but I don’t go out of my way to advertise the name of MPOW and this email was addressed to the HR Manager, not our info@ account. Whoever this person is has taken the time to not only find out/work out where I work but has looked up our HR Manager’s email address on our company website.
I haven’t been offered a job anywhere else and in fact the organisation I went for the interview with is hoping to have cleared their internal bureaucracy in time to have something to offer the successful applicant at the end of this week. I would be a brave newgradlib indeed if I had already resigned on the strength of an interview I admittedly felt pretty comfortable with.
As I said, I’m at a complete loss to explain this. It’s weird and to be honest, slightly creepy. The most likely explanation is someone telling someone telling someone and the message getting lost in the middle. This is my first experience of social media going wrong and I’m not liking it.
Either that or one of my friends has a warped sense of humour……