Archives for posts with tag: conferences

So, you and your library are not on Twitter. Big deal, right? Professional sporting events, political debates, award shows and cable news are pre-hashtagged, but what does it mean for you? If you’re feeling left out, and want to get into Twitter, I’m going to propose a two and half pronged attack:

The Institutional Account

The odds that you’re already producing the stuff you need to populate an institutional Twitter account are high: new LibGuides, new acquisitions, changes to your regular hours, programs, Ask A Lib services, etc. Twitter is just a free way to publicize what you already do. Before you sign up, consider:

  • Setting some policies about who will tweet, how often, and in what style to give your account consistency, and legitimacy
  • Setting a few more policies about how and when to respond to retweets, favorites, and mentions, favorable and unfavorable
  • How to incorporate your Twitter background page, icon and shortened links into the greater branding of your institution (if you’re not a stand alone kind of place, i.e. law schools that are part of larger universities)
  • Will this be fun for you? If no one on staff is going to enjoy tweeting, the product won’t show your best side. Twitter is a great way to humanize an institution, show that it’s made of individual voices that make one–but if you’re not feeling it, your Twitter voice will show it.

The Personal Professional Account

Networking, attending conferences, attending conferences that you’re not even in the same time zone as: let Twitter solve it for you! If you’ve ever felt like you’re missing out on what’s going on in the library world, or like your professional development budget is $5, Twitter can be a great way to get out there, without getting out there. In my own life, I call it “using the Internet to trick people into thinking I’m important.” And I have to say, reader, you’re here, aren’t you? For your personal professional account:

  • Consider making the icon an actual picture of you, or at least cartoon you. This is your brand!
  • Keep your tweets related to your professional life. This is your chance to promote your work, your institution, your ideas, but not your cat, or your dinner, or your shoes. Ok, a little bit of that from time to time is nice to show you’re not a library robot, but keep it pro.
  • Use your personal professional account to follow the hashtags of conferences you’re not at (because who can afford them all), but also conferences you are at. It makes the entire experience richer.
  • A little shameless self promotion won’t hurt you. Did you write a new Lib Guide for your library? Get it out there! It’s good for you, it’s good for your institution, and it’s good for someone who maybe wouldn’t have found the information without Twitter.
  • Above all, don’t make your Twitter feed a moment by moment account of your day, because it’s boring. Take this advice from Garance and ask yourself whether your tweet is relevant before you post it.

The Solely Personal Account

It can be a little fragmenting, I suppose, but so many things in life are more fun with Twitter. Find your friends at baseball games, follow food trucks, rave (or rant with caution) about new restaurants, share pictures of your animals. Don’t forget:

  • Be careful about turning locations on–I hear there are bad people on the interwebz.
  • If you’re taking a picture of, say, a playbook in your lap, be sure you’re wearing pants (I’m looking at you Chris Cooley, former Redskin).
  • Don’t forget your #natitude

#natitude by Meg & the rest of Natstown

If you’ve skimmed all this and still don’t think Twitter is for you, don’t forget that you can read people’s open pages without actually joining. Let’s do this again for Facebook a little later on!

As I sat on the tarmac at Boston Logan for over an hour yesterday afternoon, I flipped through SkyMall and saw a charming little scanner for business travel called Neat Receipts. Install their software, scan all of your business travel paper, and store the information in categories like receipts, business cards, and so forth.

That sounds like a great idea. But, allow me to make a (stereotypically librarian) argument for keeping the paper business cards.

by Meg, held just so, so the spammers don’t find him

As soon as I get home, I gather all of the cards I’ve received, and I write on the back how I met the person, plus something that will jog my memory about their work, their personality, at a later date.

 

by Meg, with special thanks to Mitch for being a gentleman

For tactile learners like myself, the way that the card felt in your hand, plus the note about how you received it, will mean much more than a tidy data file in three weeks’ time. The chivalry of paper is not yet dead with respect to business cards. A hearty stock, an unusual shape, an illustration, a font all say something about the card’s bearer, or at least the institution that sent them to the conference.

My cards are not stored in a very scientific way. I rubber band together cards from a particular event, like AALL annual meeting, and label the banded pile with the event name and year. Before I go to the same event next year, I flip through the cards. If I’m thinking of starting a new project, or writing an article, I flip through. If I see something that makes me think of someone I met at a conference during the year, I flip through, find their contact info, and tell them about it. But, the act of flipping through lets me think about people in a way that’s very different than scanning names on a screen.

Holding a card is like shaking a hand again. You wouldn’t refuse someone’s outstretched hand in a face to face meeting. This year, try treating business cards with the same respect. I hope you’ll be pleased with outcome, even though it’s a bit more work.

Law librarians, rejoice! AALL annual meeting is upon us!

This week, I’ll be talking about meeting people, saying goodbye, and staying in touch–in all kinds of situations.

by Meg, A Quad, Law Library of Congress

I can’t wait to meet some of you this weekend in Boston! Follow me on Twitter, then connect your Twitter account to the conference scheduler to see where I’ll be. If we’re in a session together, come say hi!

A wise man once said that intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. There are plenty of smart things to be said about professional networking, presenting new ideas, and other important conferencey things. Here, instead, are some pearls of feminine wisdom for your upcoming trip to Boston:

Attire

  • East Coast summers are warm and sticky. In light of this fact, you might be tempted to wear skirts and dresses to AALL. That’s a good idea: they’re polished, packable, and versatile. However, don’t forget about what’s going on under the skirt–warm and sticky legs. Try leggings, biker shorts, Spanx, whatever keeps your legs encased in their own cocoons of cool. Plus, you can sit cross legged on the floor of the exhibit hall and eat free appetizers like a lady.
  • Of course, you’re planning to wear comfortable shoes. A. We’re librarians, but B. You’re smart. Be mindful that what’s comfortable for an 8-10 hour work day may not translate into comfortable for a 10-14 hour conference day.
  • Are you dropping your resume at the Career Center? You might end up at an on-the-spot-ish interview! Fingers crossed for you, friends. Does this mean you need to pack an interview suit? Heavens, no. Travel with a structured cardigan and a big girl scarf. They’re less likely to arrive in Boston a rumpled mess, you can keep them in your big ass conference tote bag, plus you can incorporate them into other outfits and not feel like you packed useless garments.
  • How to tie a big girl scarf? Check out Liberty London’s videos, and these charming illustrated diagrams to get started.

Grooming

  • Going outside into the heat and humidity, then inside to a frigid conference hall, and back and forth and so on makes skins dry and unhappy.  May I suggest a simple, light weight, fragrance free hand cream that can double as a facial moisturizer to keep in your big ass conference tote bag? It’s one more thing to carry, but it’s better than scratching at your face and neck all day. I like Nivea products, but you do you.
  • Waterproof mascara is not just for synchronized swimmers. Don’t forget, humidity is water in the air. I use CoverGirl LashBlast Length Water Resistantmascara. They make a LashBlash Volume in Water Proof, but I find it’s too hard to remove, and I look like I’ve misapplied falsies.

  • What else does water in the air do? It wrangles your hair like a baby calf. Let your natural hair do it’s thing, and you won’t look like it’s your first time at the rodeo. Worried that your natural hair is a little too Afro Circus? Channel your inner Diana Ross.

Meeting & Greeting

  • There are so many strangers at library conferences. The goal is not to meet everyone. But, you’ve got to meet someone, hermits. If you start a conversation with someone, the odds that they’re relieved you spoke first are fairly high. You know us.
  • But, what to say? If you’re hanging in the exhibit hall, talk about vendor swag. If you’re post-session, talk about how to apply what you just learned at your library. If you’re at a reception, talk about the food. I know it’s hard sometimes, but be brave!
  • Of course, some strangers are stranger than others. The odds are good that you’ll meet fabulous people–but the goods can be odd. You know us. Is there anything wrong with laughing in the middle of an awkward exchange for no reason at all? I think not. Fly your freak flag higher, then politely excuse yourself, and don’t think a thing about it.

Eating

  • The best part of any gathering with free food is the free food, no? Be wary: not everything presented as finger food is really finger food. If something is slippery, saucy, loosely breaded or covered in spice, look down to see if your outfit is of a coordinating color.
  • BBQ sliders and a red dress? No problem. Decadent chocolate cupcakes and a white button down? Exercise caution. Marinated antipasti on tooth picks? You’re never getting those olive oil stains out.
  • No one is giving away apples for free, but don’t forget to eat some veggies while you’re at conference, or you’ll be way tired and not know why by day three.

Have a safe trip to Boston, enjoy annual meeting, and I hope to see you there!

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