Thing 4: Current awareness

CPD23 time again, y’all! This week’s topic is tools for current awareness, and I have to say, I pride myself on being pretty aware already. I was a voracious reader growing up, and that’s spilled over into my internet use . A couple of years ago, I was reading so many blogs that I couldn’t keep mental list of which sites to check every evening – that’s when I discovered the magic of Google Reader. I follow almost 50 blogs now, on topics ranging from cooking and baking to design to children’s and young adult literature and librarianship. One of my favorite features of Google Reader is the ability to group blogs into folders; I have separate folders for children’s literature, young adult literature, and librarianship (and a bunch of other folders!). This makes it easy to pull up work-related blog posts at work and keep the personal stuff unread until I get home. You can see an abbreviated list of the library-related blogs that I follow on the right-hand side of the blog.

I’m more of a late-comer to Twitter- I started my Twitter account just a few months ago when I was starting to get serious about job hunting (some help you’ve been, Twitter!) I admit that I was pretty skeptical at first, but I think it’s pretty fun now! I don’t tweet all that often, but I do have Twitter set up to automatically post my ratings on GoodReads, and when I publish a blog post here, WordPress automatically tweets that too. I follow a lot of authors/illustrators/library and book-type people on Twitter, but I also use it to communicate with friends (perhaps not surprisingly, there’s a some overlap between the two…) I found out about HarperCollins’ decision to limit ebooks to 26 checkouts on Twitter, and I’ve followed the continued debate over dark subject matter in YA (check out #YAsaves for more). It’s great for breaking news, and for getting select information from a source you may not want to follow in your reader (I like the Gawker sci-fi/fantasy blog io9, for example, but they have so many posts in a day, not all of which I’m interested in. I’d rather just chose the interesting looking ones from their twitter feed, rather than having the posts in my reader. Let’s face it, I get pretty stressed if I have more than 100 unread items. I once saw someone in one of my classes with 1000+ unread items and I almost had a heart attack).

The long and short of it, anyway, is that I’m pretty familiar and well-versed in those two tools. Pushnote, on the other hand, is entirely new to me. I created my account this morning, but I’m still in the early stages of new tool adjustment, i.e. I’m not quite sure I get it. The biggest problem, at least for me, is that I apparently don’t know anyone else who uses Pushnote – none of my Twitter contacts are using it, at least, and I’m loathe to let it access my Facebook, since I really try to keep that private/personal. What’s kind of cool about that, although it doesn’t make Pushnote anymore useful to me, is that it illustrates the real beauty (and danger) of getting news or seeking information on Twitter. It’s a self-selecting source, and it’s easy to get caught in a feedback loop where your opinions about things are amplified and sent back to you without any opposing viewpoint being considered. It’s funny to me how often some I follow re-tweets someone else that I follow. That kind of thing seems symptomatic  of the echo-chamber effect I’m worried about, but I think the benefits of Twitter far outweigh that small-ish worry, especially because the opposing viewpoints are out there for the finding if I ever feel things are getting too one-sided.

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