Twitter: It’s not personal


After thinking it over for quite some time, I’ve decided that I need to make some significant changes to how I use Twitter.

For a while now I’ve thought of Twitter as a professional (as opposed to personal) social network. As I shift over to my new role as a liaison librarian, I expect to make even greater use of it to reach out and connect with students and faculty, not to mention librarians and other professionals in my new domain.

I also want to be able to follow the people and organizations that are part of my new user communities and communities of interest. If I’m disciplined and careful about this, I’ll be able to turn my timeline into a useful tool for scanning what is going on in areas that are relevant to my work.

The most straightforward way to do this is to first review all the accounts I’m following and unfollow those. Then I can start to add in new accounts that fit the criteria I’ve briefly listed above. This is in fact what I have decided to do, and I’m hopeful that overtime it will help me to make Twitter an important part of my outreach strategy.

The problem I’ve had with this is that the accounts that I follow and that I’m talking of unfollowing are, for the most part, linked to people. People who may not take kindly to being unfollowed. The risk of social blowback on this has had me hesitating about moving forward with my plans, but in the end I’ve decided that I’ve got to do what is right for me, and so over the next week or so I expect that I’ll be unfollowing a large portion of the people I currently follow.

To anyone that I do unfollow, let me be clear: this isn’t personal. My judgement is going to be based largely on the content that you share and how well I feel it supports my new professional role and identity. If what I share is of value to you I hope that you will continue to follow me and interact with me, but if you choose to unfollow me, I promise that I won’t be offended. (Aside: anyone who knows me personally is always free to connect with me via Facebook.)

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has gone through and struggled with a similar dilemma, so please feel free to share your experiences or feedback in the comments below.

Making the move to public services

I’m excited to announce that on February 1, 2016 I’ll be starting a new role at the McGill Library as liaison librarian for the Desautels Faculty of Management!

As much as I enjoy working on the systems side of things, I’m looking forward to working directly again with students and faculty and being a part of the Library’s public services. I’m especially fortunate to be taking over a dossier that is in excellent shape (thanks, Jessica!) and to be joining a team of librarians I know I can rely on to help me make this transition and take on the challenges that lay ahead.

While most of you likely know me from my role as the web services librarian at the Library, the move to public service, and specifically in the service of the Faculty of Management, is not as far a stretch as you might think. In the years I’ve worked at McGill I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Desautels Faculty of Management in a variety of contexts, and am very familiar with their programs, student body, and research areas. Most notably, for over four years I taught and worked as a faculty lecturer in the Career and Management Studies’ department (now Career and Professional Development) at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies, where (at that time at least) many of our certificates and programs were developed and overseen in partnership with the faculty. This gave me with the opportunity to work with Desautels’ faculty and staff and to develop an understanding of the management and business programs being offered.

I also have direct experience in both the academic and practical aspects of business and management that I will be able to leverage in my role as a liaison librarian. I have studied, taught, and published in the field of knowledge management, specifically in the areas of communities of practice and organizational learning. I have 10 years of experience working in private industry in software development, IT management, marketing, communications, and retail. In the course of developing products or providing solutions to clients I was also able to develop domain knowledge in several business areas in including manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, and real estate development. Similarly, I expect that I will be able to develop my knowledge across all subject areas taught at Desautels.

There are also a few of you who know me as a teacher, either from my ContEd days or over the past few years as an instructor at the McGill School of Information Studies. I’ve always enjoyed teaching, and my decision to make this move was in part motivated by my desire to have teaching once again as one of my primary responsibilities. I’m looking forward to being able to apply my expertise in this area and to helping students and faculty learn how to make the most of the Library’s resources and services.

Of course, I plan on making extensive use of social media and other online tools to connect with and interact with people. This blog (yes, I’ll have to rename it) will be a big part of that, so if you are interested I recommend you subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed or go ahead and following me on Twitter (@edbilodeau), where I’ll make sure to post links to everything as well.