Happy snappy tweeters

A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology (reported in New Scientist) suggests the best way to gain a loyal Twitter following is to be positive, share interesting news stories and engage with your audience. All common sense stuff but good to have the figures to back it up.


#chartership chat on Twitter – the evaluative statement, 29 March 2012

Date and time: 29 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm BST
Topic: the evaluative statement
Participants: 14
Tweets: about 160

I tuned in to the first #chartership chat on Twitter last month but I missed the last two so it was great to get involved again. Tonight’s theme was the evaluative statement, and while there weren’t as many of us present this week (@joeyanne was missing and we were competing with the hottest day of the year, as @cjclib pointed out!), @tinamreynolds did a great job keeping the conversation going and the discussion was just as fast-flowing and crammed with useful tips.

@joeyanne will be archiving the tweets as usual and you can still read write-ups of the previous #chartership chats. The next chat is on 12 April at 6.30pm BST, and the theme will be the mentor/mentee relationship.

16 February, #Chartership chat on Twitter blogpost by @joeyanne
Storify on #chartership chat by @ellyob
1 March, Chatting about Chartership blogpost by @el399
17 March, collecting and reporting evidence blogpost by @Library_Quine

I’ve taken the approach of previous bloggers and tried to pull out the main areas we discussed, as well as the best practical tips for writing your statement.

Planning and drafting the evaluative statement

There was some debate over when to start thinking about the evaluative statement. @Misteemog collected a mass of evidence first, drew it together in the statement, writing about each item, then “pruned the best bits”. @Readyourbook suggested arranging your evidence into a coherent order first, then writing a sentence about each piece of evidence as a first draft:

@Readyourbook on drafting statement

Some said they’d been thinking about the evaluative statement while they were collecting evidence – @ellyob jots down ideas for the statement under each of her chartership objectives, alongside possible evidence. @tinamreynolds and @Readyourbook both wished they’d started thinking about the statement at an earlier stage. Whether or not you draft your statement as you’re going along, we all agreed it was advisable to think about the criteria as well as your PPDP goals while you’re gathering evidence.

@Readyourbook pointed out that drafting the statement can help you to focus on reflection, and to weed out evidence that doesn’t add anything to your portfolio.

What to focus on

I’ve reached the point where I want to draft my evaluative statement, but I’m struggling to set out a framework, so it was great to get some input from other chartershippers (charterers? Hmm).

@AnabelMarsh “parachuted in” to pass on some advice from a recent chartership meeting she attended. The assessors she met prefer the statement to be based on the criteria, because it makes their job easier, though they’re not opposed to other approaches. @annetteearl followed this framework, writing 250 words on each of the four criteria.

We agreed it didn’t matter if your evidence applied to more than one of the criteria – they’re bound to cross over (most activities, as @tinamreynolds pointed out, will count as commitment to CPD), and applying to multiple criteria can strengthen your evidence – although it may make writing the statement harder!

If there isn’t room for in-depth reflection in the statement, where else can you put it?

The statement is limited to 1,000 words, so there isn’t much room for proper reflection – @Schopflin repeated the mantra, “Make every word count”, and pointed out that “your statement should be supported by evidence, not contain it”. @Misteemog was advised to think of the statement as an executive summary of your application.

@tinamreynolds posed a question:

@tinamreynolds on reflective writing in evidence

@johnmcmahon31 writes a reflective report on each event he attends. The portfolio I currently have on loan from CILIP (by Simon Ward) makes very good use of this – every training day and course is written up in a report, including aims and achievements, so the author is reflecting on lessons he’s learned and applied in the workplace as well as just describing the experience. The statement can then be limited to one or two lines for each objective.

The CV is another place to add reflection:

@katy_bird on reflective writing in CV

By describing your key achievements in each job role and how you applied what you learned on training courses to the workplace, you can save space in your statement. Four pages is a lot to play with; even if you’re as prolific as @tinamreynolds and have reems of training to draw on, you can add a line or two of reflection on the most useful courses if you’re selective.

@Readyourbook suggested adding some reflection to an explanatory note at the top of each piece of evidence, to make it absolutely clear to the assessors why the evidence is included.

Other issues covered

  • @ellyob wondered how many objectives you should identify in the PPDP – most people had four or five development areas but could bundle different objectives together under each one
  • How much evidence do you put in the portfolio?
  • Ways of organising evidence – whiteboards, physical piles of evidence, post-it notes in a matrix
  • The benefits of including an explanatory statement at the top of each piece of evidence, making it clear why it is included
  • Reassurance that any changes to the chartership process following the Future Skills consultation won’t apply to anyone who is already registered for chartership
  • What to include in the CV

Top tips on writing the evaluative statement

  • It’s never too early to think about the evaluative statement – if you have it in mind while you’re gathering evidence it’ll be much easier to write
  • Think of your statement as an executive summary
  • Assessors prefer it if you base your statement on the criteria (though it’s not the only way) – the clearer you make it the easier their job is
  • It’s all about reflection not description – the place to describe activities is in the evidence…
  • …and if you go over the word limit try to fit more reflective writing into your evidence
  • Ensure everything in the portfolio is referred to in the statement – don’t let evidence sit alone
  • Arrange the statement with headings, bullet points etc to break up the text – it’s easier for the assessors to read and navigate (although long headings might eat up the word count!)

CPD23 Thing 12: Where did the time go?!

I’ve been horribly lax and somehow I’ve got far far behind with CPD23. Back on track now though, I’m not sure if I’ll manage to finish on time but hopefully not too far behind everyone else!

So, Thing 12: Putting the social into social media

I’ve said elsewhere that I’m lucky in that the media sector, and the Guardian in particular, is very active online and encourages the use of social media for work. I’ve been tweeting from our work account @guardianlibrary and blogging for the Datablog and From the archive for a couple of years. Engaging with readers who comment ‘below the line’ is part of writing on the web – starting a conversation, in the latest jargon – even if the comments aren’t always favourable!

I’ve only recently started using social media for professional purposes outside work, partly because of CPD23 but also because I’m chartering. My main source is Twitter, although I’ve been trying to get involved by commenting on other CPD23 blogs too.

I can’t count the number of contacts I’ve made through Twitter who I wouldn’t have encountered in everyday professional life (well I probably could but it would be a bit tedious and, well, you get my point). I’ve started attending conferences and events in the real world too, but the best contacts I’ve made there have been with people I had already encountered online. Even if you first meet someone face to face, social media offer an easy way of keeping in touch.

I don’t think social media can entirely replace face-to-face networking – for me, anyway, there’s something more tangible in actually meeting someone.

The social media world moves at an ever faster pace, too – a break of a few hours from Twitter and you can completely miss a new revelation; take a break of a few weeks (did I mention I slacked off over the summer?) and it’s a daunting task to catch up again. It might be easier to make contacts online but I think it’s harder to maintain your place in that network than in a ‘real world’ one.

There’s also a risk that you don’t break out of the echo chamber of the library world if you keep your online contacts within your professional sphere. We all know libraries are worth saving, for example, but there’s no use just preaching to the converted! But if what you’re after is a community, rather than getting a message to a wider audience, social media can be very useful.

One of the main reasons I started CPD23 was to expand my network of fellow professionals, as my physical network has been shrinking of late. When jobs are being shed and budgets cut, social media offers a nice alternative to brainstorming on your own!

CPD23 Thing 5: Reflections on reflecting

River in Bellingham

I originally set this blog up for reflective writing towards my Chartership portfolio, but I let it slide quite quickly. I tend to get so bogged down in day to day tasks and library events, and writing about them, that I don’t get round to reflecting, or applying any lessons I could learn.

I found reflective theory a tad confusing when I first looked into it! There are so many methods, some more philosophical than others, that I wasn’t sure I’d really grasped it. I have a tendency to waffle, too, which isn’t always useful!

So it was reassuring to read this week’s Thing! Beneath the theorising it really comes down to assessing what you’ve done, working out how you can learn from it and then acting on it. I like the Borton example on the CPD23 post, which keeps it simple – What? So what? Now what?

I was also reassured that I don’t need to reflect on absolutely everything I do. I think I’ve failed in the past because I’ve not been selective enough, so from now on I’m going to pick and choose the events that could really influence how I work.

So, how can I reflect on CPD23 so far? Applying the Borton model and Emma’s evaluation process to Thing 3 – personal branding:

  • What?

CPD23 module on branding

  • So what?

What did you learn? – personal brand can be a powerful professional tool if done properly; it’s important to have the same identity across different online platforms; the tone you take online can depend on the role you do and the field you work in (working in media, I can get away with a ‘profersonal’ approach); I need to unify my online brand – I have a split personality!

What worked well? – the Google check showed that my brand is strong; a profersonal approach is suited to my role

What, if anything, went wrong? – this blog didn’t rank highly on Google – my professional brand is linked closely to my job; my photo and name differ across platforms; my blog doesn’t reflect the professional me at all

What would you change? – redesign my blog to reflect its purpose; make my photo consistent across professional platforms (Twitter, blog); think about my brand before I tweet/blog – think about professional audience

What (potential) impact could this have in your workplace? – not really directly applicable to work – my employers control my external profile, branding – but could help to establish a professional profile outside of work; get more involved/recognised in professional sphere

  • Now what?

select a photograph to use on Twitter and blog that a) looks like me and b) is professional

redesign this blog to better represent its purpose – a) relevant header photo and b) nicer layout and background, that can be extended to other platforms as and when (don’t have business cards yet!)

think about the potential audience before I tweet/blog – I’ve a tendency to post off the cuff, but I need to a) make sure the tone is suitably professional and b) be more selective about what I tweet

  • Reflecting on actions

Have I been successful in improving the weaknesses I identified? Yes – I’ve found a photo I’m happy with, and I’m treating Twitter a lot more professionally (in conjunction with Thing 4, which nudged me to organise my online presence). I’ve started to redesign this blog too, with a new theme, colour scheme and header. It’s a work in progress though, I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

Another mammoth CPD23 blogpost! And by writing about reflective practice, I’ve reflected on my reflective practice, and so the circle begins again…

CPD23 Thing 4 follow-up

Before I get started on Thing 5 (late!) I need to follow through on the challenges I set in Thing 4 – current awareness. I didn’t do too badly but I’m still trying to balance how much information I need to read to keep up to date with actually, you know, having a life!

I find it trickier now I work part time – I’m great at keeping a hand in at the start of the week, but after Wednesday I’m restricted to checking blogs, Twitter etc after hours, and I don’t want to spend every evening plugged in! By the time Monday rolls back round I’ve missed the boat on at least one interesting discussion. I’m starting to think I need a smartphone, but then my husband and kids would probably lose me altogether.

I’ve not checked out Pushnote yet (it’ll have to be Monday at work), but I have reorganised my Twitter account by creating separate lists for librarian-related people, journalism and other random bods. Hopefully it means I’ll be able to filter my stream depending which mode I’m in. I’ve also weeded out most of the celebs, so now it’s mainly professional (not entirely though, where’s the fun in that?).

I’ve set up Google Reader as well, so now I get RSS feeds of all the blogs I read regularly. Not that I’m up to date with the reading part but it’s a start, right?

I’ve not worked out whether to use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite yet either. Let’s hope Monday is quiet…

CPD23 Thing 4: Current awareness

Annie’s post: Thing 4 – Current awareness – Twitter, RSS feeds and Pushnote

I really struggle with current awareness. I feel a bit like I’m drowning in a sea of information – I just don’t have the time to read every blog, article or Twitterfeed that I think I need to keep up with the industry.

I like to think I’m information literate (I’ve been around computers my whole life) but when it comes to Twitter and RSS feeds I’m totally behind the times – I still use the basic Twitter site, for starters – and I’m feeling swamped. As Nicole says over at Odd Librarian Out, “I don’t have an information overload problem. I have a filter problem.”


I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years (@katy_bird), and I’m increasingly using it professionally – to follow other librarians, keep up with new developments and track livetweets of events I’m not able to attend. Our department has an account as well (guardianlibrary), so I use it in my daily work life. 

I also use it personally though, and I find it difficult to keep the two separate. I’m always finding new people to follow, but there are so many people tweeting it’s impossible to follow everyone, and I often feel I’m only getting half of the conversation.

RSS feeds

I’ve been meaning to set up RSS feeds for ages. At the moment I track interesting blogs and sites by subscribing for email updates, adding them to my Delicious bookmarks page or listing them on my Blogroll, but I’m guilty of tagging things and never getting round to reading them. I need a one-stop shop for everything I read regularly.


I use Internet Explorer at home, so I’ve not been able to try it out yet, but I’m going to take a look from work on Monday. My initial reaction is that it’s just one more platform to take up my time though!

Challenges this week:

  • Set up Twitter lists to compartmentalise professional and personal followees
  • Get to grips with either Tweetdeck or Hootsuite
  • Weed out feeds I scan over by unfollowing accounts (it’s time I culled a few z-list celebs!)
  • Set up a Google Reader RSS feed to all my usual information sources
  • Take a look at Pushnote


Library Day in the Life: Monday

Assistant librarian, Guardian News & Media (media library)

– Library Day in the Life project

So, a quick catch up on my day so far.

Today is an exciting one for the Guardian – its investigation into the Afghan war, in conjunction with the New York Times and Der Spiegel (using data provided by Wikileaks), went to print this morning and is causing ripples (the White House isn’t happy…). Wikileaks got hold of five years’ worth of army incident logs, which have been analysed and processed by journalists here.

Our role on the project was to create a glossary of terms, posted on the Guardian Datablog, to explain some of the numerous acronyms that pepper the reports. We’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks – finding new acronyms, then trying to identify their meaning using web resources. It was nice to come into work first thing and find my byline in the paper!

Otherwise it’s been a normal day in the office.

  • Uploaded Saturday’s From the archive article to the website, which was printed in Saturday’s paper (we no longer work weekends so we catch up on weekend jobs every Monday). Basically, it’s an ‘on this day’ column that runs in the paper Monday-Saturday; we find and edit the articles, and once they’re published we add them to the series page on the Guardian website using InCopy software, tagging them with relevant keywords (one of my colleagues commented the other day that tagging is just a new method of using a very traditional library skill, like marking up newspaper articles for placement in cuttings files in the old days). Then we tweet them using the department’s account (@guardianlibrary). I’ve written about the From the archive series before here.
  • Checked over From the archive articles for the next few weeks (they need to be edited down to 420-460 words)
  • Attended a department meeting about new roles that are going to be created at the end of the summer.
  • Helped rewrite my job description (I’m going on maternity leave in 7 weeks so we’re advertising for cover). It was so out of date it mentioned Access, a programme I haven’t ever used here (and I’ve been here ten years).
  • Took a query from the Graphics department – they’re planning an interactive graphic for the web on the London 2012 Olympic site, so they asked me to find as much info as I could on the plans for each building. I’ve had a quick look on the web but I think I’ll need to ring the Olympic Authority later.

Now for lunch.

It’s been a quiet morning but the phone has started ringing now. The number of queries we get from journalists varies wildly day to day – some days we only get a couple, like today (so far!), other days the phone doesn’t stop ringing.

  • A journalist is writing a feature piece on David Cameron’s first 100 days in office. Firstly, I had to clarify which date will be his hundredth (a bit tricky – do you count the day he took over as day zero or day one?) Now I’m writing a timeline of key Cameron moments so far, which will aid the writer but might go in the paper too (and will definitely go onto our intranet). One of those “why haven’t we been doing that anyway?” moments
  • Profile, interview and news search on Greg Mortenson for a journalist – interviewers often want background info on interview subjects
  • Showed a colleague how to update our BP oil spill timeline online