Web 2.0 on Resumes

Hey, I got some reader mail! Letters…I get letters…bags and bags of letters….okay, actually it was just one. But anyway, here’s what they wrote:

Dear Sarah,

D’you mind if I ask you a serious question? (Okay, I just did.)

I’m fairly Web-2.0-literate: I’m on Facebook, I took an I-school class taught partly in Second Life, I met my wife in a chatroom, I’ve been on the Internet since 1991….

My question: How do I highlight this on my resume without sounding like a nerd or a loon? How do you do it?

I love your blog! If you feel like answering this question there, go for it!

Thanks very much in advance.

YHOS,

[REDACTED FOR PRIVACY]

First of all, I think it’s awesome that Gentle Reader here assumes that I manage to not sound like a nerd or loon in my resume. Just the vote of confidence that I’ve been needing lately.

Secondly, I don’t really have an answer for this. I include this blog in my publications, and my interests in Web 2.0 sort of come out via the activities I participate in (e.g. Blue 2.0, I’m on my library system’s web committee, etc.).  As part of the P&T process for MPOW, we include dossiers and in that I have print outs of some of the wikis I do for B.I. sessions and my blogs, handouts from presentations I do, etc.  I guess one could list these things as a skill or as part of a personal statement in the cover letter.

Any one have any other ideas?

Twitter and Customer Service

I’ve heard stories about companies using Twitter for customer service. However, I’ve never tried to use actively solicit company help or received any via Twitter. Until today.

I’m currently in the middle of creating a presentation on library services for one of our law journals. For last minute presentations like this that have a lot of links and information that the students will need later, I like to use wikis. I’ve been using PBwiki but today they ticked me off in two ways. (1) They advertised a promotion earlier that would give librarians and educators a free premium PBwiki account, but as I found out today, you have to spam people to get it. (2) When I tried to login to my account to create tomorrow’s presentation, it wouldn’t let me login.

So I switched to wikispaces. AND, because I like to send pointless little messages, I tweeted the whole experience. Well, I came back from lunch today and checked my replies. Lo and behold, I saw this:

It’s a cheery little greeting from wikispaces! And also a kinda creepy one!  I’m not twitter friends with this person (who is apparently the founder of wikispaces), so I guess he found my posts by running searches.  The article I linked to above mentions several companies that have full time staff searching Twitter for complaints about their services.

I’m not sure of how widespread the use of Twitter is by law students, but perhaps I’ll do a search every now and then to see if my library pops up.

Avatars

Interrupting blogging hiatus to procrastinate on writing legal research assignments…

If you were on Twitter at all this weekend, you probably noticed that at one point or another, seemingly everyone changed their profile pic to a cartoon one created by Face Your Manga. If you missed that, then perhaps you remember last year when suddenly everyone on the Internet suddenly became Simponsonized. If you missed that, well, then just trust me on the fact that these avatar creators have a tendency to sweep through the Internet like locusts through a corn field and that sooner or later you’ll see one.

I love playing around with avatar creators. They’re a fun and easy creative outlet. And if your choice is play around with them or write an ALR exercise, well…the choice is not a hard one. They also serve a really important use for social networking sites. I don’t have too many hard and fast rules about using social networking sites, but I am a strong believer that users should either put up a picture OR an avatar that is somewhat humanoid in representation. I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t tell you why, but all I know is that when I see a picture or humanoid avatar, I feel more connected to the person on the other end of the social networking service than if they have a more abstract picture up.

You know, I understand about not wanting to put up a picture. I myself am pretty un-photogenic and I’m just now learning how to take a flattering picture. (One occasionally slips through that makes my neck look like I’m a starting linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, though.) And it can also be pretty scary to put a picture up on a site when you don’t know what serial killer is going to be able to see it. For the longest time, the only picture of myself that I would put up on the Internet was this one:

I still use it for my MySpace since that place still sort of creeps me out.

So, anyway, if you don’t want to use a picture of yourself, the avatar creators are a good alternative. They are almost all really easy to use, require no actual artistic talent and you can get a pretty close approximation of what you look like out of them. Last night I decided to start gathering all of my various avatars and profile pics on my flickr here. As you can see, I for the most part actually do try and make my avatars look like me. That’s really more of a function of me not being that creative to think of some other look rather than me trying to accurately represent what I look like. I don’t care if people’s avatars look like them, just look like something I can connect to!

If you have any good recommendations for avatar sites, leave a comment. I have a whole bunch of work that I’d really rather not do right now!

Online Course Management Systems

Interrupting hiatus for brief rant-like post…

I just spent an hour doing TWEN training with our teaching faculty and their staff assistants.  Am I the only person that’s bothered by (a) Wexis created course management systems, and (b) TWEN’s dominance in these?

I don’t have a problem with TWEN as a system. It works fine for me. However, I don’t like how it (and the Lexis CMS, although in my various affiliations with four different law schools, I’ve yet to see a law professor use it) make the experience of using a legal database…less special. Hmmm. I’m trying to think how to phrase this without sounding like the talk my mother gave me about sex when I was 13. Shoot. I don’t think I can.

Okay, Lexis and Westlaw are great. They’re filled with all sorts of information and can deliver it quickly. However, using them is not without consequences. So a legal researcher really shouldn’t use them until they’re ready and can appreciate all the consequences. Given the severity of the consequences, using Wexis should be a really special event. And when a student is logging into TWEN every day to check a syllabus or see the standings in the Ping-Pong Tournament (an actual TWEN page at UK), Westlaw starts to feel like just another web page and not something that will let them rack up a $60,000 bill in two hours. (Again, an actual story I heard from a firm librarian.) As far as TWEN’s dominance, I think it gives West a little more of a leg up over Lexis in the hearts and minds of our students.

So, what to do about this? Well, I suppose that one could request that professors use both the West and Lexis CMS’s in their classes. That’s pretty unlikely to happen, though. We could hope that Hein creates a CMS, which would take out the competition between the the two big guys. Or, we could MacGyver something up with Web 2.0 apps.

In the most recent edition of LOEX Quarterly, Krista Graham has an article titled “Piecing Together an Online Toolkit,” which goes through some free applications that can take the place of a commercial Course Management system. They are:

Just through some poking around the Internet, I’ve also found the Sakai Project and ATutor, which are both Open Source Course Management systems. I wonder how possible it would be to get buy-in from our teaching faculty to use one of these?

Okay, back to hiatus and back to taking care of business.

Temporary Hiatus

Alternate title: Blogging is hard, yo!

I’m putting this blog on hiatus until September 1.  The fact that it’s taken me about a week to get around to putting up this post is pretty much all the evidence I needed to realize that I should do it.   Once I get done plowing through a bunch of university and organizational committee work, creating materials for my Legal Research classes and otherwise taking care of business here in the Bluegrass, I’ll be back to posting.

Of course, it seems that whenever I do try and go on hiatus, I get an overwhelming urge to start blogging again, so we shall see how long it lasts.  But at least I don’t feel guilty anymore about not posting.

If you’re really curious about what I would be blogging about had I the time, you can check out my google reader items, my twitter, or my friend feed.