How it all began
Before I arrived at Warwick I had been part of the team running the 23 Things programme at Oxford. One of my actions after that course ended was to summarise our experience in an article. I submitted it to Ant Brewerton, the then editor of Sconul Focus and it was published last month. Shortly after our programme ended I came for an interview here and remember talking A LOT about social media and 23 Things. It obviously didn't put them off; I got the job and the rest as they say is history.
When I finally started at Warwick one of the first projects I had was to adapt the 23 Things programme for the library. I felt in a good position to do this with the ability to draw on my experience from Oxford, and having watched how Cambridge had taken that and improved upon it. My aim therefore was to make it even better!
I worked on a proposal for Warwick's version of 23 Things with Ant, which he then took to the management group for approval. With this signed off it was down to me to make the programme a reality. The first and most important task was to assemble a crack team of bloggers. The next stage was delegation; running a 23 Things programme alone would be a massive job, but with each individual in the team taking responsibility for one week's worth of things it becomes surprisingly manageable. The final stage of preparation was to set up the team blog.
Once the preparation for the programme was sorted there was really only one thing left to do - drum up some interest among library staff. Our programme was due to start at the beginning of Term 2 in January so we sent out a couple of messages in the Library e-Bulletin before Christmas. Then, we had the honour of kicking of proceedings at the Staff Open Day on the first day back in the new year. We did a short presentation introducing the programme, followed by a workshop to get staff thinking about their use of social media and its place in libraries.
There were a few things on my mind at this stage. First and foremost was what the take-up would be like. Time and timing is always going to be an issue with any training course you run, but the feedback I was getting suggested that the timing of our programme and time committment required each week would mean that large sections within the library would not be able to take part. There was no going back however and all I could do was wait to see how many people registered. In the first week 25 participants registered, and I was happy with that, but by the time registration closed in week 5 we were up to 44!
What I will miss when the programme is over
One of the great things that came out of the 23 Things programme at Oxford was the sense of community that developed among the participants. This is definitely the same here. There seems to be a buzz about 23 Things wherever I go; I hear people talking about it within their teams and in the staff room. In the corridor people approach me with glee to let me know exactly where they're up to and what thing they're currently tackling. I'll miss that when it's over.
I will also miss the blogging. Not that I'm going to stop completely but this will be my last post here. I made the conscious decision to set up this blog solely for the 23 Things programme. I'm really pleased with how it has developed and feel satisfied to leave it on this post. What I will miss is having prescribed things to blog about each week. I'm pleased that some participants on the programme have found a love for blogging as a way of processing their thoughts on a topic. I do hope to see some continue their blogs after the programme ends.
What I have learned
Being a seasoned social media user there was only one tool on the programme that I was coming to completely blind - Diigo. It was something that I wanted to explore as an alternative to Delicious but knowing it was coming up as one of the things I held back. There has been a mixed response to it among the other participants, but I for one am completely sold and once I've tidied them up will be importing my Delicious bookmarks.
What I think I will take away from this programme that is of greatest importance is an understanding of how other people think about social media. I am an early adopter, a digital native, a digitalist, and social media is a large part of my home and work life. Sometimes it is difficult to appreciate how other people approach and evaluate these tools. Reading about their experiences through the participant blogs helps me to gain perspective.