Skeleton Hand and MouseI’m a night owl.  I mean I am truly one of those people who comes to life at night. So while others are sleeping, I’m either on the computer or watching reruns of my favorite shows on TV Land.  And when I do finally crawl into bed, my brain is still going at about 200 MPH. Seriously, I have some pretty wild thoughts in the wee hours of the morning:

  • How come politicians haven’t figured out that a great cup of coffee and a red velvet cupcake  really does make things better?  Seriously, it’s impossible to stay angry when eating a cupcake, try it.
  • Why do Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna have a reality show?  Yeah, he was hawt back in his LA Law days and, well, it’s hard not to look at her for  a variety of reasons but do they really warrant a 1/2 hour of TV time?
  • Who would notify my online friends if I died?  See, I think about you guys too Or maybe I’m thinking too highly of myself, who knows?

I told you my thoughts are wild, they’re also completely random but what are you gonna do?  I figured the best thing to do is solve the one problem I can and work on the demise of global hostilities and useless reality shows later.

So the first thing I wanted to know is how would some of my favorite social sites handle my passing?   Twitter’s Deceased User Policy essentially states that a family member has to notify Twitter of the account owner’s passing and they’ll either delete the account or help the family to preserve a backup of the public tweets.  Facebook provides a form for family members to submit in order to remove the deceased users account from the public stream and turn the account into a memorial page (although relatives can opt to have the account removed).   For more information about how to close a deceased family member’s accounts, read this post on Une Belle Vie.

The company policies are good but what about the personal side?  The notification, who tells my online friends what has happened?  I assume my husband would do the notifying but the question is how? My husband doesn’t know the usernames or passwords for my accounts nor does he know everyone in my online community.  In fact, I don’t even think he knows all of the sites that I use on a regular basis (and, chances are, neither do your loved ones). I also have a host of face~to~face friends that I’m sure he’s only met in passing.

As more of our relationships with people grow and develop online, I think this is an important topic for family members to discuss.  I  talked over my social media conundrum with my husband and this is the plan we developed:

  • I’ve identified key people from each of my communities with their names, email addresses and phone numbers for him to contact
  • All of my social media sites have been listed along with the usernames and passwords for him to delete or turn into a memorial as he sees fit
  • Special friends have also been identified as people who will notify others within my social circles in both my online and face~to~face worlds

All of this information is kept in a file on my computer as well as in hard  copy format in a fireproof safe.  Excessive? Probably.  But I know that if something happened to one of my online friends I’d want to know about it, just the same as if I’d want to know if something happened to a family member or a face~to~face friend.

What about you, have you ever thought about the notification process if something happened to you?  Would your loved ones know which accounts to close?  Do they have access to passwords and usernames?

This is reposted from my blog Living Outside the Stacks

Jumping up and down…I was tagged, I was tagged!  

I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy because Baldgeedkinmd tagged me for this meme.  Now I feel like one of the chosen ones.

This meme was started by Meredith Farkas… 

1.  How or why did I start to get into blogging?

About a year ago I took a social networking course offered by Infopeople and taught by none other than Mrs. Farkas herself.  One of our assignments included starting a blog.  I was initially hesitant because I didn’t think I had much to say and I certainly didn’t feel I was qualified to add to the conversations going on in Library Land.  However, it was this post that gave me the confidence boost I needed.  Granted, Meredith told us to comment on each other’s posts so that helped but I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who weren’t enrolled in the course who either commented or sent me emails requesting more information. Knowing that there were people out there who valued my opinion sent my confidence level through the roof and a blogger was born…

2.  How did I gain an audience?

It happened very slowly…smile.  I kept writing but I also started checking out the blogs of folks other than the people in the course with me and I started commenting.  Once I started commenting, others would come and see what I had to say and they would leave comments.  I’ve tried to do more to encourage commenting but I think on that end I’m probably failing but I do enjoy the interaction.  But I have to admit to really wishing I knew how to do a cartwheel when I found out someone accesses my blog through Google Reader. Whoever you are, you rawk!

3.  What advice would you give to new bloggers who want to make a name for themselves in the biblioblogosophere?

My advice would be:

  • Have something to say
  • Even if you don’t think you have an audience, write like you do
  • Read other people’s blogs and comment (not just to leave a comment but to contribute to the conversation)
  • Market yourself: use your blog’s url as your calling card
  • Have fun

So now I’m going to tag: Beaver Archivist, Spinstah and Librarians Matter.

Day 31:  Your Top 5 Lessons

Hmmm, the top 5 lessons that I learned from this challenge would be:

1.  Commenting is not bad.  It shows the blogger that someone is reading his or her words and learning from them.  It also offers support to the blogger, because blogging can be a lonely business, especially if you think no one is, ahem, reading.

2.  Sometimes you have to move out of your comfort zone to broaden your horizons.  The 3 Links Out challenge introduced me to a new blog that I never would have found otherwise. 

3.  When I comment, I am “branding” myself and I need to be aware of the digital image that I am creating.  Because my comments and, ultimately, my blogs are the initial ways that people are going to know me.  And in the competitive field of librarianship :), the image that I put out there is what could impact potential employers, speaking engagements or positions within different associations.

4.  If someone takes the time to comment on my blog, I should take the time to respond.  To do otherwise would be tantamount to walking away in the middle of a conversation which is something I would never do f2f and shouldn’t be done virtually either.

5.  I can finish something, even if it is later than everyone else.  So much for that adult onset ADD, huh?

Day 30:  How Can You Use What You Have Learned About Commenting to Change Your Teaching?

I don’t actively teach in a classroom, so I’m going to apply what I’ve learned to what I can teach my children about interacting in the classroom.  I’d like for them to be able to formulate intelligent opinions and then be able to back them up with supporting information.  They should be comfortable expressing ideas that may be contrary to the views of those around them without things melting into a name calling fest.

The best example of moving commenting into real life practice is from a talk that I attended that was given by Dr. Yolanda Smith.  Her talk was on using African American spirituals as a source for teaching faith and heritage.  During her talk, Dr. Smith offered a suggestion for teaching classes using the traditional “call and response” method of singing that is prevalent in African American churches.  In many ways, this is what we are trying to create through commenting on blogs and sharing in the classroom.  Instead of setting up the blogger as the end and be all of knowledge, commenting puts the blogger and the readers (or the teacher and the students) on an equal plane where they learn from each other by interacting with each other.

When I used to help students at my previous place of employment, I used to try to make it clear to them that I stood to learn as much from them as they stood to learn from me.  Because their major may have been biology while mine was history, I was not an expert in their databases, but I knew how to use them.  So I would help the students but I would also take notes and ask them to share things with me as they learned or found out information.  This created a collaborative environment where the students trusted me not to talk down to them but to see them as my peers.  And, ultimately, it gave the students a sense of control over their own learning.    

Day 29:  Write a Commenting Guide for Students

Well, I’m a librarian and archivist at an academic library, so my commenting guide would be geared toward college students.

1.  Do not comment anonymously.  Own your comments and, if necessary, be prepared to defend or support them.

2.  Be creative with your comment, “great post” is unacceptable.  If you agree with someone or think their post was great, tell them why.  Let the blogger know what you learned from reading their post.

3.  Don’t relegate comments to just the blogger, comment on other people’s comments.  Get a dialogue going. 

4.  Do not flame or resort to name calling because you disagree with someone.  The point of commenting is to foster a secure learning environment where people exchange ideas.

5.  Have fun.  Commenting is not a torturous activity.  It shows that you are engaged in the conversations around you and that you are more than just a passive observer.  Furthermore, it lets the blogger know that someone is out there.

Day 28:  What’s Your Blog Commenting Strategy?

I don’t really have a blog commenting strategy and I’m not really certain that I want to go through all the trouble that Caroline has gone through just to drive traffic to my blog.  I comment when and where I see fit.  For me, it’s not about bringing folks to my blog, it’s about being able to contribute something useful to the conversation. 

Day 27:  What Do You Communicate About Your Personal Brand Through Comments?

I never thought of the way that I sign comments as “branding” myself, I just thought of it as a way to identify myself and take ownership of my comments.  While I blog anonymously (but with a little digging anyone can find out my name), I don’t feel that I have the right to comment anonymously.  If I take the time to comment on a blog, I want to get the credit – good, bad or indifferernt.  But I digress… 

When people come across one of my blogs or read my comments, I want them to come away with the image of a woman who is self-assured, intelligent, witty and willing to learn.  Because of the relative anonymity of blogging and commenting, it’s hard for people to form an opinion of an individual, unlike in f2f presentations where image is everything.  Blogging and commenting leaves a digital imprint that will be there forever, so we have to be mindful of the image we creating (or the image we are leaving behind).

I read with interest Kevin’s comment on why he was passing on this challenge and it reminded me of an incident that happened when I was applying for grad school and I asked one of my professors to write a recommendation for me.  This professor and I had developed a wonderful relationship during my time as a student and I viewed him as a mentor and a friend, so I was stunned when I read the first line of his recommendation.  It read:  “Dani is a beautiful young lady…” and it continued for another paragraph about my looks.  I felt that the almost complete focus on my physical attributes negated the intellectual work that I had done during my four years of study.  It caused me to wonder if I had been graded solely on my face and not on my brains.

Years later, when I started blogging, I thought this would provide me with the opportunity to prove that I am more than just a pretty face.  There is some thought and wit and depth of knowledge that exists.  I know that in this digital age, employers, friends and even enemies are likely to google a person just so they can find out something about them.  When someone googles me or reads my comments and clicks on my link, I want them to have an image of a professional who works hard at making herself a better librarian/archivist while still managing to look good doing it. 🙂  Thank you, Bare Escentuals