Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Connie Crosby's Top 6 Ways to Find Out What's Going On

And It's A Wrap
Originally uploaded by LexnGer
My friend and colleague Wendy Reynolds recently asked me to write about how I keep up. The answer really comes in three parts:
(1) How do I find out about groups and events?
(2) What groups do I belong to or meet with?
(3) What events are coming up?

Let me tackle the first one in this post. Here are my top 6 ways I find out what's going on:
  1. Twitter - often the people I follow are in the same groups as I am, or have similar interests. They talk about upcoming events and groups they are part of. My curiosity leads me to check out what they are talking about. Sometimes I hear about them attending events while they are there, in which case I am disappointed I have missed out. That motivates me to pay more attention, and possibly join in with the next event put on by that group.

  2. Facebook - one thing Facebook is very good at is allowing people to organize events. The people who organize events often send messages out to their friends or members of groups to invite them. I also get invited to various groups via Facebook. I have these notifications set up to be sent to my email so I don't have to constantly log onto Facebook. That being said, I check into Facebook periodically to see what events others are signing up for in case there is something of interest. The more groups you join, or the more friends you connect with, the more likely you are to hear about events. To me this is one of the most powerful things about Facebook.

  3. Meetup.com - A number of groups use Meetup to organize meetings. I make sure to sign up as a member of each group I am interested in. Organizers use the system to send notices about upcoming messages to the members. Periodically I am also notified about new groups falling within my area of interest, as defined by me in my profile. I also periodically check to see what groups my friends are signed up for. I used to mine Upcoming.org, a similar site, for events, but find not as many groups using it these days. And to be honest, I find since Yahoo took it over I have difficulty signing into the site to use it.

  4. Email discussion lists - listserves, group lists, Yahoo Groups, Google Groups - yes, email lists are still thriving. I am signed up for a number in Toronto for various associations and interest groups, most of which I read in daily summary mode, and watch them for events of interest.

  5. Get involved - I am involved in a lot of different groups, both formal (associations) and informal (communities of interest). That means frequently I have an "inside track" on events coming up. As well, I am sometimes contacted by people in other groups putting on events looking for advice or, more likely, wanting to spread the word.

  6. Check with someone who knows what is going on - about once a week my friend Eden Spodek and I touch base and talk about upcoming events and meetings we are going to. Once in a while one of us will know about something the other doesn't (usually she is more in the know than I am). It's not something we plan on doing, but it just seems to happen when we start talking. Our interests are similar but we largely work in different industries, so do hear about different things.

    People seem to use my blog in this way, too. I try to let people know about things they might be interested in, thinking about whether most people interested are on Facebook, Twitter, or a listserv. I'm a bit slow at getting upcoming events onto this blog. Last month I posted about upcoming Toronto events that were of interest to me, and probably should continue doing something like that which would also address number 3) above.
Note each of these informs the other. Quite often I hear about one event several times over in all different methods. To the point where I don't have to look to find, it almost seems to come by osmosis.

You may be surprised to see I do not check blogs or monitor RSS feeds for upcoming events. Do you? How do you find out what is going on?

Photo credit: BookCamp wrap-up, Saturday June 6, 2009 And It's A Wrap
Originally uploaded by LexnGer. Photo used under Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your methods Connie!

Anonymous said...

I subscribe to a ridiculous number of syndication feeds. While I often pick and choose what to read from those feeds, I still read a good deal of content and skim much more. For instance, I subscribe to several of the CBC News feeds, so I usually know the day's top stories. Then I've got my tech blogs, some other interesting bloggers, and of course, your feed!

If I find something of note, then I share it with others (usually via Twitter, and hence Facebook as well). Although sharing links and bookmarks is nothing new, Twitter adds something to the mix by piggybacking link-sharing onto a discussion medium. People don't just visit Twitter to check out bookmarks like they would on Del.icio.us; they live on Twitter for its content, some of which happens to be links.

Of course, when I want to know "what's going on," I'm referring more to just events in the world or shiny new developments online. I don't go places. That would require me to meet with people, and that's crazy talk! Besides, I live in Thunder Bay and don't have the opportunity to travel much, so online congress is usually the source of my best discourse.

You've got a great list there, though, which underscores the power of social networks. I usually make the same point you do about Facebook when people I know offline (usually ... older people) question its usefulness. There's this completely understandable fear that if we grow too connected online we'll lose touch offline. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since Facebook makes it so easy to inform one's friends of new events--no more engraved invitations or trying to phone them up on the party line--it just becomes easier to stay connected offline.

But I digress. Nice list! I like lists, and I like reading lists; it puts things in perspective.

Unknown said...

Great post as I liked how you still use face time. I wrote about it as well. Sorry you weren't at SLA.

IamLibrarian said...

These are great! I just checked out and signed up for Meetup - thanks!

Connie Crosby said...

I'm glad everyone found these helpful. Ben, to clarify, these methods are how I find out what events are happening. I have other methods for finding out current news.