Are you my mentor? Mentoring in the Twittersphere

CreativityCreativity” by Mark van Laere licensed under CC BY 2.0 

After around a year – gulp (and considering my last post was about getting back in the habit of writing – whoops) – I am returning to my neglected blog. There are a couple of reasons:

1). I do really enjoy writing a blog, reflecting on my learning, and sharing my thoughts with others

2). I need some help from my community – and need a solid place to put that information 😀

The good news is that I have been accepted to write a chapter in an upcoming book – Beyond mentoring: A guide for librarians and information professionals. Yay!

The bad news (not that it’s terribly bad) is that it is due the day after my wedding in early January 2016 – so I am setting myself a deadline of Christmas 2015.

But here’s where you come in…

Around two years, I conducted my BA research on how librarians use Twitter to form and cultivate informal mentoring relationships – you can read more on it in my post here, my research questions and answers here on the New Professionals NZ blog, and you can read the published results in the New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal [NZLIMJ].

So I am revisiting my research from 2013, updating the literature to reflect the current environment today, and adding in some more information/angles/topics – as my chapter has to be 5000-7000 words compared with the measly 3000 words I’ve already written on the subject.

Some of the areas I’m thinking about/questions I’m asking are below:

  • Current/up-to-date stats or estimates on the number of librarians with personal Twitter accounts in NZ, and also compare that with the international results – thanks heaps, Sarah Gallagher @sarahlibrarina and Sally Pewhairangi @sallyheroes for your helpful ideas
  • Peer mentoring/reverse mentoring/informal mentoring/community of learners/PLN versus the traditional hierarchical model of mentoring
  • Formal and informal programmes that involve either mentoring or Twitter or both
  • Use of Twitter chats as professional development, support, mentoring, etc…
  • Conference hashtags/virtual attendance of online PD events
  • Examples in pop culture/movies/TV shows of peer mentoring – found some interesting examples of the typical hierarchical mentoring (Anakin & Yoda type thing), but looking for examples to contrast
  • Future of mentoring in the age we live in

So these are some of the things that are floating around my head at the moment – I’d love to chat about them and hear your opinions & ideas. For convenience sake, I am trying to use the hashtag #TwitMentoring in each tweet I do that relates to it, so I can go back and index it or save those conversations.

Really looking forward to the conversations this will generate, getting my first draft done and polished, writing the final one, and submitting it all before my wedding! Thanks for all your help, encouragement, support and #thinkythoughts so far everyone – where would I be without my Twitter family? 🙂



Trail of links: professional reading on Twitter

Here is the trail of links I have followed (and read) from Twitter over a morning 🙂
I’ve been wondering how I could keep track of my professional reading, and looking at what I click on and read from Twitter is probably a good start! I created this list manually by embedding every tweet I clicked on – does anyone know if there is a programme that can keep track of what you click on from your Twitter account?

Do you keep track of your professional reading from Twitter links, and if so, how do you do it???

It was interesting looking through this list to see the type of things I click on and am interested in; IT and education is definitely a big component, as is social media/blogging, library stuff, and job-hunting (probably as I am job-hunting at the moment!) It was a fun exercise to do and maybe something I should do fairly regularly to see if these type of links change or not.

Information Technology and Education

Library Stuff

Job Hunting & Work/Life Balance



Celebrate good times, come on!!!

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake by Theresa Thompson on Flickr via CC license.


I’ve finally reached my Twitter goal from Week 1 of ANZ 23 Mobile Things to get down to 1000 following!!!

Here is the screenshot to prove it:

1000 following

So I am pretty stoked to finally be here; it was a hard goal to reach – halving the amount of people I was following, but I have done it now! Phew… Now to catch up with my Week 3 post 🙂

“Listless” but OK; how I’m solving my Twitter problem.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on my Twitter dilemma; I have since followed up on many of your helpful suggestions as you can see from the results below:


So I’m now down to 1480 from 2001 – only another 480 odd to reach my goal of 1000 following! Woo-hoo!

How did I do this?

Jan Holmquist’s suggestion of ManageFlitter – – was inspired; it’s a great way to break down who you are following. It breaks down who you are following by the following filters:

  • Not following back
  • No profile image
  • Fake following
  • Non-English
  • High Ratio
  • Inactive
  • Talkative
  • Quiet

These are very useful to evaluate who you are following and to see the characteristics of the groups. As I prefer to follow people who interact, I choose to unfollow all the inactive accounts I was following (those people that have not tweeted in the last 30 days). This was an easy way to clear about 100 inactive accounts off my list.

As I am using a free account, I can only unfollow 100 people per day within the filter. Hence I have been going back over several days to get down this low and will continue to use this tool to tidy up my Twitter account.

I also have browsed through my list of following on Twitter to see if I can identify any rogue accounts that I didn’t mean to follow and have managed to find a few this way.

My main aim at this stage is to get my following down to a manageable level so I am pruning quite heavily. I don’t stress too much about the unfollow decisions as I know I can easily go back and follow people again if I accidentally unfollowed someone that I do want to follow.

One concern I had was that I might loss a number of followers by this drastic spring clean, but any followers I have lost has been negated by some new followers I have gained this week. In fact, I think the number following me has actually increased (but this might not be related to my spring clean :D). Just a shout-out to all who are following me; a big thank you and I hope I continue to share content that is of interest to you. But if I don’t, or I start to annoy you with frequent tweeting, feel free to unfollow me – I understand 😀

So did I set up any lists?

I’ve set up a couple of private lists for people that I wasn’t sure about unfollowing completely. I will continue to evaluate these lists to see if I need to follow more people or create separate lists based on topics of interest.

What have I learned from this week?

I’ve learned a lot from this week actually. Using this week to focus on Twitter allowed me to:

  • Think more deeply about the type of people I’d like to follow and interact with
  • Evaluate the different types of accounts I am following and become more aware on my PLN
  • Tidy up my account so I have a more manageable feed and can interact more with those I am following
  • Discover a way to add another account to my Twitter app on the iPad so I can switch between using my personal account – @ajwillemse91 – and the ANZ 23 mobile things – @anz23mthings – with the click of a button! Very handy – only I have occasionally tweeted from the wrong account but am working on ironing that one out!

What have you learned about Twitter this week?

Thing 1 Twitter – Did I Make The List???

This is my very first reflection post for ANZ 23 Mobile Things! Although I am one of the organizers, I am also one of the participants and am learning just as much (if not more!) as the other participants 🙂

The topic this week – Twitter.

“That’s easy,” I thought. I know a lot about Twitter; been on it about a year and have just passed my 5000th tweet. Boy, was I wrong!

I discovered that I have a serious problem. I am maxed out at the number of people I am allowed to follow – 2000 people. So I have a SERIOUS clean-up to do. I have a few options:

1. Create lists to categorize people by geographical location, topics, etc… as you can add people to lists without following them.

2. Go through all 2000 followers and selectively un-follow those I am not interacting with or who just aren’t relevant to me anymore.

3. Wait until I get more than 2000 followers (currently at 850) and then Twitter will let me follow more.

4. Never follow anyone else ever again (is that really an option though?!).

So I’ve decided to investigate lists. I asked how people organize their lists on Twitter and we had a great conversation which you can read on Storify here. I got a lot of different advice about ways to organize lists and different ways that people use their lists. But I’ve decided that lists might not be the best way for me to solve my problem at hand. Why?

  • I find that I tend to just look at my main feed; I think that if I put them all into multiple lists I wouldn’t look at all of them and it might be a waste of time.
  • I’m not hugely a “list” person; I prefer to look at the big picture of everything that’s going on
  • It’s a lot of work going through 2000 people and working out which ones should fit where!

So I’ve decided that it would be better for me to look at all the people I follow and evaluate if I still would like to follow them or if they are not relevant to my lines of thinking. I might also make a decision based on frequency of tweeting and the content they tweet. I’ve tried using Friend or Unfollow to pull out the people that I am following who aren’t following me (1291 accounts!). So I am working through these; some of them are big names in the library profession who I am still very keen to follow (like @mstephens7) so there is still quite a bit to evaluate!

My ultimate goal is to get the number of people I am following down to around 1000 – this is going to take a lot of work but it is definitely a work in progress!

So what do you think? Is this the best solution to my problem or should I “make the list”?