For a while I've been planning to create a new website, so when my hosting of thewikiman.org came up for renewal, I took the plunge and switched over to squarespace. If you're reading this in a feedreader, go to ned-potter.com and have a look! I'm also changing focus somewhat.
A subtle change to the blog
The blog is still the main thing people will look at on the site, and this has been cleaned up a little in keeping with the site's revamp, with a less fussy design.
The tagline used to be 'Ideas about Information' - but I've changed it to Ideas about Communication. That's where most of my interests lie now, and although I'll probably write about librarianship, those posts will be about the communication side of that too. Edtech, scholarly comms, social media, marketing, presentation skills - it's all communication in one form or another.
Librarianship is fairly divided at the moment, at least in the online bubble I inhabit, and I find myself in the tricky position of both disagreeing with a lot of what is said and some of the prevailing ideologies, and agreeing that the increasing infighting isn't getting us anywhere. So I'm choosing, for the most part, not to add to the fractious noise.
When I started blogging, in 2009, it felt like a lot more of us were on the same page, and there was a greater harmony. I may, of course, have simply had too small (and like-minded) a network to form a proper overview of the dialogue within the profession, and just missed all the fighting that was happening back then. Either way, things feel a lot more complicated now - like some cliched coming-of-age movie, where the characters grow apart as their lives become more complex. Part of me thinks this is an almost inevitable consequence of the fragmented world social media enables - as more and more of us get online, and find our tribes, those tribes get more and more granular and specific. We're all finding our people, which is great. But as we sub-divide further, consensus becomes ever harder to achieve.
I'm not sure what we can do about that. Everyone is fighting for what they believe in, and it's very difficult to sit back and not challenge things you find troubling (although I've been doing that a lot on Twitter this year, and it's getting easier) - but if there are very different view-points, from lots of people who don't want to leave things unchallenged, inevitably you get a lot of disagreement. And as a lot of people have been saying recently, it's not really helping anything all that much. There have been times in the past where I've wanted to try and change librarianship or libraries per se, and even felt able to (if only on an absolutely minute scale). But I'm not sure if that's a realistic aim at the moment, so why add to the conflict?
As it happens, I do still believe I can help change individual libraries and organisations for the better, especially in the field of communicating well - and I'm happy with that less lofty aim. So I'll stick with that, for the most part, from now on.
Anyway, on to less contentious things!
What's new on the site?
I've added a couple of pages I should have had years ago. There's a Library Marketing Toolkit page linked from the main Publications page, including details of how to order and lots of reviews (some of which I found whilst preparing the page, having not seen them before, which was nice!).
I've also added a Training page to detail the various workshops I run. This has got fairly comprehensive information about the four main types of training (Presentation Skills, Emerging Technologies, Social Media, and Pure Marketing) I do for various organisations, as well as feedback for previous courses in each area. Part of the reason I've not had a proper page like this before is I've not been actively pushing the training - I have a steady stream of freelance work coming in and there's only so much time in which to do it. But for various reasons I'm looking to increase that side of things slightly in the short term, so if you'd like me to run something for your organisation, please get in touch.
The Publications page has been revamped to be a little less messy, and the Events are now split into Past Talks and Upcoming things, that last one now being now much more useful with proper location details including maps, etc.
Where's thewikiman.org gone?
All the old links to thewikiman.org URLs still work, but I've decided to go with ned-potter.com. I may blog about this at a later date but basically if I knew in 2009 what I know now, I would have done everything online under my own name... So I'm trying to do that now where possible. Speaking of which:
Where's @theREALwikiman gone?
I've also changed my Twitter name to @ned_potter. The name 'thewikiman' was born out of a) the fact that I orginally set up a blog to document the creation of a wiki (I know! I'm sure there IS a less exciting idea in existence, I just can't think of it right now) so it was relevant for about a month until got bored with writing about a wiki, and b) because I didn't really know anything about online footprints, so thought having a sort of 'nom-de-2.0' was important.
@theREALwikiman came about because '@thewikiman' was already taken on twitter at the time - but what I chose was a ridiculous name, and stupidly long for Twitter. People conversing with me used up most of the available characters just on my username and had hardly any space left for conversation... So, it's dispensed with. I feel like back when I joined Twitter and started blogging I was playing at having an online identity, whereas now I actually have one - and I'd rather it was under my own name.
Why make a new site?
If anyone has read this far down and is interested, the reason for doing this is basically that my website making skills are really limited so I wanted a way to make a nicer, more functional site than I had previously. I designed the old version of the site just writing in raw xhtml, and it was fine, but web publishing has moved on. Only the blog part of the old version worked well on mobiles, and that was adaptive - this whole site has a responsive design, which is the way forward. Try resizing your browser window and you'll see all the elements of the site are retained, just repositioned to suit the adjusted size of the screen. So it works well on all sizes of mobile devices without losing anything - adaptive design means you have a separate mobile version, often with some content stripped away. Anyway, overall I think the whole site feels fresher. I like the fact that the shift in focus of the blog is reflected in a shift in the way the whole site works too.
I loved my old wordpress.org blog but there were so many plugins that constantly needed updating, or which no longer worked, and I paid for hosting costs based on the bandwidth I guessed I'd need, which always stressed me out (previously having had to upgrade when the site went down due to the bandwidth of my old package having been exceeded!) - so I've swapped something which needed a bit of upkeep to something with one package that covers everything in a fairly easy to manage way. I've found squarespace to be very helpful with good support etc, so I'm pleased with it all so far.
The only thing I don't know about carrying over is the blog subscriptions. This is the first post under the new system - I really, really hope I've made it so the old thewikiman blog feed still produces posts, as there are between 1500 and 2000 subscribers to the feed - I know that these days that doesn't mean all those people are actually reading the posts, of course! But I'd prefer to keep them as subscribers than have to start afresh. So if you're reading this in a feedreader then can you let me know via a tweet or something?
And if you're reading this in a reader then woohoo, it worked!