Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Internship Week 7: Using Tumblr

Last week I made a Powerpoint presentation about the use of Tumblr in public and school libraries, and I dealt with underestimating the time it would take me to write the accompanying report.

As a Gen Y adult raised in Silicon Valley, I occupy an odd middle ground when it comes to technology. I grew up with many computers in the house (courtesy of a father who worked in the dotcom industry) and at school (with students who were the children of Valley tech folks like Steve Wozniak; I like to say that my education was subsidized by Apple), and I'm thoroughly comfortable with the suite of tools commonly used in most offices. Working at a software company now, I hear about digital media products a lot -- especially the hot new ones! -- and have friends and colleagues working on the bleeding edge. Just by virtue of exposure to this environment for most of my lifetime, I can hardly be counted a Luddite. I think I'm to the right of the nation's bell curve.

However, I personally never have the latest gadget. (They cost too much.) I don't use apps. (They take my info.) I use Facebook frequently, but I refuse to log into other services with my Facebook account. Even with free tech, I'm not a standard early adopter (though I do tend to be on the crest of the wave because of my proximity to people who are). I only started Pinterest, for example, last year before my wedding, even though I'd been hearing about it since the 2010 beta launch. And other than a few recipes, I pretty much abandoned it afterward.

So I have to admit that until I took on this internship assignment, I had never used Tumblr. I'd seen it, of course, and even knew of a few amusing pages. (And a few more serious ones.) But I didn't have an account. Of course, neither do many librarians, even those in YA departments in a major metropolitan area. One of the guidelines of the assignment, if fact, was to explain Tumblr to those who are unfamiliar with the service. So my first step was to research the Terms of Service. My second was to create an account and start a Tumblr blog of my own.

I was impressed by the quick and easy registration flow. I liked the visual appeal -- in that, it reminded me of Pinterest. Searching for keyword tags? Okay. Made better by the suggested tags. Multiple media formats? All right. Some of the custom themes I saw seemed too crowded or not intuitively organized, and it was strange having them all look so different (UNlike Pinterest), but there's good content out there. And most of it's cited. (Pinterest is really good at that.)

I took a lot of screenshots of me testing out Tumblr features and added them to my Powerpoint deck. As I've occasionally done in the past, I ended up creating the deck and then using it as an outline for the paper, as opposed to writing the paper and pulling info from it to make the slides. I submitted the deck to my supervisor Sunday night. I think I'll put it up on Brainshark and maybe record an audio presentation to go along with it. This might be the example of my work that I submit at the end of LIBR294.

The written report isn't done yet. Neither are the citations for the articles I used; those are all up in Chrome tabs still. I've spent a lot of time working on it, but between my other work and recent personal stress, it hasn't come together in the timeframe I'd predicted. So I bit the bullet and emailed my supervisor. I apologized for the delay and asked if there was a particular deadline, and whether it would be okay to turn in both the Tumblr report and the new assignment by Monday the 11th. (Bear in mind that I have met the other self-assigned deadlines so far, and was a day early on the one he gave me a specific deadline for.) He said that would be fine.

So we're in the middle of Week 7 now. I've logged 52 hours, and I have an assignment and a half left to do while I am off work tomorrow and Friday.

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