Eclectic Dreams

A Web Design and Development Blog

Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Twitter and your new job

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Recently I gave up the life of a University web developer and moved to the exiting world of semantic web and library web services.

One of the nice things about the whole experience has been that Twitter has worked as a great bridge into the new role. It’s that whole ambient intimacy thing. Before I’d even set foot in the organisation as an employee, I had connections with people within it. More importantly, in a way, I felt connected to it.

Once I’d announced my acceptance of the new job, I had a raft of employees and well-wishers from the company’s sphere of interest, all making me feel that I was already part of the place before I’d arrived; Helping me with my transport queries, sharing useful knowledge, making me feel part of the culture and so on.

That’s a powerful thing. Feeling you’re welcome, appreciated and valued, before you’re even in the office.

The point here is that the untapped use for Twitter is bridging transition into new employment. Given that the tech industry is fairly notorious in its inability to retain talent from offer to actual arrival, that feeling of belonging to culture, which twitter can create, is a powerful tool in the recruitment arsenal.

Of course, I only applied for the role due to a tweet by Rob Styles, who I originally followed as another web person in Birmingham. So it’s a double edged sword, what helps you integrate new employees might also allow your talented employees to be lured away…

Talking of Blogging

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Wednesday saw me extolling the virtues of blogging to academics in the University. Which went quite successfully, given that even after five years interacting with academics, I’m still learning how best to pitch web stuff in a relevant, non-techy and useful way. I seem to be getting better at it. ;)

This all came about as part of an ongoing project to redesign the old business school site. We’d talked about how to get staff involved and onboard, and a blog was suggested as a way of bringing in fresh, relevant content that showed what the School was all about. People wanted to know the hows, whys and whatfors.

So we organised a small seminar… and things spiralled. People took interest. We ended up with close to thirty academics and support staff, all in a room, setting up their own blogs, discussing issues and techniques, ideas and opportunities. Great stuff.

We did some presenting too. I talked about this very blog, and its highs and lows, the link economy and building your audience. Kathleen Dixon Donnelly talked about her blog and how she’d turned her posts into self-published books. John Colby talked about maths, pass grades and pictures of dogs, and which one helped him dine out for a year. Andy Hollyhead talked about how he’d used blogs in teaching for reflective practice, and key things like students not necessarily calling what they do online blogging. Ruth Page talked about how she’s used Digital Narratives to enhance her work and research. Charlotte Carey talked about why she blogs and what she gains (see her blog post for more). She also showed people twitter.

All in all a very positive experience, that I hope to see a few blogs appear from. Also great for reminding people there is a web team and we don’t bite!

A Multitude of Blogs

Monday, April 30th, 2007

So, I’ve been busy of late. Lots of my time has been highjacked, pleasantly it must be said, by putting together promotional blogs for work. I figured I’d mention a few of the projects here.

One of the lecturers in English, Jackie Gay, is aiming to be on the Paralympic Sailing Team for Great Britain. So I put together a site in WordPress for her. I’m quite pleased with the results, though I’ve just noticed there’s still a problem with the CSS in Safari. Sigh. Will have to fix that tomorrow.

Given that it’s for a paralympic bid is has to look nice to attract sponsors and be accessible. It’s pretty much a heavily modified (hat tip to Bruce’s nice summary) WordPress install.

Interesting side note. I was just testing if the tab order and the hidden skip nav in Safari. How annoying is it that you have to enable tabbing through page elements in Safari’s preferences before it’ll work.

Similarly, the School of Property, Construction and Planning is celebrating 50 years of teaching planning in Birmingham. As part of those celebrations, we’ve put together a fun archive site with all kinds of nostalgia, photos and archives.

Called, unsurprisingly, Planning is 50. Mainly interesting if you’re into Planning education, but some of the historic pictures of Birmingham’s postwar reconstruction are worth a look for local interest.