This last post in Social Networking and The Library will evaluate and reflect on my learning over the summer session. Engaged in the module readings and responding to those readings has allowed me to achieve the learning objectives of INF506.
The following three posts are those I will be using demonstrate my understandings:
1. Social networking technologies
Social networking technologies are about participation and creation. In my post Social Media and the Library, I examined three school libraries, and the social networking tools they have employed to engage their library community. These range from social bookmarking tools, blogs, RSS and Facebook, to specialized applications such as GoodReads and Bookcrossing.
It is not enough to simply set up a Facebook page, or a blog or link to GoodReads, it is essential to have an understanding of the culture of whichever social networking tool is being used (Hafaele, 2008). It is this grasp of how users are accustomed to using an application like Facebook that is a deal breaker for success. The library webpage can’t expect to operate outside the conventions of an application, if the point of using web 2.0 tools is to meet people where they are familiar and comfortable, we need to be consistent with the accepted format (Brookover, 2007).
2. Concepts theory and practice of library 2.0
If Web 2.0 is about participation and creation, Library 2.0 is customer driven – responsive to and informed by the use of social networking tools. (Casey and Savastinuk, 2006). Library 2.0 occurs in the context of user needs. Additionally, Miller (2005) points out that libraries themselves are participants also, not just the end user, an interesting perspective.
I explored this new style of responsive library by looking at the Blue Mountains City Library website on the 4/12/12.
Creating a list of 8 criteria for effective library websites by selecting those that seemed most relevant from Matthews (2009), I applied them to BMCC library. My number one criteria at that stage, was looking for up to date information and regular postings. Under this criteria, I included response from the library. A facebook page or blog which is not regularly updated or unresponsive will not engage the community (Crawford, 2008).
By the end of the semester, I would include in the list one further criteria – understanding the culture of the tool being used (Hafaele, 2008).
Social networking tools are not static applications. To keep users interested, they must be busy, there should be change, it is not “finished” once it is set up, setting up is only the beginning.
Facebook for example should include the things that people expect to see there, yet be blended with library business. The average Facebook wall is a patchwork of updates, photos, videos, stories and humour. How does this translate to a library Facebook page?
There are libraries harnessing Facebook, and the key to their success seems to be their grasp of the concept of culture that Hafaele (2009) describes. I identified Goldenview Middle School Facebook page as an example (27/1/13).
Facebook is a medium (at this stage) for people over 13, so is unlikely to be utilized in a primary school library. That said, the Facebook “rules” could easily be applied to a school library blog – a safe place for students, that could serve a similar function. This is how I would approach a primary school library blog.
4. Evaluate SN technologies to support informational and collaborative needs of communities.
Unless we are able to determine what our user communities want from their online library experience, we will not be able to effectively meet their information needs.
In the Social Media and the Library post, I observed that Brisbane Grammar School use 11 SN tools. Some of these tools double up in function, and there is little to be gained from using for example 3 different social bookmarking applications. Evaluating which is the right tool for the situation is essential (Harvey, 2009).
5. Understanding of social, cultural, educational, ethical and technical management issues in a socially networked world, and its implications for policy development.
Developing policy around use of social media must be purposeful, the guidelines must be clear. I considered this in some depth in my post on the 26/12/12, in particular, what is called The Participation Gap (Jenkins et al, 2006), and online privacy.
We cannot expect students to intuitively know what is right, so teaching must be explicitly informed by well developed policy. Online etiquette is a developing subject, as it is a relatively new medium. Students need more than the device and the connection they need comprehensive instruction and guidance about online culture, ethical expectations and technical issues.
At the beginning of the course, when I listed my use of social networking for the first assignment, I realized that I was already well connected online – a user of Facebook, forums, games, twitter, photobucket, youtube, pinterest, delicious, rss, blog reader and writer. However. My use was not always well informed, and I didn’t feel that I was exploiting at least some of the applications to their full potential. INF 506 has guided me through an extensive reading list, which has informed my use of various social networking tools far beyond my knowledge prior to the course.
Initially, I found the Facebook platform for our class discussions difficult to navigate, and felt that our contributions lacked some of the depth of the discussion on the university forums. As the course draws to a close, my opinion has changed, we have met on Facebook as colleagues, sharing in ways that I have not seen on the forums - sharing articles, ideas and pictures. I am glad I continued to post, I described it as feeling “exposed”, but was encouraged by the contributions of others.
I had already tried out Delicious before this semester, but didn’t persist, I was determined to make a bigger effort this time around, and while I still find it difficult to use, I have persisted, and found that tagging became easier as I forced myself to consider it logically. I used it when researching my assignment, and found it was far more helpful as an organizational tool than I had anticipated – mostly because of the tagging feature which I had been resistant to initially. I even searched for similar tags, which produced some useful resources.
I still feel that I am not using it to potential, but I am beginning to see how social bookmarking is a useful tool. I have discussed my use of Delicious in this blog on the 27/1/13.
I would like to try a different social bookmarking application, such as diigo, to explore whether it would suit me better.
I have used RSS to set up the beginnings of a personal learning network. Google Reader is embedded in my iGoogle homepage, and feeds from various journals and blogs are delivered there. I am still not reading everything that appears there, and think I need to be even more selective about the things I subscribe to. I look forward to refining this, and now have the skills to do it.
I participated in two guided tours of Second Life with Carol Gerts over the course of the semester. It wasn’t until I watched the youtube videos shared by Northern Beaches Christian School that I really started to understand how exciting virtual worlds could be in education. It is something I would like to explore further.
I have had a blog since 2004, that I work on sporadically. I am not a super blogger, and my posting history is most remarkable for its lack of regularity.
Looking back over the course, it is interesting to see my understanding of social media grow. I appreciate the discipline needed to write regularly in response to my reading. I have also enjoyed following the posts of my colleagues as they wrestle with the same issues, highlighting the social aspect of blogging. Although I acknowledge that I am part of the 90% who do not respond (Dillingham, 2009), other than in their own heads.
I confess to being perplexed by flickr. I set up an account, I’ve used it to source creative commons images. I’ve looked at the photostreams of various schools, and for the most part, I think it is underutilized. Comments are sporadic at best, but often non existent.
I will persist with Flickr for creative commons image, and I would like to try a photo challenge, uploading a photo of something specific every day for a month,
perhaps using the list from this website.
I have started to develop a twitter network, following 20, with 5 followers of my own (although this number ebbs and flows). I am still not a regular tweet-er, though I have come to understand the value of these short bursts of information. Having a more thorough understanding of the function of tagging has been useful.
The research involved in my project gave me renewed confidence in my development as a social networker. My hypothesis was that it wasn’t necessary to utilize every tool available when designing a library website and that judicious selection was more useful. I would extend this to my own use of social media. It is acceptable to not use every social networking tool. At the moment, I am comfortable with Google reader to collect my RSS feeds, Facebook groups to keep me in touch with colleagues, and a blog to articulate my thoughts about what I read and learn. I anticipate that gaining employment in a library will push me to extend that to twitter, and to reaching out to my library community.
I have travelled from using social media for primarily social reasons, to understanding how valuable it is to me as an information professional. Both to engage and enrich student learning, but also to keep up to date and in touch with new developments of interest professionally. I have set up my presence as a librarian online, using a consistent user name across accounts on twitter, delicious and flickr. My PLN is developing, and I use Google Reader to catch my RSS feeds, this is set up to appear on my homepage. I don’t want to be representative of this:
Screenshot from: Lost in Mobile 2002 – 2012.
Brookover, 2/ (2007). Why we blog. Library Journal 11/5/2007. Retrieved January 12, 2013 from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6497263.html
Crawford, W (2008), Libraries and the Social Web. Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, Volume 8, Number 11. Retrieved January 15, 2013 from http://citesandinsights.info/v8i11b.htm.
Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved January 20, 2013 from
Haefele, C. (2008). Culture and social networking sites, Hidden Peanuts. Retrieved January 15, 2013 from http://www.hiddenpeanuts.com/archives/2008/01/17/culture-and-social-networking-sites/
Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved January 21, 2013 from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF
Lost in Mobile (2002 – 2012). Retrieved on February 2, 2013 from http://www.lostinmobile.com/home/if-someone-from-the-1950s-suddenly-appeared-today.html
Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from