Resources & References
The Next Step
> Social Networking
What is social networking?
Social networking is the ability to form communities where individuals share similar interests, background, or simply explore similar interests. One of the common ways to form a social network is through a social networking website.
Social networking websites are those that provide services such as send emails, instant message, post comments, and develop web content. MySpace, Facebook, and Librarything are just a few examples of the most popular social networking websites that are available on the Internet.
Social networking websites require users to submit personal data (i.e. gender, age, interests, activities, favorite television show, movies, music, education level, etc) to the website. The website in return stores the information on the user's profile. The profile can then be shared among members of the website. Some social networking websites are free and the user can immediately start socializing by creating an account. Other websites require a membership fee as well as the creation of a user account.
MySpace is one of the predominant social network websites for teens. The average MySpace user spends up to two hours on MySpace, according to Nielsen ratings. (PEW, 1). MySpace is so popular among teen users that its search function ranks the sixth among all research search engines (Evans, 1).
Learn the background information and how to use MySpace by visting this website: How Stuff works: MySpace
View the following Tutorials from Youtube that will show you
step how to set up an account on MySpace and how to update your profile:
Set up profile MySpace
MySpace layout tutorial
Well, because libraries are the original social network! For centuries, libraries have been a place where people gathered to share and communicate with one another. Social networking websites are the 21st century way for communicating via mass email, online bulletin boards, calendars to a large group of people. Furthermore, "social networking websites could enable librarians and patrons not only to interact, but to share and change resources dynamically in an electronic medium" (Maness, 6). Every library has a large population of users who never enter the library due to a variety of reasons. By having a social networking website, the library is opening its doors to those who are comfortable with technology and who want library services 24/7. Let's a take a closer look at what people share on a social networking websites. According to the an online survey put out by OCLC from over 6,100 respondents, ages 14 to 84, from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the United States:
Still not convinced? Check out a compilation of reasons submitted by Youth Services Librarians throughout the U.S. on why social networking websites are important to libraries: YALSA's Compilation of 30 Positive Uses of Social Networking Blog Postings
There are many libraries, mostly academic and public, who have individual MySpace pages. Libraries use MySpace pages to make users aware of new items (books, music, movies) that are available in the library, promote their reference services by having a link to their virtual reference if applicable, and promote their library events in the bulletin board section of their MySpace page. Let's take a look at some MySpace pages:
This website looks like it was made by one of the public library's teen advisory board. Notice how the interests sections are used to promote the library's collection. The use of a music clip gives the library a personality. The layout is easy to read and attractive to the eye.
This website was created to promote the university's library.
slide show and a "Big Ten Clip" gives the website a personality.
Click on these links to find other libraries that are taking advantage of MySpace: List of Libraries and other MySpace pages that are targeted to teens MySpace and YALSA's list of Libraries using MySpace, blogs, Flicker, delicious, and podcasts
MySpace isn't your cup of tea? No problem! There are dozens of other social networking websites that your library could use with their teen patrons. View the examples below:
Ning.com is another social networking website that libraries can create for their specific patrons. These social networks can be marked private, requiring a password to gain access. http://rosellelibrary.ning.com/
Rosalie Public Library created this social networking site for their patrons and community members who can interact online with one another by sharing book recommendations, promote library events, etc.
Librarything.com is a social networking website that allows its users to catalog their own personal library and share their love of books with other patrons. Libraries can use Librarything to encourage their patrons to help tag their OPAC in order to find items in their library easily. Libraries can also conduct a virtual book clubs on Librarything by setting up discussion questions on the group talk feature.
The Fitchburg Public Library welcomes their patrons to include their personal library collection on to LibraryThing as well as find similar books that the library has. Patrons don't have to wait in line at the reference desk in order to get book recommendations. Now, book recommendations and discussion are just a click away!
Another way to use social networking websites is to facilitate learning. While students are using social networking websites, they are applying their reading and writing skills by creating a profile, posting comments on a blog, searching for content with the search engine, as well as learn how to work in an online community. Take a look at the YALSA's Social Networking Toolkit for School and Public Libraries for more ideas of how to incorporate information literacy skills into social networking websites.
Many libraries are concerned that social networking websites are not secure enough for their students due to online predators and privacy issues. The current issue is the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA). The DOPA is proposed legislation ostensibly aimed at protecting children from online predators. The DOPA to withold federal funding from libraries who refuse to restrict social networking websites such as MySpace and Amazon in their libraries. To learn more about the DOPA and how libraries are fighting this issue, visit the websites below:
This is a pdf file that offers basic information on DOPA by the ALA.
Tech Law Journal gives a simplified version of the proposed legislation.
Includes latest information on DOPA and possible effects on
schools and libraries.
ALA Online Social Networking and Intellectual Freedom
Why the Deleting Online Predators Act Won't Delete
CNBC segment on Privacy issues with MySpace and other social networks
Teens, Privacy, and Online Social Networks