Sunday, March 23, 2008

Social Networking Tools

It's been lots of fun exploring social networking tools like MySpace, Facebook, and Linkedin. The questions are:
How can social networking be used by MLA to connect members?
Social networking tools provide an unlimited virtual space for people to connect with each other. MLA can take this advantage to connect its members such as creating online forums, working groups, or interest groups, organizing meetings, setting up recruitment booth, promoting MLA stuff, etc.

Should your library have a Facebook or MySpace page?
Definitely! It provides another venue for libraries and librarians to reach out to their users and promote library resources and library services. As more and more users have presence in Facebook or MySpace and use those tools to communicate with other people, libraries should also have a space or presence there.

Are there privacy concerns for individuals when using social networking sites?
Yes. Privacy is always a big concern in the virtual space. It is effortless for the Internet constantly collect and aggregate personal information. Website managers can easily record and track users' every action, which can lead to legal consequences. Before signing up for each site, make use how personal information is collected and used. Users need to have a second thought what to put and what not to put up there.

What did you like or not like about your experience with Facebook or MySpace?
I like the fact that people, either friends or non-friends, can meet and connect instantly without geographical limitation. What I don't like? It could be addictive and it could be time consuming to build a good profile and interact with people in a regular basis. If my library has a space there, I can't imagine who can invest so much time to monitor its activities and hold users' interest.

Hopefuly, in the near future, monitoring library's social networking sites is included in librarians' daily routine responsibility just like staffing the reference desk and providing library instructions. More research needs to be done as to how libraries can grow and interact with their patrons in the virtual environment.

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