Friday, January 2, 2009

Personality, Interests, and Social Media


Canadian medical librarian Dean Giustini's recent post wondered why not more Canadian librarians were on Twitter. I also have the same feeling here since most of my librarian friends are not on Twitter, either. Dean's post got me to think about whether there is a link between personality and social media. What is social media? I don't quite like the definition from Wikipedia, so I came up with my own version. Social media is composed of all sorts of Web 2.0 tools (e.g., blog, micro-blog, wiki, video, online photo sharing, social networking, and social bookmarking) that people use to interact with each other on the Internet. Social media provides a platform for users to generate content, share information, and communicate with each other.

It has been more than one year since I started exploring and experimenting Web 2.0 tools. I've been a blog reader for over a year. The blogs I subscribe to including those from librarians, library associations, med students, healthcare professionals, library school faculty members, and tech geeks. I'm on Twitter for a year following different people I'm interested in. My observation and experience told me that those who are active on social media have shared some common interests and personalities. I think this connection might explain something as to why some librarians are active while others are not in using social media to interact with library patrons or their peers.

People who are active on social media:
  • Love to share themselves online
  • Enjoy writing
  • Are willing to put effort and spend extra time to embrace new technologies
  • Are literal not conservative
  • Are eager to interact with people online
  • Are not afraid of inviting people into their solitude
Those are the group of people who are more likely to use social media to communicate with others online. Another key is interests. I always believe interests can motivate people to do the impossible. No interests, no motivation, let along participation. Consequently, they would never know the benefits and the goods of those tools and they would not think about applying the tools either to their work or to their personal life. Of course, there are other factors that might be in the way such as lack of time. Again, back to motivation. Interestingly, when people have no motivation doing something, they can easily find 100 excuses not doing it. This is just my personal observation and feelings. Shot me if I'm wrong.

1 comment:

Dean Giustini - blogger said...

Lin,

I agree with you. Some of the definitions of social media are not clear enough. I like yours for its simplicity.

Talk to you soon,
Dean