Monday, May 11, 2009

Facebook Social Networking Software ~ An MLA Report

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On Friday, May 8, I attended MLA hoping to learn more about the many uses of Web 2.0 tools and applications; specifically the Facebook social networking site … and the MLA Annual Conference delivered!

Below is a brief summary that highlights my Facebook education by attending 21 Examples of 21st Century Libraries, the Do-It-Yourself Series: Session II, and Social Software and Intellectual Freedom.

The Good:
Facebook is where it’s at! Libraries should have a goal of becoming its users’ Third Place ~ (First Place being Home and Second Place being Work and/or School). Both the library building and its virtual space should be warm, welcoming, and located in a highly accessible place. According to Andy Kazeniac in Social Networks: Facebook Takes Over Top Spot, Twitter Climbs published on February 9, 2009, Facebook had 1,191,373,339 visits in January, 2009 – becoming the Number 1 Social Networking site. A Library Facebook page is most definitely in a highly accessible online "place".

Great for Library PR! A Library Facebook page is a great way to promote library services and programs.

Facebook is easy. While you do have to open a Facebook Account (which I consider The Bad ~ see below). A library Facebook Page is fun and easy to create.

The Bad:

Privacy: Libraries embrace the users right to privacy. When patrons sign up for a library card, they can be confident that their information will not be shared. Can Facebook (and other social network sites) make the same promise? To view a library’s Facebook page, the user is required to register for a Facebook Account. Should the library, by hosting a Facebook page, be endorsing one social networking site over another?


Develop a Library Social Networking Policy ~ Examples (though a little dated) can be found on the website, What I Learned Today … Social Software Policies.

Sincerely, Janet Eckert, WMRLS

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