Social Networks Readings 1…

July 20, 2007

My own feelings towards social networking sites are ambiguous and for personal use they really aren’t my thing.  I find they create very skewed and bizarre new social practises and pressures that I can live without.  However, my personal bias would not stop me from considering the potential benefits that sites like these can have in a library setting.  I think it would be preaching to the choir though for me to discuss the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), which seems more about pandering to the Republican party base than actually trying to protect children in a real way.

I think the article makes a good point by bringing up the issue of class and internet access and what DOPA would mean for them.  . “Already, you have a gap between kids who have 10 minutes of Internet access a day at the public library and kids who have 24-hour-a-day access at home.”  If there was real concern about predatory or bullying activities taking place via these networks then, as Henry Jenkins points out, there should be some commitment to educating youth on safe practices.

I like the idea brought up in the presentation that Facebook can be used to search a library’s OPAC as well as journal article databases and as a forum.  However, I am uncertain how patrons will embrace libraries on Facebook any more than students welcome the idea of professors on it, as brought up in the article by Anne Hewitt and Andrea Forte.  The study that the article undertook found that  “Many students indicated that the student/faculty relationship should remain professional and should not be familiar or sociable”.  Also Marco made a good point in his blog citing that that “people fit the technology in to their culture more than technology dominating culture.”  Though I disagree with the Wellman article’s assertion about the development with the superhighway and suburban sprawl.  While the development of sububrbia in the 1950s and 1960s had many interating factors mostly involving race and class, I think it was an example of a technological development that exacbated already existing social divisions and tensions.  Some highways were even purposefully designed to not allow busses from inner cities to travel on  them.  I’m not comparing super-highways to something as relatively innocuous as facebook, I just think that with each new technology we must understand what impacts they may have given the already existing social and economic dynamics of our society.

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