Social Networking Readings 2…

July 20, 2007

 The best reading from this week was clearly from Farkas, who really summed up the libraries and social networks (or Web 2.0 in general) situation:

 When you decide to put up a library profile on MySpace or Facebook, what is your goal? If it’s to look cool or to make students more aware of the library, don’t bother. A profile that offers nothing but a picture of the library, a blog post or two and a cutesy thing about how we won’t shush you just looks cheesy. I think there is a big difference between “being where our patrons are” and “being USEFUL to our patrons where they are.”

The point should be made while considering implementing and kind of program or service at the library whether or not it serves a specific purpose, and in the case of social networking it can.  I liked the example she brings up about The Crossett Library at Bennington College getting patrons to request items via Facebook, as I think many people would be unaware of acquisition request forms. 

I do agree with Helene Blowers point that Myspace is where “the kids” are these days and it does get a considerable amount of traffic but I don’t think that alone justifies a library getting a site.  Aaron Schmidt’s unqualified enthusiasm of Myspace, even expressing a desire that the ALA set up a site, is a bit premature.  While social networking may be here to stay Myspace could just as easily become the next Friendster, as could Facebook.  It’s like getting a puppy with diabetes, sure he’s cute and playful, but do you want to name him and get all attached?

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