Posts filed under ‘Social Web and Social Networks’

What Libraries Can Learn from Facebook

A colleague and I were discussing the recent Facebook TOS kerfuffle and she said she was fascinated by how much privacy people are willing to give away in exchange for a desired experience. I agreed that I am equally fascinated, and that it is vitally important for librarians to be on the vanguard of monitoring these trends, and educating our customers as to the possible risks of sharing too much information.

But I also think that librarians, at times, can be too knee-jerk about privacy issues, and I wonder if while looking at one end of the Facebook dustup (big corporation trampling on privacy rights) we might be missing some important lessons on the other end (big corporation letting customers control their own information in exchange for a highly engaging experience. And Facebook DOES give customers a tremendous, leading edge, amount of control. See: “10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know.)

We all know that people (myself, and probably you included) will share personal information in exchange for a quality experience. We share personal renting and buying habits in exchange for Netflix and Amazon recommendations. We share personal reading habits on GoodReads and LibraryThing to connect with others who share our interests and tastes. We share our credit card numbers with many online vendors in exchange for the convenience of “one-click” ordering.

We know all this, and we personally experience the benefits, but librarians still seem generally loathe to let our customers share their personal information in exchange for anything. We don’t just protect customer privacy, we paternalistically protect it from the customers themselves, rendering them childlike. Our privacy philosophy often reduces down to, “We know better”, or “You can’t be trusted with that–you’ll hurt yourself.”

Our choice to disallow customer control of their own information means that their needs for connection and social networking go unmet, which in turn creates opportunities for entrepreneurial companies like Library Elf, GoodReads, and LibraryThing (created by frustrated library lovers, I wonder?) to come in and fill those needs. Which is great, but why aren’t libraries creating and offering these experiences?

I worry every day about whether libraries will be relevant, three, five, or ten years from now. Unless we start allowing our customers to make decisions about their own personal data, AND start building systems that offer them a social networked experience based on their ability to selectively share their heretofore private info, I fear that libraries will grow increasingly irrelevant to our customers.

February 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm 13 comments

Twitiquette: A Short but Helpful guide to Twittering Conference Meetings

Man oh man was there a lot of twittering going on at ALA midwinter. Ain’t it great that so many librarians are using Twitter to shed light on the decision making going on in Committees and let the rest of the organization know — in real time — what’s getting a thumbs up or a thumbs down, who’s arguing for what, and why.

Revolutionary.

As Karen Schneider brilliantly put it, (ALA) “Council may not be interested in transparency, but transparency is interested in Council.” All good. All good.

Since this radical real-time transparency thing is all still kind of new to some of us I thought a short guide on the etiquette of live twittering of committee business might be helpful:

  1. Twittering the real-time decisions of your committee: GOOD

  2. Twittering snide, insulting, remarks about your fellow committee members while they speak: NOT GOOD
  3. Twittering snide, insulting remarks about your fellow committee members while they speak and marking it with #ala09 hash tag to ensure that the widest possible audience sees your comment: REALLY VERY NOT GOOD

Yes, this really happened. No, I’m not naming names. I can tell you this though: My respect for the committee member that was twitter-slagged remains in tact intact. My respect for the slagger is in the toilet and I’m reaching for the handle.

I’m still deciding how (or if) to address what happened. Any suggestions are welcomed.

Photo courtesy of: http://flickr.com/photos/anndouglas/422445833/

February 3, 2009 at 7:36 am 8 comments

Friday Facebook Fun

Confession: I don’t get Facebook. I try to get it. Really I do. But my experience has been, well, kinda like this:

May 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm 5 comments

What Can Your Facebook Status Do For You?

So, if you’re a facebook user like I am you probably know about the “status updates” feature.

This is a little section on facebook where you, well, update your status. The status can be funny, sad, serious, a joke, for real, etc. You can change it as often as you want, and it shows when you last “updated your status.”

Here is an example of what my page looks like right now:


(Hopefully, Kate, Julie and K.G. won’t mind!)

However, earlier today my status was “Amy needs to buy a new digital camera!”

Which is true.

Here’s where you find out what your facebook status can do for you…

Quick story. I was in Princeton today to run a program that CJRLC held on Open Source with LibLime’s Nicole Engard. Afterward, I had the pleasure of going to lunch with some colleagues (including Janie). On our walk back to the parking garage, I was talking about how I need to go buy a new camera.

My camera died right in the middle of PLA much to my dismay (hence my desperate status update on facebook). Nicole took out her camera to show it to me because she likes it. All of a sudden I heard a great booming voice shout, “Is there an Amy Kearns here?!”

Turning around, I saw our very own ROBERT LACKIE! (Phew! I was scared there for a moment!) We all had a good laugh and then tried to piece together how he had come to be standing right there behind me!

(No, Robert isn’t a stalker.) Apparently, Robert had been walking in a group not far behind us and someone overheard the part about “need to buy a new camera,” and Robert knew my facebook status stated that. Then they heard the part about “mine died at PLA” …. and Robert knew it had to be a LIBRARIAN who needed a new camera! He connected these things together and determined that I was nearby! ;-)

[As best as I can tell, this is basically what happened. Robert, you are free to contribute to this tale!]

So, you see, your online facebook status can have an effect in the “real” world! I update my facebook status on a fairly regular basis, and I know that sometimes people do notice it and sometimes do send me a message about it, but I usually really just do it for myself in a way. It never occurred to me that someone might actually apply it to the “real” world (which, I suppose can be good or bad, but that’s another post).

This is a silly and small example that didn’t end up having any great consequences (other than the fact that I got to see Robert, have a good laugh, and have everyone see me nearly jump out of my skin upon hearing my name called out like that!)

But, you never know when something like this may happen and have bigger implications.

For example, Nicole added her own story telling us that she once gave a colleague a ride after seeing their facebook status updated as needing a ride and being nearby! Others probably have similar stories of real life encounters with facebook status updates.

I’m always interested and pleased when my “virtual” life and my “real” live overlap. Especially if it means seeing Robert! :-)

So, what will YOUR facebook status do for YOU?

April 2, 2008 at 9:04 pm 3 comments

What Can Your Facebook Status Do For You?

So, if you’re a facebook user like I am you probably know about the “status updates” feature.

This is a little section on facebook where you, well, update your status. The status can be funny, sad, serious, a joke, for real, etc. You can change it as often as you want, and it shows when you last “updated your status.”

Here is an example of what my page looks like right now:


(Hopefully, Kate, Julie and K.G. won’t mind!)

However, earlier today my status was “Amy needs to buy a new digital camera!”

Which is true.

Here’s where you find out what your facebook status can do for you…

Quick story. I was in Princeton today to run a program that CJRLC held on Open Source with LibLime’s Nicole Engard. Afterward, I had the pleasure of going to lunch with some colleagues (including Janie). On our walk back to the parking garage, I was talking about how I need to go buy a new camera.

My camera died right in the middle of PLA much to my dismay (hence my desperate status update on facebook). Nicole took out her camera to show it to me because she likes it. All of a sudden I heard a great booming voice shout, “Is there an Amy Kearns here?!”

Turning around, I saw our very own ROBERT LACKIE! (Phew! I was scared there for a moment!) We all had a good laugh and then tried to piece together how he had come to be standing right there behind me!

(No, Robert isn’t a stalker.) Apparently, Robert had been walking in a group not far behind us and someone overheard the part about “need to buy a new camera,” and Robert knew my facebook status stated that. Then they heard the part about “mine died at PLA” …. and Robert knew it had to be a LIBRARIAN who needed a new camera! He connected these things together and determined that I was nearby! ;-)

[As best as I can tell, this is basically what happened. Robert, you are free to contribute to this tale!]

So, you see, your online facebook status can have an effect in the “real” world! I update my facebook status on a fairly regular basis, and I know that sometimes people do notice it and sometimes do send me a message about it, but I usually really just do it for myself in a way. It never occurred to me that someone might actually apply it to the “real” world (which, I suppose can be good or bad, but that’s another post).

This is a silly and small example that didn’t end up having any great consequences (other than the fact that I got to see Robert, have a good laugh, and have everyone see me nearly jump out of my skin upon hearing my name called out like that!)

But, you never know when something like this may happen and have bigger implications.

For example, Nicole added her own story telling us that she once gave a colleague a ride after seeing their facebook status updated as needing a ride and being nearby! Others probably have similar stories of real life encounters with facebook status updates.

I’m always interested and pleased when my “virtual” life and my “real” live overlap. Especially if it means seeing Robert! :-)

So, what will YOUR facebook status do for YOU?

April 2, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Meme: Twitter is Like…

I started a little meme on Twitter on Thursday, which David Free picked up on and posted about over on his blog, David’s Random Stuff. I thought I’d add a little (brief) backstory and fill in some of the tweets that David missed. (One of the interesting things about Twitter of course, is that depending on who we follow or who follows us, we all saw – or didn’t see- different responses. )

Like David, I’m not naming names, but I thought it would be interesting to add timestamps to give everyone an idea of how this played out chronologically. I think there were some brilliant comments, so I hope the authors step forward and take credit.

Brief backstory: Janie Hermann and I were chatting about the lack of recent posts on LG and Janie jokingly suggested that maybe Twitter, the great sucker of time, was to blame. I threw out the comment that “Twitter is like therapy… without the progress.” Janie suggested (dared?) that I share that thought on Twitter. I thought it might make for an interesting meme so seconds later (at 11:10) I threw it out there to the 50 or so people in my twitterverse. This is what transpired:

  • NEW TWITTER MEME: TWITTER IS LIKE… (I’ll go first) Twitter is like therapy… without the progress. (11:10)
  • Twitter is like ADD without the Ritalin (11:19)
  • Twitter is like Jaiku…. I’m bad at analogies (11:23)
  • Twitter is like whippits (11:24)
  • Twitter is like a celestial bulletin board. (11:24)
  • Twitter is like a crack addiction without all the mugging, prostitution, and running from the cops. (11:26)
  • Twitter is also like Paris Hilton: slutty and unfortunate. 11:26)
  • Twitter is like your drunk uncle at Christmas, sometimes you want the madness to stop, but you still wanna see where it’s going. (11:30)
  • Twitter is like passing notes during class. (11:31)
  • Twitter is like [name redacted] – You don’t like it until you try it (11:32)
  • twitter is like the background noise of the universe, kind of a low murmur that lets you know you’re not alone (aww!) (11:37)
  • Twitter is like cheating on your blog (11:38)
  • Twitter is like crack for procrastinators. (11:41)
  • Twitter is like sex without a condom. Sure it’s fun, but you will probably regret it later. (11:42)
  • Twitter is like…. so. y’know. … What was I doing? (11:43)
  • Twitter is like compressed infobursts, effin ay! (11:45)
  • Heck, Twitter *is* compressed infobursts (11:45)
  • Twitter is like an inside joke: no one gets why you do it unless they do it (11:46)
  • Twitter is like sucking out my braaains… (11:46)
  • Twitter is like being stuck in a massive kaleidoscope- ooh something shiny! (11:56)
  • Twitter is like drinks with @dwfree – makes you feel all nice and warm inside (12:04)
  • Twitter is like drunk sex w/ a friend: not nearly as intimate as you expected it to be, but still sexy & satisfying. (12:04)
  • Twitter is like drunk sex w/[the person who just posted about drunk sex.] (12:09)
  • Twitter is like being in a room with your “friends”, saying something really loud, and hoping that someone hears you. (12:18)
  • Twitter is like having 10 IM windows open at once. (12:27)
  • George Costanza: “It’s like going to the bathroom in front of a lot of people and not caring.” Jerry: [pause] “It’s not like that at all.” (12:28)
  • Twitter is, like, another reason I, like, totally, looove innovation (12:39)
  • Twitter is like a party in my phone! (12:39)
  • Twitter is, like, totally awesome. (ok really i’m done. lunch over) (12:43)
  • Twitter is like the sound a tree makes when it falls in the forest — whether anyone is there or not. (12:48)
  • Twitter is quotidian packet hops (12:51)
  • Twitter is like finding out your favorite candy bar now comes in smaller easier to eat packaging…for free (12:55)
  • Twitter is like is like a bus full of crazy people talking to themselves. Except you get to choose who is on the bus. (1:12)
  • (Twitter is instant gratification.) (1:12)
  • Twitter is like a dry skin condition. It itches, and the more you scratch it, the more it itches. (But it feels soooo good to scratch…) (1:22)

December 9, 2007 at 9:40 pm 6 comments

Participation in a 2.0 World–"Be the change you want to be"


“Participatory. Open. Playful. Transparent Make these part of your motto, your vision, and build services and staff with them in mind. My hat is off to the libraries that create teams—made up of employees from all levels—for planning, that allow staff members to blog about those plans, and that take time to experiment and play with new technologies and tell their users exactly what they are up to. We can’t control every little thing that happens in our libraries, and really, should we even want to?” -Michael Stephens’
(from 2007 LTR Introduction, see below)

I love reading about and reports by Michael Stephens related to teaching librarians and others about Web 2.0 technologies, especially since I, too, am a professor and librarian, excited about the impact that Web 2.0/social software is having on individuals, not to mention entire libraries and their communities. Michael Stephens’ Library Technology Report (LTR) from July/August 2006 (Vol. 42, Issue 4) on Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software (now considered Part 1, I guess!) was one of my favorite reads last year–full of practical tips, tools, and techniques on how to integrate these types of tools into our library world.

Well, Michael Stephens has gone and done it again, this time, with “Part 2.” Michael stated that he wanted to focus this time on the best practices associated with the tools and trends for libraries by providing a “bigger picture instead of a list of each specific tool.” I found this quite useful, and I highly recommend reading his current September/October 2007 Library Technology Report (Vol. 43, Issue 5 — available for purchase from ALA and available full text from several databases, such as Factiva and Academic Search Premier), entitled Web 2.0 & Libraries, Part 2: Trends and Technologies. As he states in his recent blog post about these tools and technologies, knowing about all of this will be helpful for “planning, buy in and evaluation. So use these ideas as a guide to move forward with whatever tool you’re adding to your 2.0 cadre: a library blog, IM reference, or a wiki. Remember, Web 2.0 tools won’t solve all your problems, but you may find some solutions that will make your work-life easier.”

I just got back from a two-week leave, helping my son get established in his new life in the Army National Guard in Arkansas since returning from the Middle East a few weeks ago. I used several social software tools to stay in contact with him while he was gone. And although nothing can top my excitement of seeing him, in person, back safe in the U.S. after being gone for over a year, I think Michael’s new report was pretty high up on my list of favorites last week. I think you will love this report as much as I did/still do.

So, go on–”be the change you want to be.” (emphasis/bold mine)–I plan on doing just that, this time right at my own library, so get ready Rider University Libraries. And thanks again, Michael.
-Robert

Technorati Tags: Michael Stephens, collaboration, communication, Library Garden, library 2.0, social software, web 2.0

October 24, 2007 at 7:16 am 1 comment

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