23 Things, Thing 16

by Flickr user escapetowisconsin

Thing 16 focusses on Facebook and the use of the social networking site by libraries and other library-related people and companies. I find that if you still do not have a Facebook account then you’re either really behind or really ahead and have realised the privacy issues and have jumped ship! Either way, I think Facebook is a whole mishmash of controversy and intrigue.

I personally started using Facebook when it was only for university students. It was ours. We could set up meetings and activities within the student body, connect with people on your course (if there were more than 200 of you, it helped!) and much more. Then it went public and in came Farmville et al., oversharing of information and information harvesting by bots and spammers. Needless to say, since the “good old days” I have become more and more irriated with what Facebook has become.

Even so, I still can appreciate the activity/interest group creation capabilities that it offers and with things such as the e-books@cambridge Facebook group, I can get all my information and news updates in one place rather than having to sift through a billion different e-mails and e-newsletters containing the same information. It is interesting to see how the spread of information and the raising of awareness of different company and individual profiles has rocketed with the use of Facebook, and I accept it as the socio-political animal that it has become.

As librarian, we have to keep ahead of what the “young people” are used to in their Sixth Form years before they come to university and how we can reflect that in the services that we provide. Now I personally believe that there can sometimes be a fine line between connecting with the younger reader and selling out completely by offering too much “cool” tech. I mean, you would not expect to see a library on MySpace nowadays would you? We need to be extremely careful of what tech we choose to use to promote our libraries and to gain new and effective readership. If we sign up to too much then there can be an over-saturation of information and if we sign up to the wrong sort of stuff then our hopes of outreach could epically backfire.

I’m a big fan of the humble facebook group/fan group for a library but I do feel that should offers links and portals to the actual library itself that students can explore and encourage them to come in and visit the people behind the keyboards once in a while.

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