This has been an amazing journey of discovery. I chose this subject because I enjoyed social networking [read I was addicted to Facebook]. I also wanted evidence to present to the leadership of why we should be incorporating Web 2.0 technologies at the library I work at and to develop the skills to be able to implement them. This is how it turned out.......
My development as a social networker
This subject gave me the opportunity to discover new social networking sites and to experiment with different features in familiar ones. I discovered that there is a social network for almost every hobby and have joined Cake Central for cake decoration. I discovered that Pinterest is more than a place to store pretty pictures and that it is a social bookmarking site.
I joined social networks that I had dismissed such as Twitter and have discovered that a lot can be said in 140 characters! Most startling for me is that I have enjoyed my experiences in Second Life. I have wandered around seeing some of the sites, interacting with objects and people and going shopping. If I had a better graphics card and faster computer who knows what could happen.......
I am more confident and purposeful in the way I use social networking sites and am cross-promoting my social networking profiles on other sites. I now actively look for places to collaborate and create content on my social networking sites such as collaborative boards on Pinterest. I have become more aware of security risks online, despite this I still feel compelled to share more of myself on my social networks.
Implications for my development as an information professional
As I work in a public library, I have purposely focused my learning on public libraries and observing best practice by public libraries on social networking sites.
Before staring this course I was impatient to jump into Web 2.0 and frustrated because the library I work in had no plants to introduce Web 2.0 technologies to provide services to patrons. The turning point for me was reading Meredith Frakas post “The essence of Library 2.0. It reminded me that the point of any library service is services that are focused on the needs of users, and that it is pointless to maintain or use social networking services if they are not the best ways to meet the needs of patrons.
I also learned that there is a lot involved in setting up social networking for libraries before even considering which technologies, such as polices. Especially relevant to me were polices about user-generated content, and planning in advance what the library expects from users and how they will respond. I am a little disappointed that this process hasn't even started at my library, so it is going to be a while before social networking technologies are implemented.
This course has made me want to strive to be 'Librarian 2.0'. Partridge, Lee and Munro suggest eight key areas for Librarian 2.0: technology; learning and education; research and practice; communication skills; collaboration and teamwork; user-focussed; business savvy; and certain personality traits (2010, p.325-329). I feel that some of these areas are traditional librarian skills which I possess and some of these skills this course is helping me to acquire. The area that I really lack in, is technology. I am semi-aware of changing trends but I have shied away from technology or let my husband deal with it. I don't even have a mobile phone. Discovering from my post on changing trends on Are you 4.0? that texting is becoming the most common form of communication and that by 2020 most people will access the internet via mobile devices makes me realize that to be Librarian 2.0, I need to hop onto the technology train.
One of my main objectives for this course was to learn how to market the library on social networks. I realize that I had the wrong focus. Social networking technologies are for developing relationships with patrons and getting them to participate and collaborate with the library in order to better meet the their needs. When patrons feel part of the library in this setting, they will promote the library.
This course has allowed me to connect with resources that will continue to help me in my as a social networking librarian. It introduced me to blog writers like Meredith Frakas and Stephen Abram. I am following libraries that have good social networking practices on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I feel that I am on my way to setting up some good resources to support me on my professional social networking adventure.
Partridge, H., Lee, J., & Munro, C. (2010). Becoming "Librarian 2.0": The Skills, Knowledge, and Attributes Required by Library and Information Science Professionals in a Web 2.0 World (and Beyond). Library Trends, 59(1-2), 315-335.