Friday, 29 July 2011

Social Networking Continued

Wow, so I've missed a few weeks, but I have a pretty good excuse: I'm on vacation in Upstate New York. Here's a photo of me at Fillmore Glen State Park to prove it. Despite my absence from London, I am continuing with the 23 Things even while I'm away from work, and, thanks to my jet lag, I'm waking up much earlier than everybody else and have found the time to do it.

LinkedIn: I have not had much experience with it before. Now that I've joined and made a couple of connections with my colleagues, I can definitely see why it's so useful. For example, for me, an internet lurker looking forward in my career, LinkedIn allows me to see what others have done to get where they are. Obviously, its design is based around networking, and it creates a great space for communication in a professional online environment that isn't directly connected to an organization.

In terms Web 2.0 applications relation to academic libraries in particular, I think that LinkedIn's appeal is limited to library staff, and not so much to library users. That's not so much a criticism as an observation. LinkedIn's utility is narrow and well defined: it creates a social space for individuals to interact as professionals.

If you want a place for the library to market itself to its users, especially when many of those users are undergraduates, Facebook is a pretty ideal platform. The profile page can tell users basic information (e.g. address, phone number, opening hours etc.), while posting allows the library to inform its followers of news. Also, it creates a really nice space for the library to share relevant links with its followers and to keep up-to-date with other libraries. Many other libraries 'like' other libraries and related organizations, and that gives the libraries' users a window into other resources they may not have known about. One problem with this function is that a library could potentially 'like' lots of other organizations, and all of these profiles are lumped into one place with no labels that might help users browse them. However, most of the library Facebook profiles that I've looked at have limited their likes.

It would be very exciting indeed if City Library created a Facebook profile. I wonder what its profile pic would be...


  1. This is interesting, several participants really don't like LinkedIn, but you've hit the nail on the head, it's more for us as staff, rather than a tool for us to promote services or to engage with our users. We selected it as a Things becuse it was a professional tool, and we thought some people would be put off if we told them they had to join FB.
    I follow the gropu discussions, have re-connected with people and have provided a recommendation for a former colleague so all useful prof development stuff for me. And there's nothing wrong with usign a web 2 tool for your own CPD!

    Sounds like you had a fab holiday though - lovely picture!

    Rowena 23 Things Team

  2. Interesting post Catie, very impressed by your dedication;-) Yes I'm definitely not engaged with LinkedIn as much as I might be with other tools. One thing that it is useful for is as a connection tool with former students - I get lots of facebook requests from students but usually deny them - too weird.
    Not so sure about facebook and libraries - it's great that so many are successful. Just not sure I'd ever be a fan? Hope you're enjoying being back in NY!