- Define social networking
Social networking is the term used to describe the way digital spaces are used by people to form or join groups to communicate and share content with other users. Generally a means of informal communication, some groups of users may know each other in the real world, for example, friends and family members who use social networks to stay in touch with each other to share news, photographs, videos and other media. Many other online communities are built by like-minded people who may never have met in real life but share common interests and interact in the virtual world. Users generally create an online profile and take the opportunity to widen their networks by inviting others to join and participate in their networks.
- Social networking technologies used
I have participated in social networking for around eight years; initially joining two or three different Yahoo! Groups when I was a stay at home mum to learn more about the hobbies I was interested in. Through these groups I was able to interact with like-minded people from around Australia and the world and was able to obtain information from many people with the knowledge and expertise I would not have had access to otherwise.
Until very recently I have stubbornly held onto using a dial-up internet connection at home and only just upgraded my technological capabilities when I decided to take on the INF206 course. So although I have had My Space and Facebook accounts for some time they have lain dormant because I haven’t had the technology to keep up with my friends.
We’ve had a blog at work for a couple of years now and I sincerely believe that for a blog to work and be interesting, it has to be updated regularly. We have a roster and take turns at creating posts and aim to post mainly about library related news and events. Comments and feedback from teaching staff and students who have visited our blog say they’ve found the posts to be informative, which is encouraging. Being able to view ‘site stats’ is also helpful to us in the library as it gives us the opportunity to see which posts have been the most popular and also relate that back to how and where we have been promoting the blog.
We have not, to date, been able to set up a Facebook account at work due to the fact that our conduct and behaviour online are supposed to reflect the codes of practice and ethical standards that we are bound by as employees – so it has been a bit of a no-go area so far, however there has been talk recently that the Institute is about to launch a Facebook page, so we may be able to do the same for the library too. Two years ago the Institute had firewalls in place so the students were unable to access their social networks online, however the policy has been revoked, due no doubt to an avalanche of requests, and now when looking up from my desk at work I often see every student in the library using a PC is ‘Facebooking’.
- Expectations of INF206
I’m really looking forward to doing this course. Not least, because I will have six weeks vacation over December and January which gives me the luxury of being able to immerse myself in learning about the technology and tools used for social networking. Since starting my degree course three years ago I have been surprised to learn that I’m excited by Web 2.0 technologies, where technology is going and the fact that we are on the cutting edge of new technologies such as cloud computing and the semantic web. Also, I like being part of a profession where people are implementing these technologies to keep our libraries current and relevant to our users. So, although I haven’t been a huge user of social networks in the past, I’m looking forward to giving it all a go and then taking what I’ve learnt back into the workplace so I can share that knowledge with others.
Oh, and of course, if I make a few new friends along the way, that will be a bonus!