Sunday, May 11, 2008

Value of social software

Value is where you find or make it. While a recent study revealed the "shocking news" that the social site Facebook is mostly a time waster, libraries can still make worthwhile use of it. Writing in her Free Range Librarian blog, Karen Schneider notes:
I realize Facebook has its silly side. ... I also don’t spend a lot of time in Facebook. I ignore actions on Facebook such as sending me “beer,” karma, stuffed beers, or the same dumb video. Once in a while I’ll play a game, but I won’t forward it to my 300+ “friends.” I check in, I tweak my profile, check messages, send a couple out, but I’m not Facebook-obsessed.
Pretty much exactly how I use it, though the game part is off work hours and I feel guilty about ignoring the pinatas and pokes people send me -- I'm not ignoring my friends, just the fun part of Facebook. I'm not very much fun at work, as coworkers will attest. The message part, OTOH, has some real utility for professional purposes, and having a library page allows one more easily updated vector of information about the organization. Facebook has recently announced "Facebook Connect", which raises the ante for serious work.

Closer to home, our InfoSoup catalog has quietly unveiled "community reviews", with an option to write a review on the pages of bib records. It'll be interesting to see if it takes off -- would love to hear more input and feedback from people in the community. What do you think?

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