The Social Network

The Social Network might not have won Best Picture at the Oscars, but there is no denying that Facebook has changed the way people communicate. I sometimes find it invasive having all these “friends,” most of whom I never actually talk to, seeing photos of me and knowing what I am up to, though I do use privacy limits to restrict certain content. I probably don’t care about 80% of what I read in my Newsfeed but I am still on Facebook. Why? Because if I become one of those 10% of women who don’t have a Facebook account, I might miss out on social events planned on Facebook or be left out of important conversations.

I read Agosto and Abbas’s article on teens and social networking with interest. I find it kind if appalling that some libraries would block teens from using Facebook, especially as studies have shown that teens do protect their privacy online. I understand the concerns about safety and minors, but I don’t think blocking something is the answer. Why not have a workshop to show teens how to stay safe online, or make a YouTube video or podcast that can be posted on the teen section of the library website? Using social media tools to educate teens might be a better way to reach them.

Park’s article pointed out that undergraduates in their early 20s were quick to adopt new technologies and were comfortable using them, but had a short attention span. Libraries should keep this in mind when trying to use social media tools to connect with young users. What is popular today might not be tomorrow (hello, MySpace!) so libraries must be careful as to how they invest their time and energy.

Since I am already on Facebook, I decided to join LinkedIn. I don’t think very many people I know use this site, perhaps because it is more geared toward the private sector. I find using this site challenging because I feel like it is necessary to be truthful about the information I provide (such as using my real name) because it is employment-focused, but I am not sure how much personal information I want to share. I will keep playing around with my profile and see if I am able to find anyone I know on this site.

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