Overall, I am really glad I took this course. Before the course, my social media experience was mainly limited to Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. I learned how to create a wiki, and that this is actually very easy to do. For some reason, I thought it would be more complicated but anyone can do it, and as I learned doing the final project, wikis can be useful for group work. I also didn’t know how easy it was to create a map mash-up.
I’m not sure how much I will use tagging and bookmarking. I have not logged in to my Delicious account since I created. It seems fun and I can see it having some purpose but right now it is just something else to log in to. I don’t bookmark a lot of websites, so I don’t have much trouble keeping track of the ones I use most frequently. I like tags for my own use but I don’t really like seeing other people’s tags. Sometimes it can be interesting to see what tags someone gave a site but it can look really cluttered if there are too many tags. I also don’t have any use for QR codes at this time as I do not have a smartphone.
I see social media as another way for libraries to promote themselves. Libraries of all types must be where there users are, and sites like Facebook and Twitter can be good ways to reach them. That being said, the assignments in this course demonstrated that just having a social media presence is not enough. There needs to be some purpose to it and it must be updated and maintained properly, with some kind of policy in place. Each library must decide which tools to use and why. I do think this course will be useful for me when I begin my job search. In my co-op interviews, many of the employers asked about social media, so I know firsthand it is something potential employers will be looking for. The weekly assignments were a great way to get us actually using the social media tools we were reading about, such as tagging sites in Delicious, using TweetDeck or editing a Wikipedia page. For me, that was the most useful and most interesting part of the course.
I have to admit, I am not a gamer. I didn’t have video games growing up and can probably count on one hand the number of times I played video games at a friend’s house. In recent years I have experimented with things like Guitar Hero and karaoke games (like the Glee game for Wii!) but that is about it. Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them this, as if I was deprived as a child or something, but I honestly don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I don’t really play computer games often, but I did go through a Sims phase while procrastinating from writing essays during my undergrad. I haven’t tried Second Life, but to me it kind of seems like a modified version of the Sims in which you can interact with other people whose characters you didn’t create.
All that being said, I do think games have some value for libraries. Having a gaming night can help bring teens to the library, especially if they can borrow the games. While they’re there, why not offer some book, movie, or music suggestions from the collection that have similar themes as the game? I also think that games can have some educational value. Many require strategy and there is reading involved both in terms of instructions and in reading strategy guides. As for virtual worlds like Second Life, a library could establish a presence there for answering reference questions, but I wonder how many people would go there. How many people in a given library’s community are going to be on Second Life and of those that are, how many know how to find the library and would actually do so? If Second Life is complicated to learn then I don’t see many people using it to connect with the library, and setting up and maintaining a library presence might not be worth the time it would take.
Even though I am not much of a gamer, I think the “Find the Future” game sounds really cool. Maybe I am a dork but I think it would be awesome to go on a scavenger hunt at New York Public Library. I also like that they are making a book about the experience. What a great way to get people involved, both in person and online. If more libraries did this I might have to get one of those pesky smartphones after all.