CIL 2009: Social Network Profile Management

Speaker: Greg Schwartz

Who are you online? Identity is what you say about you and what others say about you. However, it’s more than just that. It includes the things you buy, the tools you use, the places you spend your time, etc.

You do not own your online identity. You can’t control what people find out about you, but you can influence it.

  1. Own your user name. Pick one and stick to it. Even better if you can use your real name. (checkusernames.com)
  2. Join the conversation. Develop your identity by participating in social networks.
  3. Listen. Pay attention to what other people are saying about you.
  4. Be authentic. Ultimately, social networking is about connecting your online identity to your in-person identity.

Speaker: Michael Porter

MP was the project manager for the social tools on WebJunction. It’s designed to be for librarians and library staff.

If you are representing your organization online, be yourself, but also be sensitive to how that could be perceived. Share your library success stories!

Speaker: Sarah Houghton-Jan

Library online identities should be created with a generic email address, should be up-to-date, and should allow comment and interaction with users. Keep the tone personable.

Don’t use multiple identities. Make sure that someone is checking the contact points. You’ll get better results if you disperse the responsibility for library online identities across your institution rather than relying on one person to manage it all.

Speaker: Amanda Clay Powers

People have been telling their stories for a long time, and online social networks are just another tool for doing that. Some people are more comfortable with this than others. It’s our role to educate people about how to manage their online identities, however, our users don’t always know that librarians can help them.

On Facebook, you can manage social data by creating friends lists. This functionality is becoming more important as online social networks grow and expand.

twitter snobbery or basic info management?

A post by Greg Schwartz on his Open Stacks blog directed me to a post by Mitch Joel on his Six Pixels of Separation blog, and after reading it, I have to say, “Ditto.” Except for the number of followers & following, and the bit about Twitter on a Blackberry, my experience and reasoning is similar to Joel’s.

I started off on Twitter with a small handful of connections, mainly from the same organization. Their interest fizzled out quickly, but it left me poised for the Great Librarian Twitter Invasion of ’07. Soon, I was following and being followed by more and more people. When my following number hit triple digits and the rate of tweets increased to several per minute, I knew I had to do something to keep Twitter from taking over my life.

As an experiment, I went public with my tweets for Computers in Libraries, and I have left them that way ever since. Periodically, I will go through and weed out those that I follow, mainly keeping people I know in real life (or have a deeper online connection) or people I simply want to keep tabs on (mainly celebrities like Wil Wheaton and Jonathan Coulton). I still get far too many tweets per day to keep on top of everything. On the up side, anyone can follow me if they wish, and I don’t have to follow them in return.

Regarding the @ reply thing… Like Joel, I try to refrain from @-ing too often. My followers are not all from the same group of people who would care about what I’d have to @ about, and to save them the trouble of wading through irrelevant tweets, I send direct messages instead. I only wish more of the folks I follow would be as considerate, particularly when their replies make no sense out of context.

librarians blogging about librarian blogs

Go figure! Greg Schwartz of Open Stacks and Steven M. Cohen of LibraryStuff are collaborating on a blog that is all about librarian & library created blogs. Schwartz already maintains the librarian weblog category of dmoz, so it makes sense that he would be involved a blog of this nature. Now I have another blog to add to my RSS agregator!

portable information technology

Yesterday, Open Stacks author Greg Schwartz wrote about smart tags being used for books so that wireless phone users could point their phone at the book and call up information from the OPAC or websites like Amazon.com, and that got me thinking. My library Dean came back from ALA fired up about a new technology in barcoding called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Right now it’s a hot topic among consumer advocacy and privacy groups, but the technology has been slowly creeping into libraries through technologies like self-checkout systems and collection inventories.

Personally, I’m divided on the issue. I think that libraries will likely use this technology responsibly by doing things like turning off the tags after they have been legitimately checked out so that they will not be able to track where the book is physically (except for the information in the patron record, of course). I do have some concerns regarding commercial use of the tags. I understand the security issues, but if the tags aren’t automatically turned off when the item is purchased, much like when the ink tag is removed from an item of clothing, then it does pose some questions about consumer privacy.

As for Mr. Schwartz’s wish for smart tags in books that talk to wireless phones, I expect that it shouldn’t be long before someone develops a technology that will facilitate the communication between RFID and smart tags.