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David Lee King

The Social Web and Libraries



I was just doing some blog reading, and that triggered some ideas that I want to do some more thinking about. And YOU get to come along for the ride!

Here’s what I was reading:

First off – I think I like the term “Social Web” better than “Web 2.0.” Why? Web 2.0 is a vague, muddied term. It mixes the social with the uber-geek-techie in ways that is sometimes confusing.

But the Social Web? To me, by the time social web components are being used, the techie part has already been accomplished. The blog is built, the coding has been done, and the framework has been tidied up. It’s all ready to go – it’s ready for people to start connecting with people.

And that’s something that libraries do well – the social. When we’re working the reference desk, answering questions… we’re doing the social. When we’re in a meeting, discussing our programs… we’re doing the social. Having a social focus is a HUGE component of what we do as libraries.

So anyway…  I read the ReadWriteWeb article (which doesn’t really deal with the Social Web in a big way – but they used the term, thus the trigger for me), and then I remembered Sarah’s post on social networking tips. Some of her points touch on the need to be real/human/transparent with our library communities, and provide tips on how to do that.

So – how are you “being social” online? How do you “do” digital community? There’s really no easy answer to that question … but a lot of people are focused on figuring it out, at least in the commercial online world! I think there are some posts there, too. What do you think? What’s the social web all about? How do you connect with patrons online? Why would you even want to do that?

Let’s discuss…

[photo by Max's Pixs']

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://wordsfornerds.wordpress.com/ laura k

    I recently wrote something about how academic libraries (and libraries generally) are all about getting onto this social web thing, but seem uncertain about how to do so. And thanks to one very smart high school student, Kabren Levinson, I thought that, in the true spirit of community, we should really be engaging in conversations with students and patrons to find out where they actually want us on the social web.

    I do think that libraries have a very social role, but especially within universities we forget that it’s worthwhile to engage in conversations with the people we are serving.

  • http://wordsfornerds.wordpress.com laura k

    I recently wrote something about how academic libraries (and libraries generally) are all about getting onto this social web thing, but seem uncertain about how to do so. And thanks to one very smart high school student, Kabren Levinson, I thought that, in the true spirit of community, we should really be engaging in conversations with students and patrons to find out where they actually want us on the social web.

    I do think that libraries have a very social role, but especially within universities we forget that it’s worthwhile to engage in conversations with the people we are serving.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com david lee king

    Laura – exactly! One of the best ways to start engaging with your community is to ask them how they want to do it. Great idea.

    How is that working out? Did you find interesting ways to engage with your community by asking?

  • http://www.kckpl.lib.ks.us/ Mandy

    We’re still working to get our library’s Media Blog (www.kckplmedia.wordpress.com)to play a more “social” role with our patrons.

    In addition to using the blog to highlight our programs and services, we’re also collaborating with local agencies (schools, a history museum, various arts organizations, the YWCA)to provide content that focuses on the community as a whole.

    We’re also featuring patrons in some of our media projects- we created an early literacy video (which was then posted to the blog) starring patrons reading to their children. So the hope is that by using the blog to provide a kind of reflection of our patrons and our community, we can create a space that people take interest and pride in.

    That kind of potential is what’s most interesting about “social web” stuff to me…

  • http://www.kckpl.lib.ks.us Mandy

    We’re still working to get our library’s Media Blog (www.kckplmedia.wordpress.com)to play a more “social” role with our patrons.

    In addition to using the blog to highlight our programs and services, we’re also collaborating with local agencies (schools, a history museum, various arts organizations, the YWCA)to provide content that focuses on the community as a whole.

    We’re also featuring patrons in some of our media projects- we created an early literacy video (which was then posted to the blog) starring patrons reading to their children. So the hope is that by using the blog to provide a kind of reflection of our patrons and our community, we can create a space that people take interest and pride in.

    That kind of potential is what’s most interesting about “social web” stuff to me…

  • http://libraryadmin.wordpress.com/ Rob

    I’ve been reading “Groundswell:Winning in a World Tranformed by Social Technologies” by Charlene Li. She talks about different ways that people interact with the social technologies, which speaks directly to point about asking people what they want and how they want it. I’ve had to return the book because someone else was waiting for it, so don’t have it in front of me and I didn’t get it finished. So my paraphrasing is very loose here, but basically she writes about people who want to respond/critic things, those who only want to read and not interact, etc. As we engage people in the social web, we have to keep in mind that not everyone will be drawn to a blog, etc. in the same way we might be. It’s sort of like learning styles; some people are visual, some auditory and so forth. Some people just like to sit and watch the web being formed and are inspired/enlighted by that alone. Others want to find a strategic thread and pluck it to watch how others react to the vibration. Absolutely, fascinating stuff! Ms. Li approches this from a business standpoint, but I think it is totally applicable to libraries. I may have to just buy this book!

  • http://libraryadmin.wordpress.com Rob

    I’ve been reading “Groundswell:Winning in a World Tranformed by Social Technologies” by Charlene Li. She talks about different ways that people interact with the social technologies, which speaks directly to point about asking people what they want and how they want it. I’ve had to return the book because someone else was waiting for it, so don’t have it in front of me and I didn’t get it finished. So my paraphrasing is very loose here, but basically she writes about people who want to respond/critic things, those who only want to read and not interact, etc. As we engage people in the social web, we have to keep in mind that not everyone will be drawn to a blog, etc. in the same way we might be. It’s sort of like learning styles; some people are visual, some auditory and so forth. Some people just like to sit and watch the web being formed and are inspired/enlighted by that alone. Others want to find a strategic thread and pluck it to watch how others react to the vibration. Absolutely, fascinating stuff! Ms. Li approches this from a business standpoint, but I think it is totally applicable to libraries. I may have to just buy this book!

  • vang

    I personally do believe and see the library as a social networking–application, tool,place, site, etc… especially public libraries are a facebook/myspace or ning site. Everything we do–programs, exhibits, classes or services– in the library leads to connecting with users, making their life easier or assisting them in learning something new.

  • vang

    I personally do believe and see the library as a social networking–application, tool,place, site, etc… especially public libraries are a facebook/myspace or ning site. Everything we do–programs, exhibits, classes or services– in the library leads to connecting with users, making their life easier or assisting them in learning something new.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com/ david lee king

    Laura – exactly! One of the best ways to start engaging with your community is to ask them how they want to do it. Great idea.

    How is that working out? Did you find interesting ways to engage with your community by asking?