Category Archives: Social Networking

Social Networking Literacy For Librarians

friendfeedToday, I attended a METRO Science Librarian Special Interest Group lecture hosted by Joe Murphy, a science librarian at Yale University. The subject was Social Network Literacy for Librarians, and there were about 20 (or more) librarians there from public, non-profit and academic libraries.

Joe Murphy is an exceedingly smart young guy, and he’s on the cutting edge. He’s a social media proponent to the nth degree, and he says rather controversial things in a matter-of-fact kind of way. He says things that perhaps we’re too afraid to say, like “Print is dead,” and (as a librarian, no less) “There is no time during my day that I ever come in contact with a book.” He suggested that librarians carry around smart phones and get rid of desk-top computers. He mentioned that he got repremanded at work for fiddling around with his iPhone during meetings, but he was just taking notes. He doesn’t use pen and paper.

The last bit about using his iPhone in meetings is an interesting illustration of how some of the lecture went down – there was resistance to what Murphy had to say. A couple of people brought up the digital divide and said that they’d have trouble implementing social networking, and making assumptions about users’ technological savvy. One mentioned that “undergrads don’t use Twitter.”

Some salient issues that were brought up during this two-hour event that evolved into more of a discussion than a lecture:

  • Librarians need to become early adopters and lead in information technology. The time for meeting users where they are is over.
  • If librarians do not adopt social networking skills, libraries will become less and less relevant–Murphy says that in many ways, they already are irrelevant.
  • Murphy loves the character restrictions of Twitter and expects all of his information to reach him in short, blurb-like bursts. Is this what information-glutted users are also expecting?
  • @val_forrestal, who was in the audience and has given her own Twitter in Libraries lectures, said that Twitter is a great way to show that librarians can use their special skills to be information filterers in this era of information overload. This is a wonderful strength to have these days, and librarians can use this skill in new and innovative ways with social media.  

Important links:

Murphy’s ACRL Paper, on which this lecture was based.

Etherpad notes from today’s meeting

A summary of today’s meeting

Follow Joe Murphy on Twitter: @libraryfuture


What, Really? Wow!

I’ve been away from the blog for over a month now. My sincere apologies–I took a little summer break. While I wasshocked gone, there have been several things that I’ve seen and wanted to write about, but I just didn’t. So, here’s a quick little compendium of exciting items that have occurred that deserve more real estate than I’m giving them, but I’m sure enough has been written already without my adding too much hackneyed commentary. So, here goes:

1. Razorfish (which I just discovered today has been sold to Publicis!) has just published a fantastic study on how social media influences purchasing decisions. As far as I know, this is the first of its kind and will likely be discussed by marketers for years to come. Especially marketers looking to understand how social media can be measured. You can access the study by clicking here.

2. On the same tip, AltimeterCharlene Li’s  blog, has recently reported the release of a study that Li co-wrote with Wetpaint. The study shows the correlation between social media engagement and a brand’s financial performance. This is another one for the history books, and another one that marketers can point to when trying to make a case to management for getting involved in this new media space. 

3. Free, by Chris Anderson was released online for the low, low price of…well, guess. Learn more about the book by listening to Anderson discuss it in this podcast.

4. Inmagic, a database software company that has its products in places like libraries and NASA, is poised on the cutting edge of social knowledge management.  After the SLA Conference at the end of June, Inmagic blogged about the different ways the information revolution was being dealt with by SLA and by Enterprise 2.0, and how to bridge the gap. This short and poignant piece is very telling and shows why Inmagic is leading the way in social librarianship.


5. Last but not least, this story was in the NY Times today, on textbooks of the future. The article says that California and a couple of other states are beginning to experiement with digital textbooks. I am all for the digital revolution, but where do we draw the line? There are pros and cons on both sides of this issue–I’ll just mention one of each that occurred to me. Pro: Easy updating of information that would quickly be outdated in paper textbooks. Con: Easy revising of history, for evil, not good. Plus, where is the permanence? And how can we ensure that the important info will be saved in a format that will be easily accessed later? What about the digital divide? Do kids without computers at home just not get to study? OK, that’s more than one con, that’s several. Still in the early stages, this initiative will need careful consideration. Plus, isn’t California bankrupt? Where are they getting the money for this sort of thing? 

Hoping to be back again in short order. Until then…

Manage Your Social Media Profiles

Bad reputation online? Don’t let it happen!


We see it more and more today – potential employers Googling a person’s name; we might hear a story of a person with unsavory pictures on their Facebook page being given the stink eye at the company party.

Well, here is some good advice from Mashable on managing all of your social network pages. The key for everybody here is CONSISTENCY. You don’t want to look like somebody with multiple personality disorder (even if you ARE), so you want to make sure that all of your profiles are up-to-date, relatively decent (or at least sanitary), and that they all point to you, and not someone else who happens to have your name or happens to use your favorite username.

Another recent article about managing your reputation online is this one, from the New York Times, about Google beginning to display profile results for name queries. You should manage your profile and be very sure that anything damaging will be removed, or at least amended.

Some real-world incidents pointed out in an Ad Age article about community building…

  • An employer updated his LinkedIn profile to say he was looking to hire new programmers. Current employees thought they were at risk and started leaving.
  • An HR person turned down a candidate because he noticed that a candidate’s professional profiles varied from network to network.
  • A co-op board rejected an applicant because an “old” profile seemed to suggest the person had not held a steady job in six years.

Since you are the product these days, it can mean the difference between getting or losing out on a job, an apartment or a romantic relationship. Bad Reputation is a great song by Joan Jett, don’t get me wrong – you just might not want it to be the soundtrack to your life.

Market Yourself

Wharton’s got an article this morning about using social networks to market yourself. No, make that reinvent yourself.

“According to Jonah Berger, Wharton marketing professor, using social networking sites or a new media endeavor such as blogging can be especially useful for workers looking to reshape their career into a new kind of profile. ‘People will begin to see you in that role,’ Berger says. ‘By creating these links outside of your organization, you can change your meaning to [others].'”

This can be very useful these days with layoffs happening left and right. Through adept use of social networks, people can begin to develop new facets of themselves, build up a support group of folhumanproductlowers, and turn themselves into thought leaders .

The best part about all of this is that it’s free – and the best way to learn it is by doing it – it only takes some time. And if it doesn’t work, you can always try something different.

Just remember, YOU are the product.