OLJ 10 – Module 4 – Comparison of library use of social networking tools

Comparison of libraries using social networking tools:

  • State Library of Victoria
    • Uses Facebook; Twitter; Flickr; YouTube; Pinterest
    • Allows comments
    • Updates at least twice daily
    • Does not show a disclaimer on the sites
    • Links to main website
    • Is easy to locate social pages
    • Purpose – events, photos, collection highlights
    • Overall feel – welcoming
  • Mount Gambier Library
    • Uses Facebook; Twitter;
    • Allows comments
    • Updates at least daily
    • Does not show a disclaimer on the sites
    • Links to main website
    • Is easy to locate social pages
    • Purpose – events, photos, announcements
    • Overall feel – community
  • Melbourne Library
    • Uses Facebook; Twitter; Flickr
    • Allows comments
    • Updates at least twice daily
    • Does not show a disclaimer on the sites
    • Links to main website
    • Is easy to locate social pages
    • Purpose – events, photos, announcements
    • Overall feel – authoritarian

Reasons why libraries should be on social media:

  • It is the online space where people are hanging out, so it is logical to have a presence in these spaces.
  • It is becoming more of an expectation that organisations will have a presence in these spaces, so people will look for libraries there.
  • Social networking spaces allow people to make comment about organisations.
  • People like to see how others are engaging with organisations in these spaces.
  • Like a community noticeboard, upcoming events are found here.
  • People enjoy seeing photos of activities and events especially if they were involved.
  • People enjoy the participatory aspect of social networking tools.
  • Showing that libraries are more than just storage facilities for books, is extremely important for those in the community who still think that way.
  • Offering a variety of topics using SN tools is important as it caters to more people. One person might enjoy the collection highlights or local history photographs, while another person might prefer to see who the next visiting author might be.
  • Connecting to local, state-wide, national and international campaigns is important. The Love2Read campaign for the National Year of Reading in 2012 is one example.
  • Linking back to the main website is important to show the pathway to the online catalogue and other information and resources.
  • Some libraries use photos of people involved in library events while others are not so liberal.
  • Regularity of posting is important, however once a day seems to be the frequency most adopted.
  • The overall feel of the social networking pages of organisations is important to encourage people to participate and engage in these spaces. The Mount Gambier Library gives a feeling of community participation, high activity and fun. The State Library of Victoria seems welcoming and inclusive and proud to show people what they have and wish to share. While Melbourne City Library seems authoritative, and focussing on Literature.

OLJ 04 – Module 1 – The Technium

Reading the thoughts posted by Kevin Kelly about the adoption of technology and technology as an organism was interesting and although first posted in 2009, the theories still resonate today in 2013, as technology continues to grow as a “self-organising living force.” (Kelly, 2009b)

Some of the points that interested me are: that technology is a “cosmic force” that precedes the Big Bang; that the adoption of technology is not always obvious and is even rejected despite clear demonstrated benefits; that people make definite decisions to not use particular technologies “simply because” and this is often based on how we want to “signal our identity”. (Kelly, 2009a)

Applying these ideas to the world around me I observe the love of gadgets and new technologies in some of the people I know. I share their excitement when obtaining a new toy such as a shiny new electronic notepad, or tablet. I share the enthusiasm of others in my sphere when we try to tell our customers, friends and family about the fantastic opportunities in libraries today especially via our digital resources. I love to try out new online technologies and agree with Kevin Kelly that “the only way we can determine whether something is good or bad for us, is through use.” (Kelly, 2009b)

But equally I observe the “Luddites” around me. You won’t find them on Facebook or Twitter or blogging. They might have an email address and a mobile phone but that’s it. You are more likely to find these people gardening, or cycling, or fishing, or out in the community somewhere doing practical things. I am generalising here of course and not suggesting that there is anything wrong with this at all. But thinking of those “dis-connected” people I know; those who define their identity within a technologically driven and connected society by choosing to not use any particular technology. As Kelly says ” You define yourself by what you don’t use.” (Kelly, 2009b)

Image: Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎), via Wikimedia Commons

Image: Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎), via Wikimedia Commons

There is no right or wrong here, only personal preferences, but I notice that with the fast-paced evolution of internet-based technologies, these people get left behind and the gap grows increasingly wider. Being immersed in a technology like online social media allows you to get swept along on the wave of development, whereas if you are not in it to begin with, there are more skills to learn if and when you do dive in.


Kelly, K. (2009a). Ethnic technology, The Technium. Retrieved from http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/03/ethnic_technolo.php

Kelly, K. (2009b). Penny thoughts on The Technium. The Technium. Retrieved from http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/12/penny_thoughts_2.php

What is social networking?

Social networking, in a broad general sense, encompasses all of our human social interactions, whether they are physical or virtual in nature.


Social networking as described in this subject of study (CSU INF506), as well as that which has been adopted in common language refers to online social networking. It relies on online computer software tools connected across the Internet and shared for the purposes of connecting and engaging with other people from around the world.

A meeting of people in a local cafe for a face-to-face chat is indeed ‘social networking’. A text-based discussion using an online tool such as Facebook accessed from personal devices using keypads to type in words that are transported by the Internet and then displayed on a screen to enable the words to be communicated – this too is ‘social networking’, albeit entirely dependent on the latest technology, a wide digital infrastructure, and a presumed level of acquired digital literacy.

Online social networking increases our possibilities to engage with others across the world, and yet it significantly decreases the opportunities for us to be able to assess the authenticity of that engagement. Lacking the human interaction tools that we rely on, we have to make those assessments based on the text alone. 😉 That text is delivered with a vast array of literary ability, and, indeed, truth. It is no wonder people often get duped into making wrong decisions through online social networking relationships.

An incomplete list of social networking/media sites I have used

Social site Start date Still using Usage
Hotmail 1996 yes ***
Amazon 4/03/2003 no *
Delicious 2005 yes ****
Bloglines 2005 no
43 things 5/05/2005 no
Blogspot 30/04/2006 no
Panoramio 2006 no
GMail 2006 yes *****
Google Reader 2006 yes *****
Skype 2006 no *
Flickr 23/06/2006 yes ***
LibraryThing 06/09/2006 yes ***
Wikipedia (editor) 2006 yes ***
WordPress 14/09/2006 yes *****
Facebook 9/05/2007 yes *****
Twitter 8/8/2007 yes *****
Wikispaces 1/11/2007 yes ***
PB wiki 2007 no *
Slideshare 5/03/2008 yes ****
Evernote 29/10/2008 yes ***
Good Reads 30/03/2010 yes ****
Linkedin 01/04/2010 yes ****
Google+ 2011 yes ****
YouTube 2/11/2011 yes ***
Tumblr ? no
Storify 22/02/2012 yes **
Pinterest 1/10/2012 yes ****

Online social networking tools are changing all of the time, and not only is it necessary to keep an eye out for new tools, but also to keep up with changes in familiar tools. Like many people, I use a ‘try and see’ approach to these tools and this allows me to assess how useful this tool might be for me.

This subject of INF506 Social Networking for Information Professionals will hopefully address real issues about social networking: security, freedom of information, privacy, copyright, psychological and cultural issues, generational tendencies, attempts of organisations to try to capture and tame ‘the beast’, social movements, anarchy and liberty.