Friday, March 21, 2008

Pondering social networking sites

I had no idea there was so much controversy surrounding the decision for libraries to join MySpace or Facebook. Perhaps it's my relative lack of familiarity with these sites, but I don't see what the big deal is. Creating a library profile seems to me to just be another way to reach out to our patrons where they "live." We can use RSS feeds to push information to people about upcoming programs or services that we offer. There's no rule saying all users must do that annoying poke thing, and I'm sure users don't have to post all comments that come in to their pages, so what's the problem? Is it logistics? Stodginess? Prudence? Staffing? It seems to me that having a library presence on a social networking site like MySpace or Facebook is just another form of outreach--much like the bookmobiles or homebound services are. If we're sensible about how we go about setting up our library profile, can't we pretty much avoid most of the pitfalls some people seem to be afraid of? And really, how many kids are going to be THAT upset that we've "invaded their space," unless we go out of our way to be obnoxious? Most kids I know either love the library or ignore it. I don't think we're seen as offensive or anything. And it's not usually the set-in-their-ways librarians who are putting libraries on these sites anyway, it's the younger, "cooler" teen librarians.

A lot of fuss over nothing, so far as I can tell. That's my 2 cents' worth.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The meebo learning curve

Whew! Thank goodness for Sam's expertise with this one. (Yea, Sam!) Reading the stuff in the Discover 2.0 blog post on Meebo did not help hardly at all when it came to actually understanding how to use Meebo and insert the widget, I'm sorry to say. It was lovely background & all, but I already knew that Meebo was a way to let you chat with people on a bunch of other chat services all in one place/at one time. What I needed to know was how to do that--whether I had to sign up with a Meebo ID or could just use my existing Gmail ID (turns out yes, I needed a Meebo ID in order to get the widget thing), for example, and step-by-step instructions for installing the widget in this blog. This was the most confusing 2.0 step thus far.

I've been able to spend a little bit of time playing around with it now that I have it, and I think it will be useful. I can see how easy it would be to install the widget on our FVRL webpage for chat reference...although staffing could be problematic. But definitely something to think about for the future.

I like that Meebo gathers various chat IDs in one place so it's easy to see who's online at any given time. I will have to work on finding out which of my friends has a chat ID (or 2) so I can add them as "buddies."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

More on RSS feeds

I've now subscribed to a "lucky" 13 RSS feeds for my Bloglines account. When I am supposed to have time to read all the new posts, I haven't yet figured out. But at least they are there and waiting for me.

I tried both ways to find feeds to add--I went directly to some sites and I used links from Bloglines and from the LISwiki to locate others. I'm not a huge fan of using the LISwiki, as it turns out, because it's just one huge long list with very little information on each one, and I didn't have the patience to try out every single link to see if it was something I wanted to read. Then again, it did gather a bazillion blogs in one place, which is good when you're like me and not aware of the existence of most of them so can't go directly to very many.

I can see how it would be useful for library websites to have RSS feeds, though. Particularly from their Events pages so that information could be pushed to patrons who subscribe to their library's feed. Maybe it could increase awareness of library programs and therefore boost attendance. At least with the younger crowd. Maybe not so much the average senior citizen. I can't see my mom using the internet in any form to get her library event information. But I think RSS has great potential for teens and gen-Xers like me. And whatever we're now calling the generation between the two. (Or are today's teens still part of the Gen-Y/Millenials?)