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.

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