Assignment 2: Evaluative statement – part A

The subject INF506 was designed to immerse a student in the world of social media and web 2.0 tools. It enabled students to examine how to gather information, collate it, use it effectively and to create and share it with others. Throughout the session the Online Learning Journal (OLJ) was used to document the learning journey one has taken to achieve the objectives of the course.

In the entry, April 11 on the Brown (2010) article, an A to Z list of social networking tools was considered. This opened up the possibilities to a number of tools that could be used in the library situation. By examining these tools one could look at how they can achieve a Library 2.0 environment, by utilizing the features that each has to offer. This enabled one to look more closely at the use of social networking tools in the library. Blogs for example are suited to a particular discussion generally provided by one person, but it can also encourage feedback through the comments section (Berger & Trexlar, 2010, p. 103). This could have a number of uses in the library, book reveiws, promoting new resources, library events. Although this post only looked at some of the tools, it did enable one to start looking further into a number of them such as blogs to see how they can support an information environment and to actually understand how they work.

One of the objectives of the course was to understand social networking technologies, but to also evaluate them in relation to how they can support organisations and individuals. The OLJ entry on May 24 about marketing social media, supports the attainment of these objectives. The post examines how one can use social media to market its services and discusses how the organisation must understand why this would be neccessary. This needs to be done to ensure that staff can be bought on board with any ideas introduced. Burkhardt (2009) discusses four reasons libraries should be using social media and one of them is marketing which ties in closely with communication and it needs to be done through the means that users are involved with. Using current statistics from Facebook Newsroom in the month of March 2012, there were 901 million active users and using the statistics from the Kagan (2010) slide presentation, other social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube were receiving huge coverage as well. These figures show that users of the library are most likely involved in one or more of these platforms. As such, the library must move into these areas, but not in an ad hoc way, but in a way that is planned for, so that user needs can be effectively met. As Brown (2009) maintains an effective social media strategy is required to do this, which is something an information professional must understand.

In order to work in a socially networked world it is important that one understands the implications of being online and how that can have an affect on privacy as well as looking at what tools you can use to keep abreast of what is being said about you online. As one of the learning objectives in this course is to examine the social and ethical issues surrounding social media, the OLJ entry from May 17 discussing how one protects their privacy and identity online, considers how one has to think about the ethical, social and educational implications surrounding social media. One interesting point made by Valenza (2009) was that although one should be searching themselves, librarians also have an obligation to teach this skill to students. Davis (2009) provides an extensive list on sites that can assist with tracking one’s digital footprint. This is imperative in today’s online world and will enable students to keep abreast of their identity and ensure that it is treated with respect. This post looked at how it was possible to have a Facebook page, however, in a lot schools Facebook is blocked. This comes down to the idea of trust and concern on what is out there. Through this course it has become apparent that there are steps people can take to ensure that they are safe online such as appropriate policies and effective teaching about the subject. Teacher librarians are perfectly placed to do this and one place where a teacher librarian can go to get a support document to help teach issues such as safety online, cyberbulling, security and privacy is the Cybersmart guide for library staff.

These three posts have all examined various apects of using social media in the professional arena, thus displaying an understanding of what INF506 course objectives were trying to achieve.

References:

Australian Communications and Media Authority. (2009). Cybersmart guide for library staff. Retrieved from Cybersmart website: http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Libraries/~/media/Files/Cybersmart%20Libraries/ACMA_CybersmartLibrariesGuide_A4.ashx

Berger, P. & Trexler, S. (2010). Choosing web 2.0 tools for learning and teaching in a digital world. California: Libraries Unlimited.

Brown, A. (2010). A to Z of Social Networking for Libraries. Retrieved from: http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/2010/01/22/a-to-z-of-social-networking-for-libraries/

Burkhardt, A. (2009). Four reasons libraries should be on social media, August 25. Retrieved from: http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/

Davis, L. (2009). 8 Tools to track your footprints on the web, February 1. Retrieved from: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/8_tools_to_track_your_footprin.php

Facebook. (2012). Key facts: Statistics. Retrieved from Facebook Newsroom website on May 27, 2012: http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=22

Kagan, M. (2010). What is social media NOW? July 13. Retrieved from: http://www.slideshare.net/mzkagan/what-is-social-media-now-4747765

Valenza, J. (2009). 14 ways K-12 librarians can teach social media. Tech & Learning. September 27. Retrieved from: http://www.techlearning.com/article/14-ways-k%E2%80%9312-librarians-can-teach-social-media-by-joyce-valenza/46329

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