Reflections on Social Media, or What I Learned in Social Media for Information Professionals

I learned a great deal about the history of Web 2.0 technology and Social Media.  I had learned about Web 2.0 before, but I don’t think I fully understood it until this semester.  The early readings on what it is and the history and evolution of it really helped me to understand the concept better.  Peltier-Davis’s article was perhaps the most helpful to me as it was written by a librarian for librarians about Web 2.0 and how to use it.  It gave a librarian’s perspective, which I felt was a great thing to know and learn if we are to be modern librarians of the 21st century.

The history of Social Media was also something I didn’t quite know much about.  I had no idea that it had been around as long as it has.  I assumed Myspace was the first kind of Social Networking/Media site as it was the first one I really heard anything about.  Boyd and Ellison’s article on the history of Social Media was an eye opener that really taught me that I knew even less about Social Media than I thought, especially for someone in the under 30 set.

A third experience was learning Twitter.  I had never sent a tweet before this course, and wasn’t exactly sure how to.  I had heard so much about this Social Media tool, but all the hype was just a big turn off.  It didn’t really tell me why I should be on Twitter or how to use it.  The readings about Twitter and how to use it in librarys plus the assignment for using it, really gave me an understanding of what the heck it really was and what it could be when used properly.  As a result, I actually found I kind of like it.  I don’t tweet regularly, but then again, I don’t post Facebook status updates regularly either, but I like to follow friends, family, favorite authors, and some celebrities and TV show accounts.  I’ve even had Twitter conversation with a second-cousin about a scarf her grandmother, who is my aunt, made her and how it was a very Mueller (my mother’s maiden name) thing to sew.  If I had never learned Twitter, I wouldn’t be able to connect with my cousins this way.

Before taking this class, I belonged to Facebook and Pinterest, used Librarything to only keep a list of my books and knew nothing of its other features, had watched Youtube videos but never made or uploaded one, never been on Foursqure, and used Delicious to bookmark sites.  I had never sent a Tweet, used Tumblr, or even heard of half the sites we learned and talked about in our tutorials.  Now I’m proud to say that have more accounts than I know what to do with just yet.  I enjoyed learning about Tumblr and have kept up using the site, and I can see its potential for connecting with young patrons.  I’ve kept up Tweeting, and plan to do more with Twitter in the future to promote what I do as the “Jedi Librarian” and my personal library blog.  Now that I know how simple Youtube is to use, I’d love to make library themed videos in the feature for my library to help connect with patrons and show off our services.  I can see potential in Pinterest too as a place to hold project ideas for children’s crafts, pictures of book covers, and other fun things for patrons to see and do.  While I am not sure how Foursquare can be used in libraries just yet, in the future I would like to find a way to incorporate it.  I need to explore Librarything and Goodreads some more to see how I can use them, but first I must get a Goodreads account. 

Social Media is so much a part of our lives now, and we as librarians must be aware of that to stay relevant.  I am now more aware of what is out there and how to use it.  I now know how to use and integrate these sites into the library world and would feel confident using them on the job if I had to.  In fact, I’d love to be the one to run a library’s Social Media presence.  I think I have the confidence now to apply for this type of job and do it successfully.  I have lots of ideas on who various services can be used, and given the opportunity, I think I’d do well at it.  I’ve learned a lot in a short time, and I’m ready to get out there and use it.

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