Social Web Literacy

We'll be discussing the Social Web and how knowing about it can help us make libraries more relevant to our social web savvy patrons.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Social bookmarking

Saving favorites and bookmarks to your browser helps you -- as long as you use that browser and that machine. Online bookmark management makes your favorites available to you anywhere. Social bookmarking makes your favorites available to others. That may sound odd by itself ("why would I want my bookmarks visible to others?") but collaboration is part of the social web and lets people benefit from everyone else's discoveries.

The most obvious library application for social bookmarking (we'll look at Delicious as a prime example) is at the reference desk. Each librarian has his/her favorite online sources and either marks them in the local browser or relies on Google to find them. But suppose each librarian added URLs to a personal Delicious account and then networked with other librarians for a truly collaborative collection of bookmarks. Not only would the librarian make his/her own list available on whichever machine is in use, but everyone in the network could benefit from websites on the consumer specialist's list or the genealogist's list or the music librarian's list.

But don't stop at the reference desk. Other library staff use and share websites, too; introduce them to social bookmarking. And don't forget the patrons. If you have a list of sites to share, enter them into a separate library account and refer to it on your library website or in conversations: "Oh, and don't forget our Delicious site. It has many more great recipe links."

We hope you enjoy your excursion into the social web and open collaboration.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

A library intranet loaded with web 2.0 tools

Yes. PCLS has one of the first library 2.0 intranets. Maybe the first. When given the chance to rebuild the StaffWeb, we decided to give it a big helping of the tools and widgets so popular on the growing social web. Now the staff can write their own blogs and read and comment on those of others; tag pages that have meaning to them; personalize the home page; add widgets; and soon collaborate on a system-wide wiki.

If the old Internet was the read-only web, and social networking tools make it the read/write web, then StaffWeb is the PCLS's collaboration central.

Read, write, tag, wiki, ... It's your web now.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007


We walk around the real world as flesh and blood beings. When we wander into the cyberworld on the social web, we can appear as an avatar. Avatars are images (drawings, animations, or photos) that represent us as we post comments and other content. Online friends begin to recognize you by your avatar. Some people change their avatar based on their mood or whenever they change their hairstyle, but they always get to appear the way they want.
Virtual worlds and game sites have moving three dimensional avatars that walk through cyber environments. And last week IBM and Second Life announced that they are working on a platform permitting universal avatars -- characters that could move from one site (or world) to another.
Avatars are just another way the social web is becoming part of our global culture. Do you have one on your page?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Barely four years old, MySpace is the undisputed giant of the social networking world. Two hundred million people world-wide host pages on what considers the sixth-most visted website on the Internet.

The freedom to express yourself is one of the draws. MySpace users can fiddle with the code, decorate their site with patterns and colors, post photos, animations, videos, and music. This is either wonderful or hideous -- depending on your tastes.

The social networking that goes on between the pages, however, is what attracts people the most. You can connect with friends, friends of friends, and anyone else in the gargantuan MySpace universe. (Did I mention there are 1/5 billion people here?) People collect "friends" and carry on conversations in public or private.

Much more could be said about MySpace -- both good and bad -- but anything with 200 million members is much too big to simply ignore. It is a global meeting place. Do you have an address there?

Susan and I hope you enjoyed this morning's class. Please leave us a note in the comments for this posting and tell your classmates what site you just created. Then it's your turn to participate in the social web.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Collabortaing on your family tree

There are new tools to connect and collaborate on your family tree with far-flung family members. Geni is just one of several social web genealogy sites that allow you to do this. It's extremely easy to click in and start adding names, dates, and relationships. But once your family memory starts to fade, enlist other family members to join your tree. Enter an email, invite that cousin in another state or country, and have them continue adding branches on their side of the tree.

You might be concerned about privacy matters. Understandable. Geni allows you to make things private or hidden from anyone not within your list of family.

Family collaboration from all around the world is just another example of the power of the social web. Explore it. Understand it better. Participate in it.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

A new spin on tag clouds

As new as tags and tag clouds are, we've already got a second generation to show you. Tags developed on Flickr only a couple years ago as a way to quickly organize photos. They have since proliferated across the social web, organizing books, thoughts, goals -- anything you can imagine. (We even made a tag cloud for our Social Web Literacy class.) Then lists of tags were placed into visually understandable tag clouds. Tag clouds are swarms of words which display larger or smaller based on how often an object or idea was tagged.

But what happens if you twist the idea a bit. Instead of ranking and displaying based on how many times the subject was tagged, base it upon how many times a tag is clicked. It might be an academic exercise (and thus completely boring to non-geeks), but who knows where the new concept might lead. We can at least show you where you can see it in action: The State of Delaware's website.

There's always innovation on the Social Web and creativity can come from anyone and anywhere. That's because anyone with Internet access can now create online; anyone can participate. We invite you to participate now. Explore the social web for yourself. See what's out there. Find your niche. Be creative. Have fun. And please share your stories and experiences with us.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Concise, on-the-run blogging

Many social sites let you express your thoughts and creativity, but none compresses that expression with quite the style of Twitter. Sometimes referred to as a live blog, Twitter asks you to share what you're doing right now and makes you do it in 140 characters or less. That's about 25-30 words. Some people just don't get the concept; others love it. No single entry ("gotta grab a latte before the big meeting") tells friends very much, but over time, Twitter logs reveal quite a bit about real life. The fact that users can send messages via mobile phones and arrange meetings on the run makes Twitter even more appealing to folks who like to be in continuous "live" mode online, connected to their friends whatever they're doing. It has become a very popular site this year.

Twitter is just one of the most recent social sites to catch fire. Some fizzle, but many others debut and grow every week. We hope you enjoy exploring the Social Web and find one or two sites that catch your imagination. Tell us about it.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Social networks connect people in so many ways. Sites like MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn have established networks of millions of people constantly meeting, collaborating, and interacting. Finding a friend or colleague has never been easier. Finding a friend of a friend of a friend is a piece of cake, too. The whole complex web for just one person (my Facebook Friend Wheel is shown here) is nothing short of astounding for the uninitiated. For the experienced users of the social web, it's merely a tool. The magic is what happens because of it.

We hope you enjoy this voyage into the Social Web and would love to hear some of your experiences. Please leave a comment and share. Participation is what it's all about.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Anyone can share their thoughts.
Some gifted writers in generations past were known for their personal diaries and journals. In today's Social Web, anyone can have a blog -- basically a public journal. Clearly, some are better than others, but the average person has probably never had the freedom of expression than he/she has today.
People blog about politics, sports, their travels, experiences, familes, pets, gardens, cooking preferences -- whatever. You can create a blog to express anything you want it to, or to communicate any message you wish to put out there. The collection of these blogs is social in nature itself, by the interaction and discussions ON the individual blogs makes the social dynamic even greater.
Blogs are just one of the social web tools available to people today. We've looked at plenty of others in class today. Now, it's your turn. Explore, participate, interact. It's YOUR Internet.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Instant Messaging for Reference

Since Susan and I started teaching this class last December, we’ve been suggesting that instant messaging might be worth a look for reference work. It’s an interactive social networking tool, easy to use, and free to anyone wanting to give it a try. Now the Jackson Library at Lander University in South Carolina is doing just that. Whether students have MSN, Yahoo, or one of several other accounts, they can now interact with a librarian via Meebo, a multi-brand IM provider.

It’s just another example of how libraries are stretching into the Social Web, meeting patrons where they are, and seeing how things work.

Now it’s your turn to explore the Social Web and see where you might find a niche. Click “Comment” below and leave us you first name, personal page website and username (or URL). Then be sure to tinker and add to it over the next few weeks and visit your classmates’ pages, too. We’d love to hear about your experiences on the Social Web, too. Happy interacting!


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

There's a social network for librarians

Not to be left out of the social web revolution, librarians have begun their own social networking site using the powers of Ning, a website that goes beyond giving users a single web page by granting them an entire network. Jenny Levine started the ALA Ning site a couple months ago. It encourages mingling of ALA members through blogs, photo sharing, instant messaging, and email.

Several other library-related Ning sites exist. They are all part of the world-wide movement to find people with similar interests, start dialogues, and collaborate in new ways.

Susan and I hope you have enjoyed this Social Web class today and we'd like to hear what you though of it. We'd also encourage you to share some of your experiences exploring the social web. Please click comment (below) and tell us. At the very least, we'd like you to include your first name, the website you decided to create (Catster, Dogster, Flickr, LibraryThing, or Multiply) and your user name on that site. That way your classmates can stop by and see what you've done (or are doing). And we'd also encourage you to visit them.

Explore! Participate! It's your Internet now.


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Setting up a crowd

Facebook, a social networking site popular with college students and teachers, has the ability to create events and immediately invite all your friends. This makes organizing parties, get-togethers, and protests easier than ever. It also permits advertisement for lectures and concerts.

Many social sites have meet-ups. Flickr meets are common and many librarians on ALA's Ning site plan on meeting at the conference next month. It's all just another type of social networking using the new Web 2.0 tools.

We hope you have enjoyed this class and continue to explore the broader social web. It is an unending exploration. Be sure to click "Comment" below and tell us your first name, the social site you chose to start with, and your name on that site (or your page's URL). Then come back over the next couple weeks, add to your page and explore your classmate's pages. Tell us about a few of your experiences here, too.

Enjoy! Participate!

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Friday, May 11, 2007

More and more people want to interact

It's a cultural trend. People want to chat, raise their voice, and register their vote. Often the issue is seemingly meaningless or the vote is nonscientific. That doesn't matter. Increasingly people expect the ability to respond -- to talk back -- rather than simply be entertained.

No greater evidence of this phenomenon exists than the television show American Idol, where more than 40 million votes are cast by phone each week, and more than 100 million calls are logged on the final show each season.

American Idol, of course, uses telephone voting as its official voting method, but its website has more casual opinion surveys week to week. These surveys mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, but again, people want to interact rather than just watch.

This is just one example of the Social Web. Explore it yourself and tell us what you find. You can interact with this blog by clicking "comment" below. Leave us your first name, your social site, and your user name on that site. Come back later and see your classmates's sites & explore them!

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Monday, April 30, 2007

An interactive photo albumBuilding a Social Library.
Libraries around the world have jumped into a project begun on Flickr, a social networking site. The typical 365 project involves taking a self-portrait every day for a year. For libraries, however, the object is to simply post 365 library-related pictures in a year.

PCLS has decided to join this group under the premise that we will post one new photo every weekday. In the end, we'll have a "year in the life" collection.

This community is just one of many on the Social Web. We hope you have enjoyed the class and encourage you to participate in the social networking phenomenon yourself. Be sure to leave your first name, social web site, and screen name in the comment field to this blog post. And let us know about any adventures you have along the way. Happy networking!

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Every Dog Can Have its Website
The Social Web has become so popular that even dogs have web sites. Dogster has more than a quarter million personal pages for dogs. Assisted by their owners, dogs can visit their friends, leave bones and rosettes to their favorite pals and share photos, music, and videos. They even have online socials and real world get togethers.
You can participate in the social web just like all these dogs. Explore using the links in our class blog. Build you own page. Visit your coworkers' pages. To make that happen, add a comment to this blog posting and tell us which social web site you choose to work with. Also tell us what your onscreen name is (so we can find you there) and your real world first name so we have a sense who you are. Then be sure to check back and visit your classmates' pages.
Particpate! Comment! Interact! It's a world-wide phenomenon.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Building a Social LibrarySome people at Pierce County have taken the plunge into the Social Web and are trying to take the library with them. Here's my tiled rendition of where we've gone so far. PCLS now has a wiki, blogs, podcasts, and pages on Flickr and MySpace.

We hop eyou have enjoyed seeing the Social Web in class and encourage you to explore and participate beyond the class. Check back here and leave us a comment or two on this blog posting. Tell us what you thought, what you found, and leave your first name and the URL of your new personal page. That way, your classmates can visit and you can see what they've created, too!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

YouTube: one of the giants of the Social Web

We've been looking at many personal pages on the Social Web this morning. One of the most popular is YouTube, a site for amateur filmmakers and vloggers. A British couple, for instance, decided to try their luck at an amateur cooking show and came up with Crash Test Kitchen. Posted on YouTube, their "Sponge Blob Square Pan" episode was viewed around the world. Watch how a cooking show can go badly -- but keep its humor. It's all in the spirit of the Social Web. People post content meaningful to them and others find it.

We hope you have enjoyed the class. Be sure to add your first name and personal page URL to this blog posting. That way others in class can stop by for a visit and you can visit them. Leave a comment for us, too. We'd love to hear what you thought of the class or any adventures you have exploring the Social Web.

-Steve & Susan

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Monday, March 19, 2007

LibraryThing is a social web site that has nearly half a million users and is home to more tags than any website on the Internet. That includes big ol' Amazon! LT has over 10 million tags, all added one at a time by users -- sometimes for reasons known only to them. The aggregation of those tags, however, is pretty remarkable and gives great reading suggestions.

We hope you enjoy this class. Please click Comment below and tell us about your experiences with the Social Web. Don't forget to add your blog's URL so others in the class can visit.

Participate! That's part of the Social Web.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

As we saw in today's class, online gaming is not just for kids. We talked about how one company is actually using an online game, Battlefield2 (pictured), as a way to keep employees working across the country connected and to share ideas and information.

Participating in the Social Web can be fun, entertaining and informative. Now that you have gotten your feet wet in the Social Web pool, we hope you will explore new ways to participate. After your adventures, come back here and let us know about your experiences. Leave a comment with your blog's address and your first name so that we can all see the results of your


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Flickr: One of many sites on the Social Web
A library made of booksWe looked at all sorts of personal pages in today's class. One was flickr, a photo sharing site used by people around the world. Personally, I've gotten into flickr quite a bit and I'd recommend it to any amateur photographers. That's my photo of Mt. Rainier as posted to my flickr account last Saturday.

It's your turn now. Explore the Social Web and tell us about your adventures by commenting to this post. Be sure to give us your blog's address and your first name so that every one in class can find it, visit, and comment. Participate! That's what the Social Web is all about.

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