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, 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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