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.

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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