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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Social Media Policies

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When it comes to social media policies, I find it all a bit complicated.  And from reading this weeks’ readings, it does seem as though there are several varying opinions on the matter.  To try to understand my questions, I went in search of other articles and came across this article.  It discusses 10 ways to create a social media policy for business. I especially liked Tip #2, which talks about creating a transparent and innovative culture. It’s understandable as many companies use social media to market or advertise to their client base, and any comments made from the company site should its values and missions.  Social media should come as part of a natural conversation between a company, its employees and its client base. Instituting policies that support the discussion that takes place in the workplace makes perfect, logical sense.

But when I came to Tip #7, which talks about creating two social media policies (one for employees using social media for their work, and a second for employees using social media in their personal lives), I became a little worried.  There are legitimate reasons for creating a social media policy for employees out of office – especially when it concerns the company directly, such as protecting trade secrets or clients’ privacy.  However, we all know a friend on Facebook (maybe 2) who has made comments about their work or co-workers, which incidentally or not, came across as negative and was broadcast to all their work friends on Facebook. It’s not appropriate and it comes across as unprofessional – but can a company institute policies that prohibit this behaviour?  Just look at the recent move from the NHL, which bans players from tweeting 2 hours prior to a game until their media interviews are finished afterwards.  Are employees representing their company 24 hours a day?  Is it unrealistic to assume that there are strict boundaries between the house and work?  These are the questions that I keep asking myself.

In some ways these policies are similar to the New York Times banning journalists from openly participating in politics or prohibiting them from taking part in community committees.  And in some way by creating these policies and creating a conversation with employees, it does create a blueprint as to how employees can think before they (re)act in a public forum.   To be honest, the more I think about, the more confused I get.  I guess this is a complicated issue that will depend on many variables, including the employee and the company.  And as more and more companies follow suit which social media policies for personal lives, we will continue to examine the benefits and downfalls of these policies.  On a related note, I did find this great site, which links to social media policies from over 100 companies.

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Mashups!

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I have to admit, when I first saw the headline ‘Mashups’, I thought, ‘oh no, I hope I don’t have to create a mashup’ – and then I cringed.  But I thought to myself, what a great opportunity to try, and to play with tools that I would be too afraid to try outside of school (html code makes me nervous), and to see if I actually fail at this, or I just think that I’d fail.  And after playing around with it yesterday afternoon, I finally got it to work! (Here it is, all the places I visited while living in Nova Scotia).  I had a problem with my text editor (I blame Mac), apparently if I edit the HTML in plain text instead of rich text format (which it was automatically doing) then I could execute the page properly.

As soon as I got it to work, I realized what a great tool this is for libraries.  As Darlene Fichter points out there are so many uses for mashups in a library from maps to flickr photos to booklists .  And this way, users can use external tools without actually leaving the library website.  I was reminded, while reading this chapter, how I often go to external sites (like goodreads, amazon or librarything) before choosing a book to borrow at the library.  I like to get a better idea of the content, read user reviews, and see if it’s a book that I’d enjoy.  And although libraries have become much better at integrating similar information into the catalogue, I still find that it’s not enough.  If libraries were to include these sites, through mashups, onto the library catalogue, it would certainly make it easier to choose a book a read.  I especially liked Fichter’s example of Google Preview.  There are so many options to using Mashups, and now that I’m not so afraid, I hope to test these out someday.

Wikis and Other Collaborating Tools

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In full disclosure, I believe that wikis are the best collaborative tool for the workplace. And in our day and age, with workplaces spread apart geographically, they’re essential for keeping everyone on track and on the same page. And as a bonus, they’re fun and easy to work with.

PBWiki
Most recently I worked with a pbwiki site in a library class where the students were responsible for building an English-French dictionary on cataloging terms. It was really fun to do, and we all felt like we were contributing to something important. The page is still up here/. There were few problems, namely people selecting the same terms, the formatting in general is a little wonky, and in a few cases, people had their terms deleted by accident. But overall, it was a really fun assignment.

Other tools:
In terms of other scholarly collaboration tools, I really love Google Docs and Google sites. At OLA last week I attended a session on “Web 2.0 and knowledge building centers”. The speakers mostly talked about how Google Forms is a great tool for engaging and collaborating with high school students. On Google forms, you can create a survey pretty easily and then it will populate a spreadsheet immediately. This way every student has a chance of voicing their opinion and this will generate discussion. It’s also a great way for teachers to receive feedback and to see if their students are understanding the concepts. On a personal note, it was great to see teachers utilizing web 2.0 tools and getting students engaged in school in a new way.

Wikipedia:
This week I decided to edit a Wikipedia page on Manitoba’s Festival du Voyageur. I was having a hard time selecting a site to edit, because they were all so informative, and there wasn’t much I could edit. That is until I was sending my friend some information on the festival and noticed that the Wikipedia page was fairly light. I was a little nervous with my final edit, because I felt a big responsibility to ensure that the information was correct. It certainly gave me a new perspective on who the people are behind the entries.

Overall, I feel like wikis and other collaborating tools will be around for a while as they’re easy to use, and a great way to have everyone’s input.