When going over the different tools we learned about each week, I realized how much I am taking away from this class. Prior to taking this class, I knew that libraries should be using social media, but I never considered the issues surrounding it. Libraries need to spend a lot of time planning which tools they should use, why they should use them and most importantly HOW they are going to use them. Selecting tools that make sense for a library is much more important than selecting tools because they are popular. I also learned about the crazy privacy policies that many of these tools have. I’m still shocked (and I know I shouldn’t be) by Facebook’s social media policy.
MY FAVOURITE TOOLS
My biggest discovery this semester was Twitter. I was very ambivalent about Twitter prior to this course, but I feel like it’s one of the better social media tools for connecting with patrons. Libraries can easily use Twitter to market their programs and services, but then also interact with patrons about the library. It’s a tool that enables a more succinct and focused message compared to Facebook. I think it’s a tool that has lasting power, and something that libraries should be using more effectively.
Another favourite tool of mine was wikis. The ability to connect with people remotely and collaborate is pretty incredible. Instead of having word documents sent through email, staff can log into a wiki and feel like an equal contributor. Wikis are a great tool to communicate with other staff and work as a team. Plus, they’re easy to use. I think this is the biggest strength of all social media tools, that ability to collaborate towards a common goal, and I think wikis are one of the easiest and most effective ways to do just that.
TOOLS THAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The tool that I’m most ambivalent about is probably Google+. I realize it is still a fairly new tool, and perhaps it still needs some updates, but Google+ does not stand out. It’s not unique enough for people to get excited about it. It feels like another version of Facebook, but without the buy-in and I’m not sure how long it will be around. For now, I don’t think this is an effective tool for libraries to implement.
Thank you for a great class Professor Neal, and making me think about the many issues of social software in libraries. I’m looking forward to taking the skills and ideas that I’ve learned here and applying them in the ‘real world’. And thanks to the rest of LIS9763 for the great discussions on Monday evening.
All the best,