by Joanna June
In library and information science schools we are coming to terms with, well, terms. Lexicons, vocabularies, common jargon sets and search terms are the tools of our trade. So I ask: Have you noticed though how many verbs have been web-born? Or, in the spirit of web 2.0, social web-re-born?
Tweeting, tagging, PMing, following, up-voting, DMing, pinging-back, liking, pinning, digging, starring, etc… They all have new meaning in our social media infused landscape. I’d include “blogging” but that seems like as old a term as “googling.” become part of our international dictionary. While we might know the terms, have a vague sense of what hashtagging is (for instance), how does social media intersect with our LIS, MLIS and MSIT pursuits?
The landscape has grown and changed even since Alison’s piece last year on social media for introverts. After Paul’s article about staying on top of library news, and Nicole’s piece on building your business cards (and what information to include) I was thinking about all of the options of social media and how it can be a little daunting to try pick betwixt them. As the resident HLS Online Community Hacker, I thought I would make a stab at doing a rundown. But there is just so much. Though they are often used for professional purposes, the choices when it comes to social media use can also be very personal.
Consider this just a little primer then to start the conversation. I hope you explore having more of a social media awareness and maybe find a new tool or method of interaction on a personal or professional level. And then I hope you share what is your social medial platform of choice and how you use it in school. I think that is what social media platforms and streams are about: giving users various tools for connection. We, as Information Science Professionals should love and excel in that right? Ok, so a quick and dirty list of the biggies out there (with plenty of room for you to add your thoughts in the comments)
- Twitter. The bird that launched 1 million #hashtags. So culturally relevant the tweets are being saved by the Library of Congress and it is given credit for an important part of the Arab Spring. Many of you cited Twitter as your #1 source of news, of the LIS or ‘other’ variety, and I would have to agree. There are lots and lots of articles out there about twitter etiquette and how to best use it. I’ll just say that you should get a handle and, even if you don’t tweet or make your tweets public, poke around and see what information is available in that space. If nothing else it is an amazing study in how the #hashtag became a household-name search tool.
- Facebook. With more people on Facebook than in many countries — combined — to say nothing of the events, pages, and brands represented, it is fair to say that Facebook is the biggie of the group. It is interesting to watch how much people use this platform, adapt to it’s changes, and now expect features to be included in other spaces (and visa versa). What do you mean I can’t see if he has read my message yet? Everyone has their own balance of Personal and Professional in this space, but safe to say it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Best to at least understand the difference between a profile and a page and the various security options.
(I should note here that with your Twitter or Facebook profile you can log-in or create profiles on a number of other social media sites and applications. It is completely up to personal preference if you want all your streams connected in this way or want to keep them more separated by using an email address instead)
- LinkedIn A professional networking site that links you, your resume and those that you have worked with. It still feels like it hasn’t reached critical mass yet but I know people who swear by it to be connected with their industry and even get jobs. It would not hurt to have a profile and, if you’re in the job market or not, your resume posted.
- Pinterest It might seem like just a lot of pictures and rabbit hole of time suck… but people are using the site as a search tool and interacting, sharing and contributing in droves. If you’re unfamiliar, it is a personal image collection that then links back to the source of the image. So you “pin” a picture with a comment to your virtual bulletin board (or one of your themed or grouped boards) and others can then comment, like and “repin” to theirs. Creating a network that then links back to the original. Play around with it (whatever you do, don’t search for “cute cat”)
- Delicious It is basically a web-based bookmarking application you can use to save, organize and share links. I have an account and have been pointed to others streams but this is an interesting one for me as I still haven’t been able to get used to using it. It is one of those tools that I like in theory but just haven’t made practice. https://delicious.com/
- Digg, Stubleupon, Reddit, Fark… I’m grouping these because they are news aggregators of various forms but I think they still have their place in social media. Comments and/or votes boost the visibility of a story or image on each site, usually broken down by category.
- YouTube Yes, it is for videos but with now the ability to like videos, subscribe to channels and comment, it is also very very social. I also know of several that use it as their primary search engine.
- Instagram The fun-with-filters on your camera phone ap has come way up in the world. It also uses a bevy of hashtags for finding and integration with Facebook, Twitter, flickr, etc so expect to see more hipster-cam in other streams. (oh, and interesting sidenote: I have heard from 3 parents in very different places that instagram is the only “social media” site/application that they let their tweens-and-under kids use. I don’t know what that says yet but I wonder if that will continue)
- Google+ A way to share content with your “circles” through your google profile. Articles and online content ask for a +1 from you to add them to your feed and having +s on your content or site supposedly helps with your ranking in google search. This is another that I just haven’t made work for me, but many are really getting behind it.
- GoodReads This might be a different breed of “media,” similar to the aggregators, but with authors doing interviews with the platform and lots and lots of users submitting review, forming book clubs, starring their favorites and filling out their virtual bookshelves it is a viable social online space dedicated to reading.
This is to say nothing of blogging platforms which have become so much a part of the base Internet landscape, hardly distinguishable in some cases from websites, I’m not sure they are even “social media.” And that many, many of these applications are interconnected so you sign in with your twitter account to instagram something you found on pinterest and then put it up of digg… ad nasuem… And also there are also web-aps like hootsuite that allow you to read and post across multiple platforms, often with scheduling capabilities.
Just like my eResume guide, my main point is to have us looking at options and finding what is right for our personal proclivities and workflow. We also should have some awareness of various social media streams to see if adding or boosting the profile of the organization, institution or library for whom we work would make sense and serve users.
Oh, and hashtagging? Just a social, user-directed way to search.