Social networking, it’s nearly everywhere now. It’s not just for individuals anymore, either! Businesses, clubs, and even libraries are in on the act. Speaking of which, if you become a librarian, social networking for your library could become part of your job!
Facebook is the most popular social networking site, at least best I can tell. Personally, it’s a great way to keep up with friends and acquaintances, and it’s been a fun way to reconnect with old friends from various activities, jobs, schools and summers at camp too. But it’s generated a lot of complaints from a lot of people, from being a time waster to having questionable privacy practices.
While I haven’t worried as much as I probably should about the privacy issues, I do check my Facebook privacy settings periodically, and tweak them as I see fit. I can certainly relate to the time factor, though. Facebook can definitely create a black hole in which free time disappears. I started limiting my time on Facebook a bit (believe it or not!) this past semester, once I started library school. One the plus side, though, I’ve been able to connect with more library students, both within my program at NCCU SLIS, and beyond.
Whether you’re into Facebook or not, I’d encourage you to explore social networking websites while you’re in library school, for professional development if nothing else. Among my favorite social networks are DailyMile, a combination exercise log/social network, Goodreads, where book reading meets social networking, and Flickr, a website for storing digital pictures where you can tag people, add descriptions and locations. What I like about each of these three websites, is that they stand alone as useful utilities to track particular hobbies and passions, but expanding your network on any of these sites may enhance the experience.
If you’re in library school like I am, I’d suggest checking out LinkedIn, for sure. In my mind, it’s the working professional’s version of Facebook, a place to get your resume out there among connections. Like Facebook, you can control who sees what on your profile. I’ve enjoyed seeing the educational and work histories of the connections I’ve made there. If you’re in job-hunt-mode, and want to follow the advice to “let everyone you know” that you’re looking for a job, this is a good way to provide pertinent information for your contacts.
For those of you already into social networking, what are your favorite social networking sites?