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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Week 13: Reflection and Wrap-Up

It is hard to believe that we have reached the end of this class! I have enjoyed it so much, I’m almost feeling nostalgic that it has come to an end. I’ve been taught, challenged, and shown new things in social media that I probably would not have tried on my own. Thanks to Dr. Neal for leading us through this – it was so practical and fun! The things we learned really can be used in the “real library world”.

I started this class thinking that I knew a fair bit about social media. I did know some things, but mainly about a couple of social media sites that I was using for personal use. It has been great to continually be challenged to relate all of our learning in terms of how this can be used in libraries.

What have I learned? I had never written a blog before, so I’ve learned a lot about managing a blog, including adding RSS feeds to it. I’ve learned how to use Google Reader to manage the RSS feeds from all of the sites that I want to follow! I especially appreciated the week we talked about policy. Nobody really wants to talk about policy, although I happen to be one that prefers to work within the framework of a policy. I have realized that  many library systems have implemented social media without determining a social media policy beforehand. I believe doing it this way is an invitation for trouble as people could  take advantage of this situation to use it for their own personal means.

I was very challenged the week we did the mashups. That was very technical for me, and outside of my comfort zone. I did have to ask others for suggestions on how to troubleshoot as I was working on my mashup. The video tutorial was for those working on a PC and as I work on a Mac I I had to figure out my own way. This is not all bad, though, although I think I’d have to do it a few more times to really get comfortable with creating mashups. I do think they are terrific when used well. That certainly added a level of frustration. Google Hangout, while only used once when I was in a group of ten at the beginning of the term, I love! It has been so helpful for our group to meet on Hangout and plan our work without concern about our geographical location. It’s a wonderful tool! Gaming? It’s really not for me. I understand intellectually that it is very popular and many people find it very relaxing and fun, but I am not one of those people. I’m still intrigued, however, by how/if this could be used in libraries successfully. The Cloud is a concept that really amazes me. It was fascinating to consider how libraries could use the cloud to manage their information, in financially viable/wise ways! Of course, I love Facebook and Twitter and really think that those can be used to reach such a large number of our patrons.

Ultimately for libraries, all of this wonderful technology is for naught if it not well thought out, updated regularly, and used to connect with the library users. Social media is all about interacting and sharing, and libraries must realize that they need to take social media seriously, but whatever social media they choose to use, they must use well. And they’d better have that well planned policy before they start! 😉

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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Week 12: Virtual Worlds and Online Gaming

This week’s assignment was way out of the box for me. I am not a gamer, nor have I had any interest in online gaming. I understand intellectually that there is a tremendous appeal worldwide for online gaming, but emotionally it has never connected for me.  However, this lesson was good for me because it forced me to do something which I may never had tried on my own.

When considering which game to play (I’ve played none of the ones that Dr. Neal suggested) I thought about World of Warcraft, simply because I know it is so popular. However, I didn’t want to download it to my laptop, so I opted to go with Runescape so that I could play it online in my internet browser without having to download the game.

It was fairly easy to set up an account, and I quickly created an avatar. I was confused, though, with what the game is all about, as there were just some quick little blurbs at the beginning, and then I was thrown into the game! I decided to start walking around and see what I could learn. It was helpful to have some instructions from characters along the way, although honestly, I really didn’t know what was going on. I knew I was in a cave, and by the music playing I could tell I was in some kind of danger, but I wasn’t sure what! A couple of my kids were quite amused at my attempts, but they were helpful in making suggestions. Little did I know that to eliminate the bad guy to save myself, I had to click continuously on him until bar above him was red and he fell over. Another character then congratulated me and told me how well I had done to defeat this guy.  This happened twice, by which point I was anxious to get out of the cave and see what else was going on. Okay, I admit it, I could see how people who know how to maneuver around in these games could get hooked. I did want to see how the story would continue, and I did feel like I was there. So that did give me a tiny insight into how this must be for avid gamers. I got out of the cave and was given instructions by someone (?) on what do next (go up on top of the castle and defend from there). At this point I decided I had spent enough time to say I had begun the gaming experience. Here’s a screenshot of my avatar, a farmer named Chocoana, on the roof of the castle:

At the time that I logged out of Runescape, there were 127,783 players online at that moment, and I suspect the numbers are much higher with other, more popular games. I understand that online gaming is pervasive and definitely a significant part of many people’s lives.

I signed up for twitch.tv and I’m looking forward to watching Jacob play SWOR on Monday night. This is a whole new world for me!

So what about libraries? Our library already has a successful games night, but for traditional board games. I think the reason for this success is not the games in and of themselves, although they are lots of fun, but because those nights are all about community, and playing and interacting together. It make sense to have online gaming at the library, although Dr. Neal’s point about this being a better forum for gamers to meet, not necessarily play, probably has some validity to it. I like the idea of the arcade nights at the Ann Arbor District Library. Most importantly for libraries, though, is that however we use gaming, whether it is “serious”, or whether we offer gaming on library computers, or create comfortable spaces for gamers to use, we must always remember our purpose. We are providing information, a community space, a place to learn and grow together, and gaming, if used in such a way that it meets the needs of the users, can be used successfully.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Week 11: The Mobile Web

This proved to be an interesting exercise! Thanks to the tips from Sarah F. on Lynne B.’s blog, I was able to post a podcast on my blog about the mobile web.
Click the play button below to listen to my podcast.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Uncategorized