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! 😉