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Social Software

Libraries are part of society (root word is something like social). Duh! So we should be very interested in anything that claims to be socially driven. Here’s list of the most popular social sites:
1. MySpace
2. Blogger
3. Xanga
4. Hi5
5. Orkut
6. Facebook
7. Friendster
8. Flickr
9. LiveJournal
10. Photobucket
12. Plaxo
13. LinkedIn
14. Ryze Business Networking
15. Wikis and Wikipedia
16. Recommender Systems (article with links)
17. List of Social Software at Wikipedia
18. iKarma
There seem to be a few social categories – blogs, instant messaging,
Internet forums, Internet Relay Chat, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, Media sharing (like photos, video, and MP3’s), Personals,
Social Shopping, Social bookmarking, Social citations, Social networks and Wikis. They all use the power of collaborating in large numbers to build community and knowledge. In terms of sheer power it seems ready made to serve the traditional library mandate as it evolves with techology and society. (Can you say Library 2.0?)
Key questions:
1. What are they doing right?
2. What can we learn from then?
3. What can we copy?
4. What are the best features, functions, etc.
I’m no expert but the answers have to be somewhere in:
– How they link people of like interests.
– How they link people and content.
– How the users define their own social networks and the purpose for them.
– How one might manage this so that it doesn’t become ‘just dating’.
– How they manage profiles.
– How they manage ‘reputation’.
– How they manage user-driven privacy level management.
Are there some cool current library applications? I can imagine ones like this:
Book Clubs
One City One Book networks
Homework Circles
Charitable clubs for foundations
Local history clubs
Genealogy clubs
Old Car buffs
Mystery lovers
(Auto)Biography lovers
Skateboarders or exteme sports fan clubs
There are likely items in our collections to support most of these groups (sometimes users come in groups!). I actually like the idea of groups since it helps build community bonds and stave off loneliness for some. Either way it connects to the human need to connect with information, entertainment, learning and people
It’s interesing and sure provides the opportunity for us to extend our reach (and our collections’ relevance) beyond the meeting rooms and the service desks. It also seems like it would be easy to pilot with a small targeted group to learn cheaply and cheerfully.
This is a bandwagon that sure provides a lovely sandbox for us (and for free on the web).

Posted on: January 6, 2006, 7:47 pm Category: Uncategorized

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