Monday, March 9, 2009

Week 9 - Social Networks

If you walk around our library, you will probably notice that many students are using Facebook. You may wonder why social networking websites like Facebook are so popular among students. This week we will help you to understand what social networks are, how they work and why we need to learn about them.

What are Social Networks?

A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship, kinship, dislike, conflict or trade. - Wikipedia.

If you would like to watch a good video for a short explanation about social networking, please check out CommonCraft’s Social Networking in Plain English (Less than 2 minutes).

There are many social networking websites today. The following list contains links to several popular social networking websites:

· MySpace
· Facebook
· Bebo
· Friendster
· Hi5
· Windows Live Home
· Linkedin
· Twitter

Library Social Network Sites

Social networking is a new approach for some academic and public libraries today to reach library users and provide information and services. Here are a few library related social network sites.

Library Thing
New York Public Library Social Network
The Brooklyn College Library
The Houston Public Library
The Denver Public Library
Manchester Library and Information Service (UK)

Facebook is the most popular social networking website in Canada.
Facebook is a free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some US colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus. Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook while he was a student at Harvard University. Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It later expanded further to include any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. The website currently has more than 175 million active users worldwide.
- Wikipedia.

An article in the Toronto Star repored that of January 2008, Toronto had over 1 million Facebook users and that over 50% of Canadian web users have Facebook accounts.

How to Use Facebook?
Here is a video to teach you how to register and join Facebook
Here is a video to teach you how to use your Facebook homepage
Here is a video to teach you how to find, invite, and add friends on Facebook
Youtube has many other online tutorials about Facebook.

Ryerson University Library on Facebook
Ryerson Library has created a presence on Facebook where students can search the library catalogue and find articles from the library subscribed e-resources. Once you have set up your Facebook account, you can add this application. The Chronicle of Higher Education mentioned our Library Facebook app in an article last year.

Facebook Activities

Only 4 activities this week!
1. Sign up for an account on Facebook if you do not already have one. Some may be a little hesitant to create a Facebook account, but remember, you can delete it after the RULA20 programme or you can choose to not include any personal information. If you prefer not to create a Facebook account, you will need to ask someone from your RULA 2.0 group to show you how Facebook works.
2. Go to your “profile” page to edit your own information. This is where you can prevent your birth date from showing. Add as little or as much information as you wish. You have control over what information is displayed and to whom. This article, 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know gives tips about Facebook privacy settings.
3. Go to and find one of your friends or coworkers on Facebook, and use “add as friend” feature to add him/her into your friends network.
4. Blog about your experiences using Facebook or other social network sites.

Of course, you have the option to create an account on other social networking sites such as Twitter, but please remember to blog about your experience. Have fun!

Additional (Optional) Reading:
· MySpace, Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites: Hot Today and Gone Tomorrow?
· Social Networks Primates on Facebook
· Online Social Networking for Educators
· Libraries in Social Networking Software
· Facebook and Updating the Stereotypical Librarian Image
· Library myspace account action

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