Web 2.0 – technologies for libraries?

Many of us use Web 2.0 technologies on a daily basis to keep up with friends, share photos and posts, even to read the latest “news”.  Throughout the duration of this course, I have looked at – and tried – several of these technologies and how they could be utilized by a library – any library.  While I have mixed feelings about some of them, I know there are a couple that most libraries, and library staff, do utilize and some of them could be utilized better.  What follows are my thoughts on 2 of these technologies: Facebook and Twitter.

Who doesn’t use Facebook, right?  After all, doesn’t it seem like everyone goes there to stay up with what’s going on?  I’ve been using Facebook for several years now.  My friend list is still small, as I try to keep it to people that I actually do know or have had conversations with.  I have joined a couple of groups and have also left many that I joined.  (drama!)  There are several pages that I like and I do so because I am interested in the organization and what they have to say.  I’ll share pictures from time to time, join in conversations in different groups, and share things – like this blog. (https://www.facebook.com/geri.emmelman)  I can stay on top of events that are happening nearby or just read what has been happening with that organization.  It makes sense that a library would have a Facebook page to keep their users up to date with what is going on there too, wouldn’t you agree?  Our local public library does have a Facebook page, however, I don’t think they utilize it as well as they could.  Posts are too infrequent (in my opinion) and normally relate to a craft project that’s coming up or a (general) library related “ecard” that is posted.  I don’t recall seeing anything lately about new material added to the collection, or even a post that just mentions what they have to offer.  Other libraries seem to post daily where as ours posts more on a weekly basis.  Since they only have 916 “likes”, I think that more posting and promoting would make that number rise, as well as users who visit the library.

I have also used Twitter for about a year now (@tiedyedwoofer).  I don’t use it often as I don’t find it as useful, as say, Facebook.  Yes, I do read many of the tweets and articles that are linked, but I don’t follow a lot of people nor do I have a lot of followers.  I follow a lot of (wolf) conservation and protection organizations, as well as a few friends and (don’t laugh) Gene Simmons.  Among those that follow me are those same friends and a couple of the “wolf orgs”.  With this class, I have started following several libraries and library staff members – our local library director and the children’s librarian among those.  I have tried to check Twitter more frequently in the past few weeks, trying to pay special attention to any of the library related “tweeters” but the tweets seem to be few and far between. Our librarians don’t tweet much, as they are just beginning to become familiar with it. I will say that the Library of Congress does seem to tweet the most (that word “tweet” bothers me!) and I have found several of their linked articles interesting, and I also like Library Trivia.  I think Twitter would work best among library staff to share ideas and new trends in technology, but I don’t see it being as viable to the general public.

With the different Web 2.0 technologies that are available, deciding what technology works best for you or the library depends on what you want to get out of it – or put into it.  I don’t think a library can go wrong using Facebook to promote their library.  I think Twitter is more for library personnel to interact and share among each other, rather than trying to gain a general audience for their particular library.  Yes, there are other Web 2.0 technologies out there than libraries can utilize as well, so the choices aren’t limited to just Facebook and Twitter.  Just as I had to do with these, libraries and their staff will have to explore and experiment to see which technologies benefit them.

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