Well we have made it to Week 8 of the programme – this week we will be learning about and trying out social networking sites.
What is a social networking site?
Social networking as a broad term can refer to the entire ‘Web 2.0’ phenomenon, but what we will be focussing on this week are usually referred to as social networking sites.
Many of you will already using sites such as Facebook on a regular basis. Basically, they involve you setting up an online account, and then building a profile to reflect your interests. You then add friends or contacts who can see your profile and interests and vice versa. The next step is to add various applications and join various groups if you are interested in doing so.
Check out this Commoncraft video for a quick overview of social networking sites.
Features of social networks
1. Choose your social networking site
This often comes down to what your friends and/or colleagues are using. However each does have different features/strengths, for example if you are really into music then Myspace is more relevant. Facebook has a more generic appearance, where as Myspace enables you to customise your pages.
2. Sign up for an account, build your own profile, personalise your pages (depends on the service as to how much control you have over this)
As with most of these tools/services – you go to the web page of the service you want to use and sign up for an account (another password to add to your learning 2.0 collection).
3. Add friends/contacts, join a group and add any applications you like.
Some people like adding applications, join every group they can possibly find and send lots of invitations to you. Others just have their basic profile and don’t do much more with their account. It is completely up to you.
Each site has their advantages and disadvantages – if you are not using any of them at the moment, it’s worth taking a look at a couple to see what you think.
How libraries/universities are using social networking sites
There are loads of examples of libraries and higher education institutions using social networking sites in various ways. This could be to set up an institutional network, such as the University of Wales at Newport who have a Ning site up and running as do the University of Bradford, or creating a library catalogue search option, such as the World Cat search for their facebook application.
As there’s such a variety of options this week – we haven’t always given you more than one activity in each section, as there will be enough there to keep you going and hope that this may give you time to explore some other areas too.
Set up your own personalised homepage in iGoogle, MyYahoo, Netvibes or Pageflakes. Add some (gadgets, widgets, flakes, modules) including (if possible) one of the tools you have discovered so far in the Learning 2.0 programme (such as an RSS feed, your email account, your del.icio.us bookmarks, your Flickr photos).
If you want some extra guidance on setting up your homepage check out these videos:
1. Blog about what you think the potential is for providing services via mobile phones to library users in the next couple of years. Next, find out about how one of the technologies you have learned about so far in the Learning 2.0 programme is being provided via mobile phone.
2. Take a photo with your mobile phone and upload it to your blog. As an optional extra try looking at a website via your mobile phone and blog about the experience (and it’s success or failure).
1. Go to Google docs and sign in with your Google account details (if you haven’t already got a Google account, you will need to create one).
2. Create a new document or upload an existing document.
3. Share this document with others – ask them to make changes to the document.