Monday, September 29, 2008

Social Confusion

There are so many online communities these days that I feel overwhelmed at the choices. FaceBook, MySpace, Third Life, the choices range from crass to scholarly to geeky. Yes, I do think online social networks are useful for the growing and expanding library of the future, but the issue of too many choices is one that will also have to be accounted for when creating or joining.

Oddly, one community I thought I would be introducing to our 26.2 Class was mentioned in Coach's post - Ravelry . Both my Assistant Director and Director of the library are members and just Friday introduced me to the wonders that it contains. Not only is it a great spot for knitters and crocheters, but if you're looking for a job or you're a librarian, there are sub-groups within Ravelry to set you up with job tips and leads as well as other knitting/crocheting librarians. How great!

My school currently uses an online platform called Moodle, which is like an online commmunity but also lets administrators and teachers keep track of grades and statistical information in addition to the social aspect. Not many teachers or students use it to my knowledge, but I see these free, open server options as the way of the future for libraries and other information sharing organizations. For one, this allows students to talk to other students and teachers for ideas, help, and just to stay connected outside of the classroom. Some of these platforms allow posting of work and examples, so sharing work inspires not only other students, but teachers who may be looking for new activity ideas. Another added benefit is having one central place that teachers and students could use as a repository for information and resources, school wide or class wide.

One other online community that I find interesting, but is unrelated to libraries and education is Etsy. I dislike shopping in malls or other crowded venues, so this online option of one-of-a-kind gifts with no hassle, time constraints, or crowded buildings was a great find for me. I have shop there though I have no posted items for sale at this point.

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