Aaron Schmidt of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library talked about the incredible popularity of MySpace, which is really a blog. Despite its awkward design and its bugginess, it has created a sense of community that has drawn in teens and adults. In music, writing, art, and other fields, having a MySpace account is necessary for doing business. There was an article about the social software in the U.S. News & World Report’s September 10, 2006 issue.
He said that libraries need to have a MySpace presence to reach the teen community. To be responsible to the community, he recommended 1) developing a tips and tricks for safe use guidelines to be distributed to teens and 2) having a MySpace class for parents.
Cliff Landis of Valdosta State University Library spoke about FaceBook, which he uses to market library services.
Landis said FaceBook is strong on social networking, and many people join without ever really producing content. They need the membership to read others’ pages. He also pointed out that for some teens and twenty-somethings FaceBook messaging has replaced email.
The speaker would recommend using a library FaceBook account to direct people into the official library website, but the company has been disconnecting institutional services. The company says that FaceBook is for individuals and not companies or organizations. There is much inconsistency in applying these rules. In any case, he maintains a personal FaceBook account presenting himself to the students at his university as the reference librarian. He does show on his site photos of his hobby (some sort of playing with fire) to grab attention.