Final Thoughts

I came to this class at the beginning of the term knowing a lot about social media, and a fair amount about emerging technologies, but I wasn’t sure how they would be effectively used. I’ve seen many organizations (including my own employer) attempt to use tools like Facebook and Twitter, and either fail or at best have middling success. There have also been some great successes, but those have generally been marketing campaigns. Despite this, I wanted to be convinced that it could be done, and I think that by the end of this class I have been.

What I’ve really learned is that it isn’t about the tools themselves, but it is about the people behind them. These are social tools, so the motivation of those using them should be to create relationships and conversations. When they are used to simply blast information at people, that’s when they fail. So our job as librarians is to have a goal when we set out implementing new technologies. We need to ask questions like:

  1. Who do we want to reach?
  2. Why are we reaching out to them?
  3. What do we want to communicate to them?
  4. How do we engage them in meaningful conversation?
What struck me in the end, is these questions represent the same things that make Facebook so valuable between family and friends. In our personal lives, we have an audience that is important to us. We want to share moments and thoughts with these people, and so we reach out with comments, photos, updates, etc. In the end, if used effectively, we could potentially create really great relationships with our communities.
Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed this class and getting to know everyone. I’ll miss having the blog next term. Have a great holiday everyone!
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4 thoughts on “Final Thoughts

  1. Thanks, Tara. What you wrote makes me re-evaluate how I post at my library’s blog. Have I been the mass-media targeting a mass audience (and failing as Cluetrain said)? I shall have to try targeting upcoming posts with a particular patron in mind to see if that curries any responses instead.

  2. Great thoughts — I agree! When I was an undergrad back in the internet-boom days, all my web-savvy friends loved quoting Marshall McLuhan: “The medium is the message.” The web was going to change everything!

    And I think it did, but not in the ways we expected. It’s made connecting easier. It’s made people closer (I now can play Farmville with friends I haven’t spoken with in over 20 years!). The medium, it turns out, is just a medium. And that’s what makes it such a fantastic tool. :)

    • Exactly! I love how I can keep in touch with people from grade school that I haven’t seen since we’ve been adults, people who I may never have contacted again if it weren’t for the internet.

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