An online learning journal exploring social networking for information professionals and organizations.
This blog is a response to the question posed in the introductory module of INF 506:
How do the concepts and findings in these sections of the OCLC report reflect your view of the socially networked world in 2012?
When reading the introduction, my first reaction was that this piece was outdated. The social media scene described by the OCLC was five years ago, and now is completely different. The introduction mentions that internet users are becoming producers of information, soon to be the primary authors..of information on the world wide web (De Rosa, 2007). This prediction has now come to pass; user generated content is more common than ever before as user upload their own videos, music, photos and text. Mentions of ‘MySpace’ date the article as it is now seen by many as ‘dead’ social networking site. When the OCLC report introduction was written YouTube, MySpace and Facebook combined had over 350 million visits. Now Facebook alone has 850 million active users per month. Facebook and YouTube are now the second and third most visited sites on the web after Google (Bullas, 2012). At the time this introduction was written, there was little connection between information professionals and social networking. Now social networking has become a tool that is used by librarians worldwide for marketing, service provision, and professional development (see 100 Ways Librarians Use Social Media).
Despite its age, this article still raises some valid points about social networking today. Information privacy and trust are still key issues with social networking. I think however, that social networking has evolved information sharing and collaboration in our society. One example of this is the Creative Commons, formed to protect creators of content while at the same time allowing fair reuse, collaboration, and flexibility.
In the section, “Our Digital Lives” the OCLC makes a valid point that familiarity with the internet is growing (De Rosa, 2007). It is no longer just a tool for the younger generation, but a tool used by people of different backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities. They propose this this familiarity with the internet marks a change in the way people use it from exploration to creation and contribution. This prediction seems partly true. Creation and contribution on the internet does seem to be growing, but exploration is still a major part of the online world. Daily I find myself trying new services online, checking out new websites, and I am still consistently finding new ways to use the web, even after having used it for over ten years.
I also agree with the OCLC report when they say social networking is not a new concept, it has just evolved in the digital world. In my previous post, ‘What is Social Networking?’ I make this same point.
Overall, although this report seems a bit outdated, it still makes valid points about social networking that are applicable in 2012.
FYI – If you want more statistics and infographics about social networking check out Jeff Bullas’s site, its brilliant!
De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC.