Well friends, this is the final post for 9763. I have learned a lot about social media and libraries. I initially started out thinking that social media would have this evolutionary effect on libraries, hence my blog’s title and design. After 13 weeks I don’ think it is anything as drastic as that though.
I see these new modes of communication as supplementing what has come before them. Just as television did not replace the radio, Twitter is not going to replace email. The library can use these new tools to provide more services to their users and thus be a more usable and relevant organization. These social media tools can be used as methods of communication, service delivery modes, and resources for the library.
I think of all the tools we have explored, I see the most potential and use from RSS feeds, wikis, and Twitter. These tools allow people to stay informed on the information they want and to be able to collaborate on projects with others.
While adopting new tools is important for libraries, it is essential that it be done according to a specific policy. This is to ensure a focused vision as well as to protect the library from legal concerns. Any use of social media must also be evaluated periodically to ensure it is used effectively and efficiently, so that we don’t have a situation like this one. Also, different libraries have different clients and purposes. One tool that would be essential for a public library would be completely inappropriate in a legal library. These issues must be kept in mind when implementing any social media tools.
I can see a lot of potential with respect to these tools, but I can also see a lot of harm. Social media tools must be implemented in an appropriate and effective manner in order for their use to be justified. Well folks, thanks for following my musings on social media and the library during this term. I have learned a lot and I hope you enjoyed the journey with me!
This week we are focusing on online gaming and virtual worlds. Growing up, my family had various gaming systems which I played. However, as I got older I played less and less and read more and more. My siblings kept on gaming, so I have peripheral first-hand experience with the later systems, but I never really got into the more complicated games myself.
With respect to online gaming, I have never played any MMORPGs, like World of Warcraft, but I understand their appeal. I personally like RPGs and see the concept of a fantasy world that changes due to the actions of individuals all over the world as being quite interesting. A webseries I enjoy is The Guild, which follows a bunch of gamers as they play a game like WoW.
But a virtual world I can never comprehend is Second Life. Okay, it’s a virtual world. You can create things within it and communicate with others. But to what purpose? You create an avatar and spend money on clothes and interact with others. I’m sorry, but this just seems a bit too pathetic to me. The focus on it within our profession seems to me to just be another excuse for overly shy gaming nerds to stay indoors. “I don’t need to speak to others, since I can do a reference interview in Second Life! Isn’t that wonderful?!”…..ummm no…. go to work and talk to someone.
I see gaming as an area where public libraries can supplement their collection. Having books or cheat guides to games is an aspect of collection development in the teen section. Libraries can even collect games for various systems and allow them to circulate or allow users to play them in the library. The library I work at (Lambton County Library) sends a system and games to the branches for “teen game nights.”
So in the spirit of this week’s assignment I tried out Alan Wake on Xbox 360. It’s kind of like if Stephen King created a game, this would be it. My brother is a hardcore gamer and this is one of his favourites, so I decided to try. I enjoyed the plot and graphics, but the learning curve is very difficult. I find the concept of running around and moving my head with the joystick difficult, not to mention actually fighting the baddies. When the intense music starts and the controller starts to vibrate I cannot handle the stress. So, basically I tried it but then passed the controlled to my brother and watched him play it.
I can see the appeal of gaming and think that libraries should look to this aspect of their collections to attract and retain teen users.
Click here to listen to my podcast of this week’s blog.