Activity 5 – Using Facebook and LinkedIn
It used to be that “networking” was a catchphrase for business types and motivational speakers. Every student organization meeting I ever attended during my undergrad years involved at least one mention of the term networking and how crucial it would be in our careers. Generally this meant going to meetings, workshops, seminars, etc. to hand out copies of resumes and/or business cards, and generally hob-nob with possible employers or “contacts”.
Social networking sites have changed all that. With sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, MySpace, Ning, and numerous others, it is fairly easy for anyone to establish an online presence and watch their network grow. Social media allows users to interact with individuals with similar interests and pursuits, possibly even making that crucial connection.
Using LinkedIn and Facebook for Information Literacy
Facebook can serve as a powerful medium through which to communicate with students/patrons and introduce them to materials and services available through the library, as well as a means through which to promote library events that provide information literacy instruction. I recently created a Facebook page for the library where I work; it is still in its inception, but I have taken to using the page to alert students about workshops, lectures, and other events that raise awareness of current issues. I plan on using the site to also present information on the various databases and resources that we offer, so that students are made aware of sources that they may overlook while visiting the library’s web page. The best part is that Facebook sends me regular updates on how many users have viewed posts made on the page, so I can learn more about the content that appeals to them and finds ways to use the site to learn about their needs (Facebook offers polling and commenting options that may work well for informal needs assessments, if enough followers are willing to participate).
Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn focuses on professional development rather than socialization. LinkedIn highlights personal and professional accomplishments, experience, and goals, and also provides apps through which to showcase projects and other items. While the site may be effective to connect with students and patrons through a group page, I find that the best use of LinkedIn with regards to Information Literacy Instruction is the ability to connect with members of professional organizations and others interested in ILI.