A final post

* Social media is a form of online communication that encourages interaction and commentary.
* Information is uploaded in ‘real time’; news can be almost instantaneous.
* There are various platforms – social networking, blogging, microblogging, photosharing, videosharing, etc.
* Content may be delivered in text, audio, photo, or video format (or any combination of these).

I can definitely see the positive benefit of an organisation or business (such as a library) using social media. It is another form of communication and in an ever increasing online world, it is a valid form of communication. A lot of libraries use social media in exciting and interesting ways; dealing effectively and professionally with the potential concerns of privacy, copyright and negative commentary.

It has been fantastic to learn about social media in its various formats; to see how people are communicating; and how 21st century libraries are utilising this technology to communicate, inform and interact with their patrons and the public in general. I feel confident now that if given the task in a library setting of having to use social media, I would be able to do this and I would enjoy it too!

Thanks …

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Video sharing

Video sharing is like photo sharing. Videos are uploaded to a host service such as YouTube . Like all social networking platforms, the viewer is able to post comments on the site. It’s all about interaction and communication … and watching videos …

I really enjoyed the commoncraft videos about social media. They were informative, simple and visual. Here is one of them…

Here is a video from one library’s YouTube website – ‘It’s Storytime’ and all so quiet (not a modern 21st century library, well, actually it is) …

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Gravatar

A Gravatar is a ‘globally recognised avatar (a graphic image or picture that represents a user)’. A gravitar is usually linked to the user’s email address and will be displayed, in the case of blogs, when a person writes a comment.

Here is my Gravatar …

fox

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Uploading a photo

Here is a photo that I have uploaded.

rocks_photo

Here’s how I did it… When I created a new post I clicked on the Visual tab in the top right hand corner of the Add New Post page. This allowed me to select a file to upload from my computer, alternatively I could have dragged a file onto the page. I have now selected the Text tab (which it defaults to), right next to the Visual tab to continue typing.

Publishing shortly…

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Photo sharing

There are social media platforms devoted specifically to sharing photos. Two of the main ones are Flickr and Pinterest . Sites such as these came about due to the rise in the popularity and affordability of digital cameras. People were looking for an easy way to share photos digitally.

These platforms exist as ‘image hosting websites’. Photos are uploaded to the chosen site and are then able to be shared by the user. Photos may be viewed by other people when using Flickr or Pinterest, depending on the privacy settings. To be able to upload images to a photo sharing site, you need to have an account.

Pinterest is a little different from Flickr (which seems to be a site for mainly uploading and organising photos). Pinterest is like photo scrapbooking. Users may use their own images, which they ‘pin’ to their ‘pinboard’ or they may pin images from other sources on the web. When an image is pinned from another source, the original site that it is taken from is credited on or near the image. Photos may be grouped in themed collections.

Care needs to be taken in reading and understanding the terms and conditions of the photo sharing platform chosen, especially in regards to copyright, which appears to be an area of confusion as to who actually owns the copyright to the photos posted. This may vary between the different photo sharing platforms. The rule of thumb would be to always seek permission if you wish to use a photo that is not your own.

As with all social media platforms, interaction and communication is an important aspect of photo sharing. Viewers are given the opportunity to comment on photos. One good example of a flickr site that engages with the public through commentary is the Blue Mountains City Library Local History site.
Here are two examples of how libraries use pinterest as a form of communication: New York Public Library and the Blue Mountains City Library .

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Microblogging

Microblogging is blogging with character limitations; A microblog is limited to 140 characters. Due to the character limitations, microblogs are short and sweet – being likened to phone texting. The benefit of microblogging is the availability of information in ‘real time’. A good example is that emergency services use microblogging as a valuable form of communication during disasters and crisis. Information can be spread very quickly through this form of social media.

There are a number of microblogging platforms, here a three: twitter , Friendfeed , and Oratweet .

When people use twitter, their microblogs are called ‘tweets’. A tweet can include links to other sites where the reader can find more detailed information about the tweeted topic. Video and photos may also be part of a tweet.

Unlike some other social networking forms, you can view other tweets without actually tweeting yourself. There is the option for a greater amount of anonymity with microblogging and control over the information or content received.

Here are a few libraries who use twitter as a form of communication with the public: National Library of Australia , State Library of NSW and The Blue Mountains City Library . Twitter may be used within a library: to inform people of events and general happenings in the library; to provide links to other interesting information, websites or articles; and to answer questions, enquiries or complaints posted by the public.

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Social networking

Social networking is a form of communication. Users can generate a community of ‘like-minded people’ who interact with each other through a social networking platform. Sharing information and ideas seems to be a strong focus and benefit of being a member of a social networking site as well as being able to comment on other people’s posts or pages. Information may be in the form of text, images (photographs), video or audio.

Social networking includes: online networks (e.g. Facebook, myspace), blogs (wordpress), and microblogs (twitter).

After having now learnt a little bit about what social networking is, I can see the benefits of using this form of communication for a business or organisation. More and more people are using some form of social media to communicate with others.

Libraries now use social media as a valid form of communicating with their patrons; letting them know of events that are on, good books to read, new books in the collection, podcasts, photographs, etc. This library facebook page is a good example of a library using different forms of social networking to communicate with their patrons, https://www.facebook.com/BlueMountainsCityLibrary .

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