Many academic and public libraries in the United States have been embracing the use of Web 2.0 and Social Networking tools to enhance services to library patrons as well as promote/market library events to new audiences.
Libraries have been implementing a wide variety of these tools but many are concentrating their efforts on the use of blogs, open source content management systems such as Joomla and Drupal, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, and many are also using Instant Messaging chat services such as Meebo to answer reference questions.
According to Wikipedia, “Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.”
The private sector industries that use Web 2.0 tools for marketing and public relations should be closely studied by librarians. Fifty-seven percent of respondents to a research study, New Media, New Influencers and Implications for Public Relations by the Society for New Communications Research said that “social media tools are becoming more valuable to their activities as more customers and influencers use them.”
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