Category Archives: Social Software & Sites

15 Objections to Using Social Learning

Learning manager Kevin Jones offers insights and solutions for 15 Objections to using social learning. He writes: Non-Formal learning allows us to create information, share it with each other and collaborate. Information is no longer only funneled through traditional channels – the teacher, the trainer, the news media, the PR group. It now comes from everywhere – friends and foes.
What objections have you heard? How have you answered them?

Announcing All Together Now: Learning 2.0

Brian Kenney writes:

Have you heard of 23 Things, the self-guided program for learning about 2.0 web technology? It was developed by Helene Blowers a couple of years ago at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and since then has been adopted across the country by public and school libraries, districts, and even entire states. It consists of a number of “things,” or small exercises, that you do online to expand your knowledge of the 2.0 web and social networking, from blogs and podcasts to wikis and Twitter.

For a while now (and prodded by our Technology Editor, Kathy Ishizuka) I’ve realized it would be a great idea if all of us here at SLJ went through a “23 Things” like experience. After all, we are always writing about different 2.0 applications, shouldn’t we experience them as well? Walk the walk, talk the talk, and all of that…So I resolved that we’d do it this summer.

Then I got to thinking: if we’re going to do it, why not open it up and invite everyone to join us?

So that’s what we are going to do. But Iwe’re not going it alone; we’ve asked 2.0 guru, Dominican faculty member, and season trainer Michael Stephens to join us for the ride. Beginning Monday, July 21, Michael will author a blog here on that will lead us through the different exercises, offer guidance, answer questions, and even provide a little hand-holding. We’re calling it “All Together Now: A 2.0 Learning Experience.”

There’s no need to sign up–just show up. Again, we’ll begin on July 21 and wrap things up in early September. 

Have You Googled Your Library Recently?

If you haven’t, what you find may surprise you.  That man you saw earlier today picking up his holds may be thinking about writing a review that mentions how much he likes dropping by the library to grab his books and go.  The fact is our patrons, both the satisfied and dissatisfied, are talking about us in their blogs on review sites like Yelp.  These sites enable our customers to reach larger audiences than ever before, and to share what they like and dislike about the service provided.  This is something libraries should be thinking about and preparing for.

Once you’re aware of these review sites the library has some questions to answer.   Should the library join these sites and add reviews or other content?  Should the library respond to negative reviews, correct inaccurate information, and so on?  Who’ll be responsible for periodically checking these sites and what guidelines should they be working with.

I’d encourage libraries to consider adding content to review sites, especially in cases where the library hasn’t yet been reviewed.  These first reviews represent an opportunity to share services the library offers such as Wi-Fi, and virtual reference service.  Be up front about identifying yourself as the library and keep it brief.   Be factual and focus on services, let your customers be the ones to offer praise.

Libraries should consider carefully how or if they’ll respond to reviews.    My advice would be to let the community police itself and to have faith that the good service you provide will balance out the occasional poor review.  Yelp offers some good advicefor business owners that also applies to libraries.


Read the whole post here:

Thanks to Shanti at SJCPL for the link.

Merlin Mann on Loopt

I’ll give you a minute for that to sink in, because if you’re a connected person, you may want to ponder the consequences of unintentionally sending creepy bullshit to colleagues and business contacts who are too busy to care what you’re “geo-tagging” at a given time. I know, because I’m one of them. Hi.

I am still playing with Loopt but this post is food for thought. My updates (I’m at the corner of…. or I’m in Spider Lake…) go to trusted friends on Loopt but also to Facebook and Twitter. Hmmm…


David Warlick on the Profile

Profiles have great potential, writes David Warlick:

I’ve mentioned this in some of my presentations, that I do not believe that we – educators older than 30 (arbitrarily chosen age) – truly understand social networks yet.  For instance, we’re trying to grow individual and independent social networks out of every discipline, school level, and just about any other probable community of educational interest.  I’ll bet I’ve been contaced by e-mail or phone call by no fewer than ten people over the past month, each wanting me to see their social network.  “This social network is going to revolutionize physical education!”

What strikes me is that our students make it work with just one.  The three main choices, as far as I know, are MySpace, Bebo, and Facebook, the later seeming to be the one of choice at present.  So why didn’t we figure out how to use Facebook as the social network for NECC.  I looked there for a group for NECC.  I probably won’t do that again :-/

So, anyway, I keep wondering about this.  What’s the point, beyond costing time, which I guess many of our students have more to spend.  It seems to me, that the true potential for all of this, and something that I don’t even think Facebook has truly captured yet, is the profile.  What bothers me about social networks is that they have walls.  It’s a weekness of Ning, in my opinion, that there do not seem to be easy and logical ways for us to connect to each other, based on common interests, regardless of the networks we’ve joined.  There are certainly security issues.  But for me to learn, to grow, to solve problems, and accomplish goals, I need to connect to people and resources that help me do that.

Creating one profile that extends to all of my networks – to all of my spaces intrigues me. Is this the next step? One place? One profile? Many extensions?

Will all of these eventually be one:

You’ve Got a Friend

David Pogue writes:

A few months ago, I blogged about my mixed feelings toward Facebook, LinkedIn and the like. I get about 15 invitations a day, from people I don’t know, asking to be friends. It’s flattering, of course, but there’s an etiquette problem: Do I accept them all, just to be friendly — but thereby defeat the purpose of building a true social network? Or do I reject or ignore them, hurting their feelings and making me seem like an ingrate?

Little did I know that I’m not alone — and that my affliction actually has a name. It’s Social Networking Anxiety Disorder (SNAD), as I discovered in this tongue-in-cheek, but dead-on, blog post.

A Year in the Life (via iTunes)



A Year in the Life (via iTunes), originally uploaded by mstephens7.

When I do talks, I always try to relate changes in technology to how they can impact, enhance or chronicle people’s lives. I’ve been highlighting LastFM in The Hyperlinked Libraries and other presentations since 2006. I was pleased to discover a new site called lastgraph – which takes LastFM data and creates graphs and charts. 

Looking at the graph above, I can see major milestones in the last 12 months. It blows my mind how a “year in the life” can be represented by music tracks played, or by Flickr streams, by Facebook statuses, etc. I wonder what stories the graph will tell in ten years?

If you are so inclined to peruse my listening habits (including the huge Xanadu fixation last fall), here’s the full PDF of the graph: lastfmgraph


UK Study on Social Networks

Via Michael Casey:


The Ofcom report looks into the impact of social networks on people’s lives in the UK as part of a wider media literacy campaign and surveyed 5,000 adults and more than 3,000 children.

Its statistics suggest that around 19% of all UK youngsters have a presence on a social networking site.

“Social networks are clearly a very important part of people’s lives and are having an impact on how people live their lives,” said James Thickett, director of market research at Ofcom.


“Org Charts on their Sides”

Check out this article. Shouldn’t libraries be included in this equation?

Every Company Should Use Social Media | Employee Evolution

Social media is changing everything. Business Week recently published an article about the power of social media and how companies are beginning to embrace it, because they really don’t have a choice. Not everyone has a blog, or wants to blog, but you would be hard pressed to find many people who aren’t on some type of social network. Now it’s time for corporate America to follow suit and meet their potential customers on their own turf, or risk falling behind the times.

The article says, “It’s as if the walls around our companies are vanishing and old org charts are lying on their sides.”

This concluding section of the article is great:

Controlling the conversation

Social media is a constant conversation and because of this, business is now a constant conversation. It’s a comment string on Brazen Careerist, its someone’s Facebook wall, and it’s a Linked In recommendation. Someone, somewhere is out there talking about your company, and they can say whatever they want. All you can do is control the conversation.

Controlling the conversation does not mean telling people how to talk about your company or spamming a couple bloggers with job postings or company descriptions. It means creating a presence where you can initiate and continue a conversation.

What social media requires is authenticity, because even a newbie social media user can sniff out a phony quickly. But authentic conversation isn’t what most companies do naturally. So when corporations want to initiate a conversation, they have to find the right people, and they better empower those people to tell the truth, which isn’t always great news to deliver.

Starbucks is a great example. When things started going south, they publicly admitted to being at fault. They started a social networking site to ask for help from the customers. And we all remember when they shut down the stores across the country for an afternoon to address some fundamental problems. Smart decisions like that come when you take the time to start a conversation and then remember to listen, too.

It’s not easy. It takes a ton of time and it may even consist of a couple full time hires, but establishing a social media presence is worth it. Sooner or later every company will be actively using social media, but the trendsetters are the one’s who will get the most out of it. Don’t be left behind.

It fascinates me to see these discussions playing out in business, education, non-profits and more. Read the comments as well for more opinion and viewpoints.

Integrating Web 2.0 Technologies in the Instructional Process

Fred Stutzman writes:

For the past two semesters, I’ve taught a course on Online Social Networks at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science. It has been a great experience, and I’ve had an incredible bunch of students. This course has also been an experiment, both in subject matter and instructional technologies. Using Facebook,,YouTube and a wiki, we created courseware from Web 2.0 tools. Now that the course is over, I’ve had some time to reflect on the challenges, pros and cons of integrating these types of tools into instruction. Integrating Web 2.0 Technologies in the Instructional Process (download PDF) is an early manuscript documenting and reflecting on the process.

The manuscript is a case study of the integration; it combines a survey with analysis of some of the benefits, risks and challenges. I’ll be submitting the manuscript, but I wanted to post a draft here for other instructors. If you’re thinking about integrating Facebook into your course, or you’ve been paying attention to products like Blackboard Sync, this manuscript may be worth your time. This paper focuses on the contextual privacy issues of moving instruction into student spaces of sociality – a complex issue indeed.

I’m planning for two sections of LIS768 this fall. This draft article will be a great help in making sure I’m integrating the most useful technologies. Last semester I learned a lot about using to share/network — it didn’t work as well as I thought.

What did work were the student blogs. The occurrence of commenting and actual conversation was higher than it had ever been before. The caliber of posting was incredible.

I’m impressed as well with the high caliber of research coming out of the scholarly community around Web 2.0 and social networks.