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(a recording of this session can be found at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/396476)

Intro to Social Networking

What is social networking?

socialnetworkinginplainenglish.png Social Networking in Plain English (start with a video...)

For more depth, try the Wikipedia article on social networking

A wide range of services - from simple, single-purpose applications, to monolithic all-in-one services.

Some examples (in no particular order)

  • Facebook (biggest mainstream social networking service at the moment, also known for Scrabble via scrabulous)
  • MySpace (social network; largely music driven. Plenty of bands.)
  • Nexopia (lots of kids there)
  • Ning ("vertical social networks" - start your own on any topic)
  • Flickr (photography community)
  • Twitter (microblogging / "what are you doing 'right now'?") - CommonCraft does Twitter too
  • del.icio.us (social bookmarking)
  • qmpeople (photos based social network)

And social networking is also much broader than the self-contained silo website

and it's growing pretty much exponentially, especially in Canada.

The Long Tail


Social? Really?

Sometimes, more social than anything else. For instance, most applications on Facebook are entirely silly and strictly aimed at social aspects of the service.


That's not necessarily a bad thing...


Map of self-identifying "edubloggers"


Facebook network of friends


Flickr contacts network


Twitter network


The Power of the Network

New Media Consortium - Horizon Report


The Horizon Reports are collaboratively authored by members of the New Media Consortium (and others who are non-members), initially gathering links via del.icio.us social bookmarking service and then collaborating on articles in wiki and other applications, eventually generating the final report in both web (comment-enabled) and print/pdf versions.

Jennifer Jones - Bellingham Technical College


Jennifer Jones' Network-enabled rise to power, fame and fortune through Viral Professional Development

Jen also documented how the people in her Network helped her learn, build, and implement meaningful change.

And a workshop on RSS that was put together in 15 minutes, with the help of the people in her Network.

Indian Fishermen (yes, you read that correctly)

Article in the Washington Post about how the fishing industry in India is being revolutionized by pervasive communication - in this case, cell phones being used from fishing boats to negotiate purchase of fish before returning to shore.

The anecdote of Indian fishermen using cell phones as a social commerce network


Social Networking is New

FALSE. This stuff has been around, in various forms, since long before the Internet.

Social Networking Will Change The World

FALSE. Although it can be an extremely powerful way of connecting people, it's just technology. People can change the world, websites can't.

Social Networking is a Waste of Time

FALSE. er. TRUE. well, maybe BOTH?

Social networking can look like a frivolous, banal waste of time. But the informal connections made between people through the various online services can become extremely powerful, and can act to amplify and extend highly effective and productive communities.

If I Join a Social Network, Everything Will Change

FALSE. Joining a social network is just creating an account on a server somewhere. In order for any change to happen, you need to be active. But this is true in real life as well...

But Social Networking is Cheating!

The whole Ryerson/Facebook brouhaha. Some student creates a group on Facebook to coordinate study groups and share information. And nearly gets expelled. Is this cheating? Is this new?

Social Networking and the Academic Library

What do Librarians think of FB, and what do students think about librarians on FB?

  • Librarians at George Washington University have had some success reaching students through FB. Takeaway from this report seems to be that it's great if the student asks to be your friend, but possibly a little weird the other way around. The relationship should exist beforehand.

Library uses of FB


  • Facebook Privacy Settings
  • Facebook Privacy Policy
  • Cornell Thoughts on Facebook
  • One of the questions around the privacy discussion during this session was whether one could create groups or lists in Facebook and somehow segregate areas in Facebook by group. It turns out that Facebook does have this function, though it is a bit basic right now. This video shows you where and how to create lists, and exclude certain areas of Facebook from those lists: View video

Other Links