Week 2 – Online Communities

The first Online Community I joined was MySpace. I was pretty resistant about it at first, but am thankful I did. I would guess that was probably back in 2005 or 2006. Shortly after joining MySpace I signed up for Facebook, but never actually used it. I continued to use MySpace more and more as I found more friends from high school, work, and college. For the most part MySpace was just used for personal use. I had some people from work on it, but we didn’t share much work info at all. It was more of a way to share pictures, music, write comments, posts, etc.

In 2008 I bought a Blackberry Pearl. On my phone I was able to access MySpace and Facebook. The Facebook  accessibility and app were a lot better than the MySpace app so I quickly started using Facebook more and more. I was able to update my Facebook status very easily on my phone and also view other’s profiles. This is when I started switching from MySpace to Facebook. Now, I can’t even remember the last time I logged into MySpace and I haven’t updated my MySpace profile for months or possibly even a year.  One thing I am sad about is that I have some friends and family on Myspace that haven’t crossed over to Facebook, yet.

I love how I can use Facebook to connect with my friends and coworkers and how these two worlds have merged. A few weeks ago I had a high school friend ask me to help her find her a book at the library in the town where we grew up. Consequently, this library is one of the library’s our library system serves and I was able to easily help her. It felt so good!!! I had another friend ask me to help her find an author she might like. I was able to use Novelist to find read alikes and then share them with her on Facebook. I have also helped and received help from many in the library community.  At first I felt strange about my personal and work life merging so much, but now it feels good.  It feels great to help each other and also be involved with people’s lives through Facebook. I especially love seeing pictures of my friends and family as their families grow. Some of them I haven’t seen for years, but I feel in touch with them through Facebook.

My cell phones have also evolved. I went from a Blackberry Pearl to a Blackberry Curve and now have a Droid Eris. I love being able to check my Facebook and do so many other things on my phone. In the evenings I hardly get on a computer.  I love this since I am  basically on a computer all day at work.

For this lesson I joined Ning. Being used to Facebook, Ning took awhile to get used to. I think it is something I will continue to explore. There are some great communities on there. I look forward to exploring more of them especially the Library 2.0 Ning. It will be interesting to see what Online Communities we are using in 10 or 5 years and how we are using them.

Being a mentor for week 2 I also learned a bunch about Facebook.  One of the things I like about Facebook is how much customizable the privacy settings are.  Facebook has received a lot of flack about this with these recent changes, but I think it continues to work well.  When using an online community I think it’s important to keep yourself educated and in the know about what information is being shared with others and how your information is being protected.

As far as how our library system will use online communities, we currently have a Facebook Page. We have had it going for quite a while, but I hope to start getting better about keeping it up to date. There are other library systems I have become fans of and they are great at keeping their pages up to date. I hope to set some sort of a schedule or something to keep ours going. I don’t want it to be left out in the cold. One of the great things about this lesson is that we gained enough fans on Facebook on our SWKLS page to get our vanity url! Woo hoo!

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