INF506: A Delicious & Pinterest Reflection

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As the course draws to a close I feel that it is important to reflect on the social media tools that I have been using as a part of the course. I had been wanting to try Pinterest for a while so the course provided a good impetus to do so. I had long been urged to use Delicious by the teacher librarian at my school, but had found that I had just never had the time to set up an account so again, the course gave me good reason to do so.

Critically reflecting upon my Delicious experience first, I was initially skeptical as I feel that using the bookmarks tab was just as simple. However, I have really enjoyed and really benefitted from my experience using Delicious. It has not only been an excellent way to organise my bookmarks and familiarise me with the notion of tagging, it has also been very beneficial to share my bookmarks with others. Another great advantage has been bookmarking sites and blogs etc. for future use as I have often been pressed for time but have not wanted to lose some of the excellent resources I have found in my searches. As I have saved a lot of bookmarks on various topics I have found the ‘notes’ section extremely helpful as well as it has been an easy way of summarising articles to save me time scrolling through all my bookmarks looking for information. I have been conducting some research on the various uses of Delicious and Hines recommends setting up a staff wide Delicious account (2010).  When I return to the workplace, I am really excited about setting up a library staff Delicious account as a quick and simple way to share resources, instead of emailing resources back and forth like I have done in the past.

Turning next to my reflections of Pinterest, again, like Delicious, I have had positive experiences using this social media tool as well. I had always wanted to try using Pinterest as many of my friends have accounts. I like that it is a highly visual tool which allowed me to categorise information and add descriptions to the various images. I was also pleased to find that, most of the time, the pictures linked back to the original webpages from which they came, making it easier to refer back to the original site if needs be. I had initially thought that Pinterest was a site for women with ‘recipes, wedding dresses and braids’ (Popolo, 2013). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the social site is also ‘flooded with teachers, universities, designers, airlines, nonprofits, businesses, real estate brokers, and news outlets that have explored other ways to use Pinterest’ (Popolo, 2013). I also realised as part of my exploring that there were so many categories of boards that could be followed. I initially signed up to Pinterest thinking that I would use it for my hobbies, rather than work, but I can now see the value of Pinterest for information professionals as well and I am excited to continue using the social media site.

References:

Hines, K. (2010, October 11).How to use Delicious: The king of social bookmarking. Social Media Examiner: Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-delicious-social-bookmarking/

Popolo, M. (2013, April 23). How to use Pinterest for beginners. PCMag.com. Retrieved from http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2418047,00.asp

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INF506 Twitter and the Library

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As part of my studies for INF506 I have established a Twitter account and have enjoyed my experiences. I was initially skeptical of the educational benefits of Twitter as it limits users to 140 characters, what  meaningful things can students create with 140 characters? (As an English teacher I am forever encouraging students to write more, not less!)

However, in completing the course readings and through immersing myself in the technology, I have found some excellent uses for Twitter in an educational context. I now see the advantages to having a social networking site that is limited in characters as it is easy for students and teachers to stay informed about a multitude of topics. I was impressed with Valenza’s idea of using Twitter to ‘follow conversations about breaking issues in the news’ (2009). I thought this was an excellent point as I am often saddened about students lack of knowledge about current issues, so this idea is one that I will certainly be trying in the classroom. I am also enthused about Valenza’s idea as, through Twitter, students will not only be able to receive reports of breaking news but can follow conversations about such topics that may lead them to thinking more critically and to realise that there are often many perspectives involved in an issue.

Another idea presented by Valenza is that of using Twitter to ‘locate and contact experts’ (2009). Again this was something I had not thought of prior to completing this course and I think that it is a fantastic way to engage students in issues. I am also excited about using this idea as an English teacher, as I think it would be great for students to follow and contact authors. A while ago I had a year 7 class who kept asking me questions about the book that we were reading so I eventually sent the author an email, not expecting anything to come of it. Well, the author contacted me back with a great email answering the many questions I had sent her. I read the email to the year 7 class and they were absolutely delighted, not only to have their questions answered but to have received an email from an author. It made reading a much more personal experience and I am excited about using Twitter in this regard.

This course has opened my eyes to the many educational benefits that can be gained from using social media and it has encouraged me to keep researching and exploring.

References:

Valenza, J. (27 September, 2009). 14 ways K-12 librarians can teach social media. Tech & Learning: Ideas and Tools for Ed Tech Leaders.

OLJ Task: Authentic Information in a Socially Networked World

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Task: Based on your readings on issues related to finding authentic information within a socially networked world, identify two essential take-home messages that you believe will inform your work as an information professional.

Based on the readings, the first essential take-home message for me is one that relates to spam. It is clear from the readings that spam is an increasing issue and can adopt new formats in social network sites such as Twitter. Yardi, Romero, Schoenebeck and Boyd point to the effects that spammers can have in the Twitter universe by doing such things as retweeting and changing legitimate links to illegitimate ones (2010). The authors also make the point that spam accounts are hard to detect and that spammers ‘invest a lot of time in following other users (and hoping other users follow them back)’ (2010). This has two implications for me as an information professional working with young people. Firstly, when promoting library services in social network sites I need to be aware of spam accounts and what they are capable of. Secondly, in my experience, the young people I work with are very trusting online, so I need to better educate people about the dangers of spam (and other potentially serious consequences) of using social networking sites.

As a result of the readings, the second take-home message for me is one that relates to information literacy and critical thinking skills. Lorenzo writes of three primary skills that young people need; basic information technology skills, information literacy skills and critical thinking skills (2007, p.2). Lorenzo points to the fact that search engines are the most popular choice when looking for information and that young people ‘are at sea, drowning in a pool of information, looking for life preservers’ (2007, p.3). It is clear from this that guiding students when searching for and evaluating information is a critical need of learners today. Wittenberg adds to this message saying that librarians must see themselves as ‘partners’ with students when teaching students how to conduct research because students understand the ‘new ways in which people engage in research, communicate and learn’ (2007). Therefore the take-home message for me is two-fold; students need to better understand how to navigate the web and other sources when searching for and critically evaluating information. However, students may easily switch off if the teacher assumes the role of the all-knowing guide. Therefore, teachers must work together with students to better learn to navigate and evaluate the vast array of information that is now available at the click of a button.

References:

Yardi, S., Romero, D., Schoenebeck, G. & Boyd, D. (2010). Detecting spam in a Twitter network, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Available http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2793/2431

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the new education culture. (March). Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 10(1). Available  http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101

 

 

OLJ TASK: Identity, Privacy, Security & Trust

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Task: Based on your readings on issues related to online identity, privacy and/or trust, think about online identity in relation to both individuals and organisations:

What is important in terms of how we present and manage those identities online?

What can we share and what should we retain as private to the online world?

From completing the readings on the topic, it is clear that the presentation and management of online identities is an issue that is increasingly growing in importance. Looking at the topic from an organisational viewpoint (that being one of a library), managing identities on line is crucial. As the OCLC report states ‘respondents place a high importance on the ability to protect their identites and personal information on the internet’ (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins,2007). The report also states that over half of respondents feel that its important for the library to keep their personal information private’ (De Rosa et al., 2007). Therefore, it is important for libraries to have a privacy policy that is clearly visible to all patrons and to ensure that information is kept private.

Another concern that was raised in the report relates to managing identities online. One of the highest concerns for respondents was the issue of spam/advertising (De Rosa et al., 2007). Therefore, it is important that libraries present themselves as a useful service designed to meet user needs, rather than an organisation that is just trying to promote themselves with no heed to what users really want.

In regards to what we can share and what should remain private Raynes-Goldie raises some interesting points. The study speaks of ‘context-collision’ which results from ‘Facebook’s flattened friend hieracrhy'(2010). The study raised the concern of things like tagging people in photos and the privacy loopholes resulting in non-friends being able to view photo albums (2010). Therefore, in terms of what we should share, both people and organisations need to be mindful of what they may find themselves tagged in. As the author states ‘what is appropriate for a users’ friends to see may not be appropriate for their employer’ (2010). The article also recommends regularly cleaning your Facebook wall.

Harris also raises some salient points in terms of what should be shared and what should be kept private. The article recommends that firstly you should always follow education board policies (2010). Added to this Harris recommends avoiding ‘mixing personal and school profiles’ and that organisations should consider establishing an organisational profile (rather than a personal one) once principal approval has been sought (2010).

References:

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing_part3.pdf

Harris, C. (2010). Friend me?: School policy may address friending students online,School Library Journal, 1 April. Availablehttp://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6724235.html

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Available http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2775/2432