Friday, September 12, 2008

Blatant bystander at the Social Networking stop!

Ok...Social Networking sites! While I've heard all about them, been invited to join them, and seen how popular they are with the patrons who come into our library, they have not been something I have even entertained the idea of joining....

Why? I'm not entirely sure. I guess first and foremost, I am a fairly private person, and the thought of having information about 'me' out in the never never for all in sundry to see, does not please or excite me in any way, shape or form, despite assurances that limits are put in place etc. My immediate circle of close friends are also part of this culture, so it seems irrelevant to where I am at right now.

I'm also of the opinion that after entering the 4th decade of my life that I do not fall in to the target audience (18-35?) but perhaps that is just my perception rather than fact. I am still more than happy to contact my friends on an e-mail basis.

There is no doubt that sites such as Bebo, Facebook, MySpace are filling a void for many people but it remains to be seen if they will be a fixture or a fad in the long run... As far as our library environment is concerned, I would have no hesitation in agreeing that North Shore Libraries should follow in the footsteps of Rotorua Public Libraries, Auckland City Libraries and others, in regards to promoting this type of forum as part of our website, with the aim of capturing the interests of our teenage membership.

However, the success of the site will rely on the dedication of a 'savvy' team of people who will ensure that content is consistently current, fresh, interesting and interactive as there is nothing worse in this fickle world as boring, out of date and stale content that never changes! You must grab the attention of this demographic and make them want to return (and in this case...contribute!)

Ultimately, success will also be measured by the contributions that are made by the targeted audience. This was not consistently evident to me on the sites that I visited which suggested that some of them may be missing the mark as there were more entries made by staff than anyone else and sadly, even these contributions had not attracted comments from visitors which to me would feel rather like hitting my head against a brick wall...

Bringing the social networking element to a business environment is definitely a learning curve that many companies are embracing today which is commendable, but for me, I would far rather it stay in the business realm, than for it to become part of my personal life...

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