communities


We’re kind of trapped (in a good way) in a social networking track here at bar camp day 2. I combined sessions with Sam Wallin — he wanted to discuss general social networks and how they relate to libraries. I wanted to talk about Facebook (and other apps) and what adoption of it (and related, heavily architected tools) means to info professionals.

SamWallin at InfoCamp Social Networking Session

Like Kathleen noted, lots of questions and few answers. I proposed that Facebook might become the killer app and that people will then use Facebook as kind of homebase or main tool (in some cases taking the place of other tools — email, IM, etc — at least in some contexts.), In such a situation, how does the “generic” or architected nature of the site impact the work that info pros can do to expidite the flow of information.

Again, not a lot of answers but a lot of disagreement with me. Many people felt that they don’t see facebook as the killer app — for that to happen there needs to be some way to separate personal and work lives (and separate the networks you belong to in those cases). And if you do separate those parts of your life, then the would shut down the ubiquitous nature of Facebook.

To some degree I can relate to that idea. I agree that you don’t want to do work networking on a site where you post photos of your drunken new years eve episode. I’m not sure if the answer is more social networks. Maybe it’s more thoughtful use of a main network where you limit what you share to make it appropriate for a broader group of users and then belong to special networks (or have a specialized blog or web page or usenetgroup or whatever) for your “fringe” activities.

I liked Justin’s philosophy — he doles out little “tidbits” of information on Facebook. People can learn a little bit more about him based on the groups he belongs to and how he interacts with those however they don’t get a lot of detail from his profile alone.

For what it’s worth, I’m willing to say I might be wrong on one count (at least). Facebook might not kill Linkedin (one of the many inflammatory things I said today). In fact, Linkedin may get stronger because it fills one of those fringe area needs I discuss above. For example you may say you are an interaction designer on your facebook profile, but may not want to throw in your resume or client list up there. Instead, you can let your Linked-in profile fill that need.

I’m not sure what all this means for me…I’ve got some more thinking to do. How about you?

Bob Boiko

Tim and I are at our second day of InfoCamp. Bob Boiko, teacher, consultant, business person, developer and information leader, is doing the opening session today. He’s pushing the crowd to really think about what tools we have in our toolboxes as information professionals. We have to think practically and concretely so we can understand our roles which will help us understand our value to an organization and can work successfully in an organization. He’s doing a great job of helping people to think about what they mean when they say, “I can help you find the information you need.” How is that helpful to your client? What concrete tools and skills are you bringing to your client?Since we’re in the Information Age, it only makes sense that information professionals lead the information age. There’s a lot of untapped value in information professionals as leaders.

Nick Finck at Info Camp

That’s me blowing the dust off this blog after a summer hiatus (as well as time spent on my bike blog.

Today, Kathleen and I are at InfoCamp, a conference designed to “cross pollinate” the information ecosystem (think: Information architects, librarians, usability pros, and other UX minded folks). I’m sure we’ll have something to talk about.

Right now we’re getting a key note from Nick Finck from Blue Flavor talking (mostly) about the role info pros can play in the growing mobile space.

Stay tuned!

Meredith Farkas wrote what looks to be a great book, Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication, and Community Online. I haven’t read it yet but it’s getting some good reviews. There are been some problems with the first print run, so general availability won’t be for a few weeks. (Amazon has one copy for $65!) I hope your library has ordered it already. Based on the quality of Meredith’s blog, it should be a good one.

Tim dutifully posted many, many months ago with his thoughts on Ranganathan. I can barely say the guy’s name, let alone contemplate further theorizing on and updating of his thoughts. I got so overwhelmed by the idea that I decided to wait to post until everyone was so desperate for more discussion on this blog that they didn’t care about whether I responded to Ranganathan or not. I think that time is here.

I’ve been taking an Online Communities class at school and a lot of what we’ve been discussing is what defines an online community. This is an interesting topic to me because I think communities are constantly shifting and its sometimes really difficult to determine who is in a community and who is not. And one person may think he or she is part of a community while another community member might not think so. This dynamic makes it hard to define an online community since it often means something different to everyone. So I’ve been trying to decide on the characteristics of a online community that need to be present in order for me to define it as an online community. Here’s what I think but I’d like to hear from others. An online community is a group of people:

1. with some notion of membership (possibly defined differently by different members)
2. with a shared purpose or goal
3. with communication among members
4. with a communication structure mediated by technology

What does the community think?