This is actually a good time to go back and revisit social networking, since in the past few weeks you can’t throw a stick on the internet without hitting someone complaining about Facebook privacy issues. I’ve been a FB user for some time, and I’ve been surprised at how it’s grown just over the past four years – now it seems to be everywhere, trumping Friendster and MySpace and turning the once-pioneers into afterthoughts.
Facebook is popular because, of course, it works. You couldn’t ask for a cleaner, better-looking site (something the cluttered MySpace never quite got) and the concept of friending and joining groups is quick to pick up, making it accessible for those non tech-savvy.
Librarians and libraries have joined FB in droves, and it’s an ideal way to reach out to patrons, getting them aware of programs, giving out information and breaking news, and the like. It’s ubiquitiousness is the main reason why libraries can – and should – have a presence there; you have to go to where your patrons are.
Getting back to privacy, the library can even do a service to their followers on Facebook by giving patrons information on how to protect their privacy settings – reaching out to and helping them at the same time.