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Facebook and more on Creating Identity in Social Networks

I’m having a hard time figuring out what this blog is for now. Or what the MS Library 2.0 Summit blog is for, or what I should put on Facebook, and how is my Twitter status different that my Facebook status (and it really is), and when or why I should log on to my Myspace account. This all comes up for me because my dear friend Thomas just shared this link with me, and I wanted to share it. But I wasn’t sure where to put it…hence my identity crisis. (Also, it is perfectly acceptable to give gifts, imho…and in Pattye’s).

10 Commandments of Facebook

The fact that I didn’t know where or with whom to share the above brings me back to my latest preoccupation…creating identity. Specifically how we create our identities in social networks. I suppose I’m having a bit of an identity crisis with this blog. So I’ve decided to examine what I’m doing and why I’m doing it there. Sort of an online navel-gazing activity. Where am I on the web and why. Who am I in these spaces? How are they different? So far, this is what I’ve come up with:

1) Personal MySpace: locked down, no identifying features, no new friends, some occasional confessional type poetry, sigh.

2) Work MySpace: pretty obscure, Library not supporting it, low priority, also getting slightly harrassed by strange person from a town 30 miles away

3) Facebook: work, family, friends, try to keep it decent and not weird, friends find it weird that I list in my interests Plant & Soil Science–but that’s my liaison dept at work (and my family does have a farm…). I have had to un-tag myself in pictures that were unbecoming, and I’ve become obsessed with all the privacy controls. Closest thing to really living my life online.

4) Twitter: true love? I follow people from Starkville randomly–I hunt them down using an RSS Feed from Twitter Search which looks for posts that include the word “Starkville” or “Mississippi State” (which people use frequently instead of MSU). I listen a lot, and I’m not really sure what to post. I only have a handful of “real” friends on Twitter. Mostly it’s an experiment for work…but I’m obsessed. Especially after Hurricane Gustav. This is the one I read even from my Blackberry…I feel like I have to keep up with what everyone is doing somehow. Like a never-ending TV sitcomitragedy.

5) FriendFeed: Mostly I stalk Steve Rubel. I read his entire Life Stream every day. But I actually read it in GoogleReader. I’ve also created FF “Rooms” for Agriculture feeds (not feed, lol) to add to the LibGuides we are developing. I’m sure I will find more to do with it, but I don’t really interact with it. I do have my life stream posted to this blog and on my Facebook page…so it’s aggregating my stuff for me.

6) GoogleReader: Holds my blogs, RSS feed goes into FriendFeed so I “broadcast” (if anyone was listening) what I think about the blogs I’m reading.

7) Delicious: Could not live without it. Could not switch to Chrome because I cannot live without it. The RSS also goes into my FriendFeed, as well as the items tagged “MSU” onto the MSU Libraries Fan Page. I rarely keep a tagged item private, and it’s a good record of what I do during the day.

8) Personal Flickr: Like Personal MySpace, totally hidden (I think). Largely because it consists of a repository of thousands of pictures of me and my best friends doing stupid things. Also some pictures of family unwrapping presents. And at least 500 pictures my 8 year old godson took of his shoes and the stairs and various food items when I went on a book tour with him and his mom. I have organized them as far as I had energy to do so, but I only have eight contacts. I rarely put anything up right now…no energy.

9) Work Flickr: Pictures of work stuff, my office, the campus, library-related trips or events, screen captures of my work blog, screen captures of my Facebook and Myspace privacy tutorials.

10) Work Blog: Slightly unstable (we’re working on it) Library 2.0 blog.

11) This Blog: Started out as a blog for my trip to India in August 2005, then about my move from Boston to Mississippi and small town life, then the community theater, then library 2.0-ish stuff, now…I’m not at all sure. Apparently things like this. Maybe.

I do almost nothing (except Twitter) from home.

That’s sort of it. Nothing else is particularly sticky right now.

Hmm…..

My 2.0 Sandbox: Follow My FriendFeed

Well, along the lines of both my conference topic of managing your identity in social networks, and revealing the contents of my 2.0 sandbox, here are my initial thoughts on FriendFeed. So the way it works–you can set up an account for yourself by putting all your personal RSS feeds in it. I’ve put all of my work-related RSS streams in it–from Google Reader, this blog, another blog, Twitter, Flickr, LibraryThing, etc. And after I’d done it, I liked the idea of being able to see everything I was doing. But, as with most things, I didn’t really get it right away…

Until I read Steve Rubel’s blog today, I didn’t realize that you could subscribe to other people’s “lifestreams”… Instead of reading Steve Rubel’s blog, he suggested that we just subscribe to his FriendFeed. Wow. You can subscribe to someone’s FriendFeed and follow everything they are doing on the web–their twitter, their blog, their del.icio.us bookmarks, items they’ve shared on Google Reader, articles they “digg”, books they add to LibraryThing, YouTube videos they upload or comment on, etc. Of course, it would have to be someone pretty interesting to want to know all of that about them. Like maybe your best friend. Or Steve Rubel, who is certain that FriendFeed will “Change Journalism, PR and Marketing.” Over the next several days he’s going to discuss his ideas about how FriendFeed offers an alternative way to get information from a trusted source–potentially replacing traditional news venues, etc.

You can also create “rooms” where folks of like interest share info about specific topics. A great one (especially for this blog!) is the FriendFeed Newsroom, where I discovered a way to get FriendFeed on your mobile device at FF-to-Go. (I’ve finally gotten a smartphone–though not the new iPhone 3G, which I may be regretting…)

So, I’ve got a FriendFeed, and you can follow it.

I’m not promising anything earth-shattering…I’m just playing in my sandbox for now. Looking for library applications…maybe a creating an “imaginary friend” feed for a subject librarian???

originally posted June 11, 2008.

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