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Posts tagged: Facebook Groups

Evolving Online

A month ago my best friend and roommate Kris started a blog and got onto Twitter. He is a procrastinating playwright, among other things (poet, cabaret artist, award-winning actor and director, teacher…), who is currently running away from a very fine play he has started called 10 Mile. He is a storyteller and general pontificator in the grandest Deep South tradition. Discovering a medium where it is permissable to not-edit and not-judge and not-worry about writing has been a watershed experience for him. He is committed to his blog with an energy and enthusiasm I have rarely seen, set free of the torment and conflict that accompanies other kinds of writing. And now he is linking to this blog on his site. Currently the link is titled “best librarian in the entire world (wide web),” and he is posting excerpts from my blog.

One of the things I struggle with is creating with and managing online identity, and subsequently privacy. I consider my online life to be largely a professional life, but as I said at CiL2009 on the Managing Identity on Social Networks panel, I believe it is not possible to truly separate the professional and personal. Generally my approach has been to use privacy settings and judicious boundaries to control my identity online. Perhaps it goes without saying that Kris has a vastly different idea of judicious.

So once again, I’m back at the drawing board. As his editor, I would never want to stifle his creativity. There isn’t really anything wrong at all with his blog or his right to mention me or our life in it. It’s just not what I expected. At the same time that Kris has come into his own online, my family has gained momentum on Facebook. I now have 18 people on my mother’s side alone on Facebook. That’s right. Eighteen people. It was one thing when my brother or sister-in-law made the occasional comment on my Facebook page. It’s an entirely different thing to have my mother, cousins, aunts and uncles omnipresent.

So I’m calling it a developmental challenge…and I’m testing out my theory that creating and managing identity online is a series of developmental challenges that are necessary for growth. I’m just not exactly certain what that involves.

One of the things I’ve learned is that there is a challenge to the real-life relationship that goes along with these online developments. I’ve had conversations with my mother about what I want people to see about me on my Facebook page. I helped calm her anxiety about the difference between her news feed and her Wall when unexpected things appeared. I even deleted a Wall comment from my aunt that I thought revealed too much information about my grandmother. Now we are all on a private family Facebook Group, where we can share pictures and stories without the world watching.

And Kris. The respect we have for each other in person extends to the online world. And why wouldn’t it? Protecting and nurturing his creativity is a mission I have taken on with joy and great relish. And he is inordinately proud of my work and would never ever want to embarrass me. So every day, just like with the rest of his work, he reads his blogs aloud to me when I get home. He looks for my reaction as his editor and his friend. But if he’s used my name or a story about me, he’s looking for something more. Really we are all working together to find our balance.

My 2.0 Sandbox: Migrating Facebook Groups to Facebook Pages.

Almost every speaker I’ve heard on the subject of training staff on how to use 2.0 technology for libraries talks about the need for a “sandbox”—a place for library workers to play, to learn about the technology, and then to imagine how it might be useful for the library. As the reference librarian at MSU tasked with exploring Emerging Technologies for Public Service applications, I realized yesterday that I’ve made my own sandbox. Or I’ve collected toys to play with anyway. I’ve added a “sandbox” section to my whiteboard of stuff to do (I’m a visual learner…lol). Looking at it, I thought that I could start a sandbox-ish meme in this blog to explore and share some of the technologies/ideas currently on my list.

The first idea on my list came because I learned recently that you could migrate your Facebook Group to a Facebook Page without losing subscribers (the Academy of American Poets sent a notification about this to their Facebook Group).

The MSU Libraries have a fairly successful Facebook Group, but Facebook Pages have advantages such as tracking page hits, directed advertising, etc. We made a Facebook Page for our annual Ragtime Festival this year, so we’ve dipped our toes in that water already. A transition like this is like an appealing prospect to consider. And in staying true to the sandbox idea, it is possible to create and work on a Facebook Page without making it public.

I haven’t yet started playing around with it, but I have started considering whether it would be useful and how it might work. I’ve emailed the information to our Library 2.0 Committee to get it on everyone’s radar. If we did something like this, planning for a transition like that would take careful consideration. We don’t want to lose any of our subscribers—we’ve worked hard over the past nine months to grow the group to its current level (200+ members!). Also, we would want to be sure we would not be losing any functionality. So far, it looks like we would be able to do everything we can currently do with a group. One feature of the Groups that has become important in the way we use Facebook is the ability to create events and invite the members of the group. From our experience with the Ragtime Festival, I know this feature remains largely the same.

In going forward, we would want to be sure we were also taking full advantage of what Facebook Pages have to offer. One advantage I’d like to explore is the ability to add RSS feeds to a Facebook Page. The Library maintains several RSS feeds, including those for our Podcasts. It would be great to find another location to promote our podcasting program. It is also possible to add some (though not all) Facebook Applications to a Page, which has a significant appeal, too.

Anyway, it’s on my list…anyone have any thoughts?!?

Originally posted May 15, 2008.

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