The Limits of Facebook

My library director was recently at a conference where social networking strategies were being discussed. I soon got an email about our strategy.

My gut said not to jump on this. I usually consult the organs when something new comes along (not that this is really new). The question I posed was, would you use join the library Facebook page? Nah, replied my gut. Actually, it was kind of an internal creaking sound.

Today I saw some evidence from the good folks at NCSU to back up my gut reaction:

“I don’t know,” one student said. “It doesn’t sound practical. It would be an extra step, an extra process.” Facebook is a social space for friends and peers. It’s not about studying, the students told us, and interacting with the library on Facebook feels uncomfortable and strange.

It turns out that we actually have 72 friends at my library on Facebook. I’m sure this is not alot and it would be nice to know, are these mostly faculty and staff. Anyway, that also confirms my suspicions.

Meanwhile, Twitter might be different. In fact, I could see this as an interesting content management tool for posting journal outages, hours updates, alerts. Gonna explore this soon in fact.

One anecdote on Twitter. We once spotted a student tweeting a FAIL library post. I tried to find out what the technical issues were she was experiencing but never received a response. I’m sure this launched her into the “uncomfortable and strange” realm where FB, et. al. should never tread. Point taken.


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