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Assessment 4 – Reflective Statement

As a social media user, I began this subject with a sound understanding of popular Social Networking Sites (SNS) such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. My goal initially for this subject was to understand ways to further engage these tools in the classroom and promote myself as an educator on these platforms (Maguire, 2018). Although looking back now on my first blog post, I realise that the assignment experiences and readings have led to deeper understandings that thankfully have exceeded my initial goals. This subject has enabled me to grasp a richer understanding of an individual’s private and public information seeking and producing spheres. By engaging in the readings, I have become more acutely aware of a socio-economic spectrum of attitudes with regards to the social media.

The concept of social networking is one that I have found to have a number of applications and affordances whilst simultaneously inherent with potential issues. I found the reading ‘Engineering Sociality in a Culture of Connectivity’ (Van Dijck, 2013) my first experience of an academic’s critical examination of social media, questioning the motives of larger SNS like Facebook. Van Dijck (2013) stated that “…commercial platforms introduced new modes of surveillance bartering privacy for the accumulation of social capital (p. 17). The idea of online privacy, meaning access to data, was a concept I had never entertained. Broeck, Poels and Walrave (2017) reinforced this notion outlining how large SNS seek to acquire user data, like a business asset, to target advertising and personalise a user’s experience online. I found myself gaining a new found respect for the terms and conditions I had always agreed to, and that the concept of data sovereignty is unlikely – unless an individual is informed and aware of current technologies and trends. I often reflected on my own willful or ignorant engagements online and questioned if I was giving up my own private data for the pursuit of online social capital – the answer… yes.

I realised I had adopted, without question, the attitude of social media being only a benevolent innovation. Hence, the concept of a socio-economic spectrum began to form, in this example I mean quite literally social affordances through to economic affordances. At one end of this spectrum are social ideologies that amplify the human connectedness that Lampe (2015) outlined as Homophily – where humans have an innate need to connect with and serve the intellectual, emotional and social needs of others. The other end of this spectrum amplifies the capitalist potential for SNS to serve the economic and visibility needs of individuals and organisations. The potential for exploitation at both ends of this spectrum requires the need for organisations to develop an information policy to ensure clarity surrounding the expectations, rights and responsibilities for both employers and employees (Hebblewhite, 2017).

By engaging within this subject I have been required to view the history of the internet from the first iteration of Tim Berners-Lee to current emerging technologies. The speed in which internet penetration and social media use has impacted humankind (Kemp, 2018) has me awestruck. The speed in which Facebook had surpassed 50 million users in approximately 3-months verses television reaching this level of engagement in 13-years (Long Doggers, 2017) supports the idea that we are currently living through a ‘digital era. Adner and Kapoor (2016) believe that a unique ecosystem has been achieved where technology and innovation are no longer impeded by each other, they now complement each other in a way that is driving transformational change to industry – especially education.

However, the ‘digital era’ has implications for educators in that technology is evolving at a faster rate then educators can adapt. For Assignment 3, ‘Wake the Network’ was a project that attempted to address this issue within my context. It was my first insight into the necessary planning of a social media project that aimed to identify and meet the information needs of a group of professionals. I was introduced to the concept of a return on investment (ROI) and exposed to the project planning approach that is guided by strategic measures of development (Crumpton & White, 2016). I was exposed to a number of data capturing and analytic tools that exist within SNS to formulate a metric that aimed to track a ROI for my project. However, it wasn’t until completing this assignment that my initial planning incorporated too many platforms and that I needed to be fully present on one platform to primarily engage as opposed to attract users (Weise, 2017). I did, however, feel that my initial goal, was addressed in this assignment in that I had found a number of tools and ways to confidently and purposefully engage with my professional network, not to mention the addition of Nuzzel and Reddit as bookmarks within my browser.

Initially, I found that the content within this subject with regards to social media balanced in viewpoints, however, the concept of a library I felt was biased towards maintaining a libraries relevance within society. Although, after engaging with the activities and readings, I realised that the development of Web 2.0 and social networking technologies was not so much competition for libraries, but more so an opportunity to provide service and expertise to more users in new ways (Miller, 2005). The ways that libraries utilise social media to engaging users online to communicate, respond to feedback, advertise and understand users (Burkhardt, 2009) provided me with a lense to also evaluate that way many other organisations establish a presence online. When applied to the CSU and my local Penrith Council library, it was clear that CSU had established an online presence that contributed content to further engage users (Casey &Savastinuk, 2010). However, the most important activity that I undertook throughout this subject was visiting the Penrith Council Library with my wife and two-year-old daughter. The physical library has made visiting an engaging experience for all age groups and information needs. Children had sectioned off areas to engage in sensory activities surrounded by children’s literature. My wife had explored content to support her own working context and I walked the aisles in a reflective state. After engaging and learning so deeply about information access in a networked world, the simplicity, function and authority of information within traditional library books were romantically remembered. The ever-changing landscape of technology and social media will drive the need for libraries to establish a meaningful presence (Orzechowski, 2017). In conclusion, if meaningful, human-centred agendas drive the library innovations the role of the information professional will continue to serve individual and organisational transformations into the 21-century.


Image Credit: magicatwork, Social Media, flickr, CC BY 2.0

Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four Reasons Libraries Should be on Social Media. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from

Casey, M., & Savastinuk, L. (2010, May 21). Library 2.0 – Library Journal. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from

Crumpton, M. A., & White, P. B. (2016). Connecting real learning with social media ROI. The Bottom Line, 29(1), 2-11

Hebblewhite, N. (2017). Implementing an effective social media policy. Governance Directions, 69(3), 167-169.

Kemp, S. (2018, January 30). Digital in 2018: World’s internet users pass the 4 billion mark – We Are Social. (2018). We Are Social. Retrieved 15 May 2018, from

Long Doggers. (2017, January 12). The Social Media Revolution 2017. (Video File). Retrieved 12 May 2018, from

Maguire, C. (2018 March 4). OLJ Creation and First Entry for INF506 – ‘The Lifelong Learning Blog’ by Chris Maguire. (2018). Retrieved 20 May 2018, from

Miller, P. (2005, October 30). Web 2.0: Building the New Library | Ariadne. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from

Orzechowski, V. (2017, January 10). #NoFilter: Social Media Content Ideas for Libraries – LITA Blog. Retrieved March 16, 2018, from

Wiese, M. (2017). 99% of companies waste their time on social media- Marketing CoPilot. Marketing Copilot. Retrieved 19 May 2018, from






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