Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Network Literacy

Image from Pixabay CC0

In 1994 I was a young graduate who worked in a university library, full of books, microfiche and CD-ROMs. I taught Information and research skills classes but network literacy was unheard of. In my spare time I went to the cinema to see Four Weddings and a Funeral, bought compact discs from JB Hi Fi and anticipated new episodes of Friends on the television. I did not have a mobile telephone and although a new web browser, Mosaic was launched that year, I was yet to experience the world wide web.

This is the same year Charles McClure wrote about network literacy. He could see that the the new “network of networks” would require new skills to use electronic information effectively (1994). He was concerned that individuals who were network illiterate would be disadvantaged and become second class citizens. He proposed that people should understand how networked information occurs, know how to access it, manipulate it and analyse it for personal and professional life.

Fast forward seventeen years and Howard Rheingold is using YouTube to talk about network literacy. Like McClure, Rheingold believes people need to understand network architecture and how they work technically. The rest of Rheingold’s views on network literacy differ from McClure’s because of the growth of the internet and the impact social networks have had. Rheingold emphasises the socially networked world that involves collaboration and sharing. Network literacy allows people to form groups, participate and innovate (2011).

Though McClure and Rheingold’s definitions differ due to the evolution of networks, both agree that network literacy involves knowledge and skills that are essential for twenty-first century literacy. Without network literacy, individuals risk being excluded from society and unable to benefit from social capital through online social networking (Pegrum, 2010).

As I have grown as an adult, so have the networks that I use. Although my library training was in the pre-internet era, it instilled in me skills that have helped me adapt and be open to new network experiences.


McClure, C. R. (1994). Network literacy: A role for libraries? Information Technology and Libraries, 13(2), 115-125. Retrieved from

Pegrum, M. (2010). ‘I Link, Therefore I Am’: Network literacy as a core digital literacy. In E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(4), 346-354.

Rheingold, H. (2011, February 13). Network literacy part 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2011, February 13). Network literacy part 2[Video file]. Retrieved from


Social Media and Educational Networking

Today I wanted to learn more about the new Victorian Curriculum for years Foundation to ten. I knew that there had been a conference conducted recently by the School Library Association of Victoria so I checked their homepage and found a Storify of the tweets from the conference. Thanks to those at the conference who were willing to share their learning using the hashtag #slavconf, the tweets gave me a good overview of the conference and some additional resources to explore.

Twitter chats are another source of learning that I would like to get more involved in. On Sunday evenings #AussieED is frequented by some of my fellow CSU class mates. By following @aussieED you learn about other global Twitter chats too. If the time difference is a problem you can follow the chat hashtag at a more convenient time and connect asynchronously.

Students at my senior secondary school could use Twitter in a similar way to either follow hashtags or participate in a teacher organised chat with other students locally or globally. I know that the Politics teacher has already made Twitter part of her class’ digital learning environment. The class shares resources and insights with each other and their teacher but they could extend their learning further by connecting globally with other students.


Social Networking for Information Professionals – Assessment 4

Evaluative Report – Part A

The online journal tasks used for this evaluative report are Library 2.0, Second Life and Social networking for libraries.

The emergence of social networking technologies has significantly altered the way people communicate and connect with each other. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, are online spaces where people with common interests can interact whereas social media sites, such as YouTube and Flickr, allow people to share the content they create (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, & Jenkins, 2007). The internet has moved “beyond linking and clicking to creating, sharing and collaborating” (Khosrow-Pour, 2013, p. 975). This social network aspect is commonly referred to as web 2.0.

Ubiquitous access to computers and mobile technology has increased participation in online spaces. Commerce, government, education and libraries are able to harness the affordances of Web 2.0 technologies and the accompanying principles of collaboration, conversation, community and content creation. While some educators and library professionals may be sceptical, “Web 2.0 characteristics support the principles of good teaching and learning – active participation and collaboration” (Berger, 2010, p. 14).

Virtual environments, simulations and laboratories provide opportunities for authentic learning, augmented reality and collaboration. With Second Life, Linden Labs pioneered multi-user virtual environments and “brought graphically rich simulations out of the rarefied realms of defence and aerospace, and made them available to anybody with a moderate level of computer literacy” (Helmer, 2007, p. 13). Although not initially designed for education, the pre-existing environment and commitment to open source makes Second Life appealing for education and training purposes. Studies have found “immersion in a digital environment can enhance education in at least three ways: by enabling multiple perspectives, situated learning, and transfer” (Dede, 2009, p. 66). The sophisticated technological barriers to virtual learning are coming down “thanks to smartphones, immersive gaming software and other rapidly evolving technologies” (Waldrop, 2013, p. 268).

In response to Web 2.0, the concept of Library 2.0 was debated in 2005 but an exact definition was not determined. Despite this uncertainty, it is generally understood that “Library 2.0 requires an LIS professional that is better equipped and [more] broadly educated than one just ten years ago” (Partridge, Lee, & Munro, 2010, p. 316). Casey and Savastinuk assert “Library 2.0 should include three elements: constant change, giving library users control through participatory, user-driven services and implementing these to improve and reach out to both present and potential users” (Anttiroiko & Savolainen, 2011, p. 91). Mobile devices, blogs, curation tools, video sharing sites, photo sharing sites, Twitter and Facebook are significant in many people’s lives so “ideally, libraries will match these evolving options to their user’s technology preferences and information seeking behaviours so they can provide optimal user experience” (Hofschire & Wanucha, 2014, p. 9).

According to the Pew Research Centre, 74% of adults use a social networking site and 71% of teens use more than one social network site (Lenhart, 2015). These statistics confirm that libraries should be exploring, planning and working towards developing policies for social networking and social media. Nevertheless, technology should not be the only driver “when thinking about ways to work toward Library 2.0, consider what services your library already offers that could be improved as well as new things that can be added” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2010, para 22). This mirrors some key advice Meredith Farkas gave in the video, Building Academic Library 2.0 (2007). Farkas says it is important not to focus just on technology or to abandon those that do not use technology. Used in combination; social networking, social media and print can reach different audiences. Existing collections can be highlighted and Web 2.0 “seeks to harness our customer’s knowledge to supplement and improve library services” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2010, para 11). An example of this would be using Flickr and utilising crowd sourcing to tag images for an historical collection. With ongoing evaluation and adaptation, organisations and libraries can leverage these social spaces and tools effectively to extend their reach, to communicate, to connect, to interact and to advertise.

The concepts behind social networking are not new. Seeking out others with shared interests and building communities predates technology. “Social sites do not just have various social features; their essence is social. Their central value is as a platform, their functions are social and they enable personal and group connections at levels never before seen in the history of telecommunications.” (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, & Jenkins, 2007, p. 2-2).


Anttiroiko, A., & Savolainen, R. (2011). Towards Library 2.0: The adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in public libraries. Libri, 61(June), 87-99. doi: 10.1515/libr.2011.008

Berger, P. (2010). Student inquiry and web 2.0. School Library Monthly, XXVI(5), 14-17. Retrieved from;dn=417726303660617;res=IELAPA

Byrne, A. (2008). Web 2.0 strategy in libraries and information services. The Australian Library Journal, 57(4), 365-376. Retrieved from;dn=417726303660617;res=IELAPA

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library. Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagment and learning. Science, 323(5910), 66-69. Retrieved from

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J., & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing, privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. Available from

Helmer, J. (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds Learning Light. Available from

Hofschire, L., & Wanucha, M. (2014). Public library websites and social media: what’s #trending now? Computers in Libraries, 34(8), 4-9. Retrieved from|A384780041&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&authCount=1#

Khosrow-Pour, M. (2013). Ww. In Dictionary of Information Science and Technology. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-2624-9.ch024

Lenhart, A. (2015). Teens, social media & technology overview 2015: Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Partridge, H., Lee, J., & Munro, C. (2010). Becoming “Librarian 2.0”: The skills, knowledge, and attributes required by library and information science professional in a Web 2.0 world (and beyond). Library Trends, 59(1-2), 315-333. Retrieved from

[UC Berkeley Events]. (2007). Building academic librarian 2.0 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Waldrop, M. (2013). The virtual lab. Nature, 499(7458), 268-270. Retrieved from

Reflective Statement – Part B 

I started Social Networking for Information Professionals as an active user of social networking and social media technologies.  As my time working in school libraries progressed, so did the internet. I had never given much thought to how the internet developed and went from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. This subject has given me an historical perspective of the internet and made me aware of significant shifts in technology. I now realise that I have continued to use Facebook because it allows me to connect and share my experiences with my personal network. I can also see the educational possibilities for Facebook through my involvement with the Social Networking for Information group.

Despite some concerns about privacy issues, I have been quite relaxed about providing personal details in order to use social networking and social media sites. The benefits of the sites often outweigh my reservations. I am cognoscente of my position as a teacher librarian and protect my privacy on Facebook and am conservative with my interactions with friends. I believe I have a better understanding of privacy issues and how the concept of privacy is changing, particularly for teenagers, in a networked world.

Social networking and social media are nodes in my professional learning network (PLN). I was initially skeptical of Twitter but have found it to be an extremely valuable tool for finding and sharing resources. My new goal is to start using Twitter to connect and become involved in conversations with other library professionals. For me this step requires a competency using Twitter and I think my confidence has grown in this area.

Prior to undertaking this subject I started a school library Twitter account. On reflection I took an ad hoc approach and did not listen or ask users what they wanted. I was not aware of the importance of having a strategy. This subject has exposed me to practical strategies, plans and policies from a variety of organisations and libraries that I will be able to adapt and implement in my school library. I am now in a much better position to formulate a social networking and social media plan for my school library and I understand that it is imperative to continually evaluate it using tools such as Twitter Analytics.

I have rediscovered and found new ways of using Flickr. Photography is a passion of mine so I use Flickr to showcase my photographs and be inspired by other photographers. Now that I understand the power of creative commons and crowd sourcing, I have started to use Flickr in new ways. I am eager to share this ethically responsible way of sourcing images with my students and colleagues. I will also consider sharing some of my own photographs using Creative Commons licenses.

As a teacher librarian I enjoy using curation tools for personal interests and to gather resources for the library. Visually appealing tools such as and Pinterest stole my attention away from Diigo. I am pleased to say that Diigo has returned to my professional toolkit since my return to formal study and I am finding it very useful. Apart from Feedly, I haven’t used many social new sites. I have added Nuzzle to my toolkit because it recommends articles from friends or people I network with. I still need some more convincing about the value of Reddit but I will not dismiss it until I have explored it further. I have been playing in the “sandbox” with curation tools and trying to see which are of most benefit to my PLN and which can make digital material more visible to my school community.

I have a gap in my knowledge with computer games and simulations so I tentatively stepped into the world of Second Life with Carole Gerts as my guide. I only scratched the surface and barely learned to how to walk during my sessions so I will need to spend more time within this world to become familiar. I am aware that I need to learn more about the educational applications of gaming and virtual learning. It is something that does not come naturally to me so it will require motivation on my part to broaden my knowledge, skills and experience.

Looking back at my first blog post, my expectations have been met by this subject. I have immersed myself, participated and extended my abilities in a constantly changing social networking environment.

flickr photo shared by Frau Hölle under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license