Evaluative Report

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This post, as my last one for INF206, is in two parts: Firstly I will provide an evaluative statement using three of my blog posts which will be followed by a reflective statement on my development as a social networker…

a) Evaluative Statement

  • My post on “Second Life” describes my experience in the virtual world that is Second Life! I posted that when I first entered Second Life, I was scared and not particularly positive about the ability of Second life to meet the needs of libraries. As stated in my post, experiencing Second Life as I did changed my perspective and I can see a lot of value for such a “tool” within libraries (or any realm providing information/learning experiences). This post shows how, through engagement with a technology, we can better evaluate its effectiveness to meet our objectives. This is particularly important as librarians in the web connected era in which we find ourselves.  Virtual Worlds can open the doors to the library as never before, but they can be filled with dangers that libraries need to try to mitigate. Part of the way libraries can do this is to ensure that the link to their ‘region’ is always up-to-date. This may not always be possible, but due to the size of virtual worlds it is important. Alternatively, the library could put themselves in a PG virtual world like jokaydiaGRID. As Kevin Kelly(2009) said: “We have to use things in order to find out about them … we actually have to engage with technology. The only way we can determine if something is good for us or bad for us is through use.”
  • The post about the Arizona State University Library YouTube Channel discusses how one library is interacting with Web 2.0. It also discusses this interaction with reference to the ‘4C’s’ of Social Media and shows how difficult it is to fully achieve all four ‘C’s’. The key here is the collaborative nature of social media. Not only is Web 2.0 about having a web presence, it’s about two-way communication and collaboration. This post confirms this: Arizona State University has a positive web presence, but does not fully utilise the possibilities of social media by enabling the co-creation of content. Here is the key for Librarian 2.0: Collaboration. With the introduction of Web 2.0, the one-way conversation was relegated to the background as irrelevant. It is not what users want. As I have said a number of times on this blog; we, as information professionals, need to be where our users are remembering what Wallace and Bathur noted: “[p]ublic libraries are no longer solely store houses of information. They play an important educational, cultural and social role within the community” (Wallace and Bathur, 2007, p.18-19). Finally, as Meredith Farkas (2007) said in Building Academic Library 2.0: we are part of an evolution, not a revolution! The Arizona State University Library has made a start and certainly provides an excellent example of how libraries can engage with the community using Web 2.0 tools.
  • The final post I will look at is the one titled 5 Social Media Policy Resources. I am a fan of policies because of the direction they can offer and this post provides a number of useful resources for writing social media policy. As I do not yet work in a library, or the information profession, I found this blog task somewhat difficult, but certainly very useful and as the task asked for only five resources, it made me really consider the usefulness of the resources selected. The ones that I have found and posted reflect my current situation – someone who is looking to work in libraries and appreciates the value of social media, but who also understands the negative potential of using the technologies. Focusing on policy assists in minimising some of those concerns whilst encouraging the use of them. All of the resources I have selected have something different to offer a policy writer in regards to content, intent and legal requirements of a social media policy. The world of Web 2.0 blurs the barriers between professional and personal: for example, before social media, people would have conversations that were limited in their reach so if someone wanted to complain about their boss or their customers they could do so in relative safety but in the world of social media, that apparently ‘private’ conversation just became global – even if we think that we have only communicated with ‘friends’. Written social media policies assist employees and library users to navigate the murkiness of social media to minimise the potential negatives and maximise the absolute positives.

b) Reflective Statement

This subject has been one of the more enlightening subjects thus far in my journey with CSU. I have been a little slow adopting some social networking technologies and a poor user of other social networking technologies. I have been a member of LinkedIn for 2.5 years and have never really connected with it. I was on Facebook for 3 years before I really started using it for connecting with people and I joined Twitter in 2011 and only really began using it during this subject! I now have a HootSuite account to manage my Twitter and Facebook interactions (and monitor my blog and LinkedIn account) and I have a Feedly account to aggregate my RSS feeds (I did investigate Flipbook but I found it a little difficult to use).

RSS has been a major eye opener for me in this subject. As I noted in my two-part RSS post (Part 1, Part 2) I didn’t see what the difference was between Twitter and RSS. Now I know, there is no going back! I am slowly building my RSS ‘library’ of feeds related to libraries, archives, politics and other ‘fun’ stuff! I now don’t like it if I can’t subscribe to an RSS feed!

I stated above that I currently use both HootSuite and Feedly. I know that HootSuite can manage RSS feeds, but there are two reasons I have chosen a separate RSS reader:

  1. Feedly can be downloaded to my iPad and mobile phone as an app making access easier and
  2. The Feedly interface is quite nice and makes reading the feeds much more comfortable.

I also really enjoy using Twitter and now I understand the #hashtag concept I can search for topics that interest me and, as a result, publish more meaningful tweets. I also now understand that I don’t have to follow someone to reply to a tweet, or to send them a tweet so I can get involved in a conversation but not necessarily with the ‘person’.

I have also experienced the value of virtual worlds through the visits to Second Life. Again, I was very wary and quite sceptical of the value of virtual worlds to libraries and now I have told the story of my experiences to some educators I know who are now looking at how they can incorporate the use of virtual worlds in their work. I have learnt a lot through the Second Life visits and I keep thinking about how it can be used and look forward to being able to more fully explore this aspect of Web 2.0 when I have completed my degree and begin working in the library profession. I would like to say again, as I did in my post about Second Life, that without good direction, Second Life is a very scary place and one thing I have learnt is the value of Second Life tours, hand holding during the learning phase and ensuring that people have a ‘safe’ place to go to when on Second Life.

The work we did on policy was really good – as I stated in my posts, I am currently employed outside of the information profession and while some of the tasks were a little difficult to fully grasp, the ones around policy are really pertinent. I now feel comfortable looking at social media policies and considering which parts could possibly fit with a future employer. I would also be comfortable engaging in a discussion about the value of a given policy.

Utecht (2008) discussed immersion, evaluation, know it all, perspective and balance in regards to developing a Personal Learning Network and I am currently between immersion and evaluation. I struggle with the idea of balance at the moment as I have other responsibilities on top of my study, but I have printed out Nielsen’s (2008) five ways to build your PLN. I intend to keep this with me as I further engage with social networking technologies.

I now see myself, not as someone who is necessarily competent with social networking technologies, but certainly as someone who is more willing to investigate them and evaluate their value for me personally and professionally. I have gained a lot of confidence in my ability to explore and use new technologies and my scepticism of these technologies is diminished. Certainly, as a result of my study in this subject, I feel I am well placed to help novice social media users explore their world using these technologies and am willing to infect them with my enthusiasm for social media, that I caught from INF206!

REFERENCES

Kelly, K. (2009, December 1). Penny Thoughts on the Technium. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeTEcwmfuu4

Librarians Association of the University of California, Berkeley Division (Producer). (2007, November 19). Building academic library 2.0 [Video]. Retrieved from       http://www.youtube.com/watch?=q_uOKFhoznI

Nielsen, L. (2008, October 12). 5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network [Web log post]. Retrieved January 31, from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com.au/2008/04/5-things-you-can-do-to-begin-developing.html

Utecht, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN adoption [Web log post]. Retrieved January 27, from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption

Wallace, M., and Bathur, L., (2007). Report to Finance, Ethics & Strategic Planning Committee. Retrieved from http://www1.waverley.nsw.gov.au/council/meetings/2007Minutes/0709/documents/LibraryFunding.pdf).

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5 Social Media Policy Resources

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Not working in a library (nor the information profession) at present, I wasn’t sure how to go about this task as it requested we consider resources relevant to our workplace. My workplace policy on social media is that we do not have company approved access to social media! However, I still thought it was a valuable exercise, so below are my five resources for Social Media Policy.

1. State Library of New South Wales. (2012). Social Media Policy.retrieved from http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/policies/docs/social_media_policy_v1.0_2012-10-24.pdf

  • This policy states that social media is about conversations and contains clear guidelines as to who the policy relates to and how it relates to them. It is quite an in-depth policy and not only details the responsibilities of different organisational roles within the library context, it also references applicable legislative and policy frameworks such as Federal and State laws.

2. Jones, J. A. (2012, February 9). 10 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy for your Business. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/10-tips-for-creating-a-social-media-policy-for-your-business/

  • Whilst this piece was not written specifically for libraries, it does give some good advice. Interestingly Jones refers to each tip as a strategy and I think this helps to remind us that the use of Social Media in business is a strategic decision and should be approached as such.

3. The University of Newcastle Australia. (2011). Social Media Communication Policy. Retrieved from http://www.newcastle.edu.au/policy/000953.html

  • This policy document provides clear statements about expected behaviour from both university staff and students. It also clearly references other applicable university policy documents. Finally, there is a very clear statement about the consequences of breaching the policy such as disciplinary action within the university or referral to a statutory authority.

4. State Records Authority New South Wales. (2010). Social Media Engagement Policy. Retrieved from http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/about-us/accessing-state-records-information/state-records-policy-documents-and-tabled-documents-1/social-media-engagement-policy

  • This policy provides staff with five key principles to follow when interacting on social media: Do not mix the professional and the personal in ways that might bring State Records into disrepute; Do not undermine your effectiveness at work; Do not imply State Records endorsement of your personal views; Do not disclose confidential information obtained at work; Be a Public Servant. It also references other applicable organisation policies. Whilst very succinct, it is still clear.

5. National Archives of Australia. (2013). Your social media policy – what about records? Retrieved from http://naa.gov.au/records-management/agency/digital/socialmedia/social-media-policy.aspx

  • This document provides Commonwealth agencies with advice on constructing a social media policy. There is a sample policy given and there is also a list of policy aspects that the Archives recommends in an ideal policy. It also clearly shows which other policies/protocols should be considered/referenced in a social media policy.

5 Keys to a Social Media Policy

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As I said in my post Did You Know 4.0 policy sets boundaries and expectations: Clear boundaries ensure users understand that there may be consequences to breaching them resulting in users, usually, abiding by them.

I see that five key points for libraries to consider in writing a Social Media Policy for employee use of Web 2.0 tools using company resources are:

  1. All employees need to be aware of the terms of use: of company computers, paid work time and company internet facilities. It is not unreasonable for employees to expect some level of restriction on their use of company assets. Further, the company can also be held accountable for staff behaviours if nothing is done to stop illegal behaviour (e.g. racism, sexism, etc.) that is being conducted on company assets.
  2. The Social Media Policy needs to be consistent with all other company policies. If all policies are consistent, then they are easier to remember and adhere to. So if the Computer Use policy states that employees are not allowed to access Facebook (for example) using work computers, then the Social Media Policy needs to state that only approved users will be given access to Facebook and that it must only be used for company business.
  3. There needs to be a clear understanding and statement around privacy: both operational and customers’ privacy. All organisations have information that they wish to keep private be that proprietary information or customer details or even personnel details. There are legal and moral obligations that need to be followed and these requirements need to be very clear.
  4. Be transparent: ensure that it is understood that full disclosure is important in comments. Insisting that employees disclose that they work for the organisation is good practice and enhances customer trust in the organisation. It should also be clear that such disclosure is not necessary in their personal networks.
  5. Be professional. This is important. At work, one is a professional and they must be expected to behave as a professional. This includes such behavoiurs as not arguing with customers or staff in public forums, not making negative comments about the organisation on Social Media, etc.

I choose these out of the myriad of possibilities as I see them as being quite broad but narrow enough to have meaning.

The Challenge of Finding Authentic Information …

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“… librarians and publishers need to adopt new perspectives on how they do their work. They must see themselves as researchers who play a role in leading innovation by responding to the preferences and needs of younger users. Rather than scolding students for using Myspace and Google for communication with peers and finding information, they should instead try to understand the processes at work, and define their roles more broadly as leaders who integrate an understanding of the user, the learning process, and the value of selectivity and editorial development of digital information. While this does not mean catering to every preference expressed by students, it does mean seeing users as partners who can lead innovation because they understand the new ways in which people engage in research, communicate, and learn.” (Wittenberg 2007)

I know that in an academic environment block quoting is not preferred, but I cannot say the above in a better way than Wittenberg!  This task has asked me to identify two take home messages from my readings. This one from Wittenberg is the first.

Rather than viewing web gathered information as ‘bad’ or ‘lazy’ we need to see it as a way into the learner’s mind. Again, as I have said in other posts, we need to be where the users are and they are online. If they will be using Wikipedia, then we need to use that as a learning opportunity for critical thinking activities. We also need to accept that Wikipedia may not be as inaccurate as some may think (see Giles, 2005).

Further to this is Lorenzo (2007) and the discussion about information fluency. Librarians are in the perfect position to ensure that users can effectively use new technologies, both physically and mentally. We need to be willing and available for those users that ask for help and those that don’t.

REFERENCES

Giles, J. (2005). Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature, 438(7070), 900-1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204565110?accountid=10344

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the new education culture. (March). Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 10(1). Retrieved from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101 

Identity, privacy, security and trust …

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Internet privacy – an oxymoron?

I often have a chuckle to myself when people talk about privacy and the internet – there is no privacy. Once something is posted, it is there. Essentially forever. However, it has been a long time since we (the general public) have had real privacy: Medicare cards, Tax file numbers, bank accounts for wages deposits these are all systems designed to track information about us and therefore open to exploitation. So whether the information about us is on the web, or on paper, it is possible for personal information to be discovered (See NT example, TAS example, VIC example as just a few more recent examples)

For me, privacy on the internet is more about my financial details, e.g. credit cards, and certain identity details such as birth date, etc. I guess this is what Raynes-Goldie (2010) referred to as informational privacy. It is difficult to never give any of this information out, but I carefully select who I give it to, to minimise my risk: As Raynes-Goldie (2010) points out, in some cases, the benefits of being on the web outweigh the risks.

To mitigate some of the more unflattering potential of a web presence, Pearson (2009) discusses the potential to control your online presence; to make you your brand. This is certainly one way to exercise what little control we have over the web, but I often consider that I am not the kind of person who needs to be discussing privacy and security on the web … it is younger people; the so-called digital natives,  whose living memory has been spent in the on-line environment. I fear that it is these people who are most at risk.

Not necessarily at risk right now but in time, when they begin looking for work, when they realise just how much of them is ‘out there’. And maybe they won’t fully appreciate the need to keep certain financial details private and this exposes them even further. I take what Raynes-Goldie says about better framing the privacy question but I found the statement in the conclusion very pertinent: “The full implications for privacy in the age of Facebook and social media are still unknown…”

REFERENCES

Pearson, J. (2009). Life as a dog: Personal identity and the internet. Meanjin, 68(2), 67-77. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=200906244;res=APAFT

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2775/2432 

Social Media Implications

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Whilst there are many, many implications for social media, I find myself continually drawn to the implications of privacy and the digital divide.

Privacy

Part of the issues around privacy in Australia is that there is no constitutional right to privacy – privacy is protected by law, but laws are changed by parliaments, not the people! So any discussion around privacy protection in Australia must remember that there are many laws relating to privacy protection, but no legal ‘rights’ to privacy. This situation makes decisions about what can and cannot be published on the web even more difficult because one needs to consider both State and Federal laws in relation to privacy as well as our obligations as signatories to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, (see article 12 of the declaration).

In Hodson’s 2006 paper “Archives on the Web: Unlocking Collections While Safeguarding Privacy“, Alan Westin is quoted as defining privacy as: “the claim of individuals, groups or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others.” Certainly we must ensure we comply with applicable laws, but Westin’s definition is a good starting place as it is clear and succinct.

In anything we as information professionals do, we need to remember that everyone’s privacy should be respected. It is not an easy task, but it is imperative.

Digital Divide

The digital divide is of interest to me as I grew up in a disadvantaged area in Sydney, NSW and I saw for myself what effect a lack of access to information can have on people. I was really pleased to read Jenkins’ white paper as it was made clear that providing some access is only the start of bridging the digital divide. It is so true that unless we also teach children how to be critical of what they see and read, then we are only doing half the job!

Children who have frequent access to the web can begin their critical learning much sooner than children who have infrequent access, so to truly bridge the divide we need to ensure full access to the internet and the web.

For me, full participation begins when one can access and assess the validity of information they are receiving.

REFERENCES

Hodson, S.S. (2006). Archives on the Web: Unlocking collections while safeguarding privacy, First Monday, 11(8), August. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_8/hodson/index.html

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

Did You Know 4.0

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In watching the video “Did you know 4.0” the speed with which change has occurred and is occurring becomes very apparent.

The five examples of ‘shifts’ that I saw on this video were:

  1. Traditional advertising revenue is down, with people being willing to pay for advertisement free programming
  2. Print news is in decline whilst online news reader use is on the rise
  3. Mobile device use is, essentially, ubiquitous – however people are still wary of making purchases on mobile phones
  4. People are engaging more with internet technologies and withdrawing from traditional services
  5. With all of this internet activity, malware and spam are on the rise.

Information policy needs to address these ‘shifts’ to ensure safety on the internet and survival of product. This video was made nine years after the ‘dot com crash’ and despite all the predictions of the internet being dead (this article gives a good history), it is in fact still thriving, still growing and still turning profits. And this is where the need for information policy comes in. An information policy gives direction: It gives everyone, including the organisation, boundaries and expectations, it helps you to know where you are going.

A clear information policy lets organisational internet users know what they can and cannot do: for example in my workplace (a multi-national steel manufacturer) all users of company computers are aware that the company filters the internet and allows only some people “full” internet access (which is still subject to the filtering tool). The reason for this filtering is to protect the company from viruses, malware, and even lawsuits (particularly with regard to harassment and discrimination). Many of us at work would really like to access Facebook during lunch, but we also accept that there is a reason for the restriction (not least of which is that Facebook has nothing to do with any of our jobs!).

I don’t see that there is any going back for the web, so meeting customers where they are at, i.e. the web, strengthens your organisational connection with them and having an information policy further strengthens that connection by qualifying the boundaries and stating the expectations of all users of an organisations information and information architecture.

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