Monthly Archives: September 2012

The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world

The way in which users are connecting with information is constantly changing, new trends, apps etc. come out every day. Users are literally bombarded with information from an endless variety of places, but how are they to know what information is to be trusted? Lorenzo (2007, p.2) discusses people moving towards building “information fluency”, this refers to being proficient in three skills; “basic information technology skills (including computer literacy), information literacy skills, and critical thinking skills”. Wittenberg (2007) also discusses the credibility of information and what students need to accomplish this, she also posits the idea that the much-loved “peer review” system of the Academic world may be coming to an end. Garfinkel’s (2008, p.84) article supports Wittenberg’s theory through his discussions on Wikipedia being the primary source for information on the Internet. A large number of researchers cite it as background reading and Garfinkel confesses that the majority of the article was created using Wikipedia as the information resource (2008, p.84).

From reading these three articles I believe the following two messages are important:

1) Find new ways: No longer does there seem to be a hard and fast “right” way to find authentic content. We need to develop alternative ways of identifying or critically analysing information, more important than identifying these alternate avenues is finding a way to provide our clients with these skills. We cannot always be there with our clients, but by providing them with “information fluency” skills (Lorenzo, 2007, p.2) we enable them to locate and analyse resources on their own.

2) What is authentic? Or what is being now accepted as being authentic? The majority of information seekers now use Google as their first source of information (Kaur & Singh, 2011, p.738). When users are googling for answers more often than not Wikipedia articles are the first or second listed results. That these articles are so high in the results means they are frequently used (Garfinkel, 2008, p.84).

As a staff member of an Academic Library it is important for me to know whether if a lecturer will accept a student using Wikipedia, particularly if they can verify the information in a second source. Recently a student came into the Library for assistance with his referencing, it turned out he was having difficulty referencing a Facebook post using Harvard Author Date as he could find no reference to Social Media referencing on the guide. It seems that in some subjects Facebook is now acceptable as a resource.

 

References

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84.

Kiran Kaur, Diljit Singh, (2011),”Customer service for academic library users on the web”, The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 Iss: 6 pp. 737 – 750

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 Electornic Publishing, 10(1). Available http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101

 

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Building a marketing strategy for Social Media

Social Media is a form of online media that promote participation, openness, conversation, community and connectedness (Mayfield, 2008). A good example is Facebook which is the most popular social networking technology in Australia (Cowling, 2012). Facebook currently corners the social networking market and has also gained popularity as a marketing and client interaction tool by libraries (Jacobsen, 2011, p.79). Through Facebook organisations can promote themselves via posts, photos and sharing videos, they can interact with clients in a social space and, due to the popularity of Facebook, potentially enhance their online presence significantly (Myers, 2012). But how does an organisation ensure they make the impact they want with their target market. Marketing strategies are produced for all other areas of business and it is important that they be developed for social media also.

Brown (2009) posits some important questions to bear in mind when considering a strategy for marketing social networking technologies for an organisation, these include, but should not be limited to;

  • Does the organisation have a social media policy?
  • How much time daily is to be spent on social media?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the marketing budget?
  • What will you use the social media for?
  • What sites will be used regularly.

This last question provokes deeper thought on whether there are sites that will not require constant upkeep, for example something like Pinterest could be set up initially and only reviewed once every few months. It is important to note that one marketing strategy will not suit all forms of social media as it is likely the organisation will be using them for different purposes. Brown’s questions should be considered for each individual social media platform used by the organisation.

When creating a marketing strategy another vital component is knowing your target market. There is no point to answering the questions above if the market isn’t going to use what you are marketing. Bernoff & Li introduced ‘Social Technographics’ (Bernoff, 2012) they provided profiles based on the social technology behaviour of the market. The profile takes us from “inactives” who never use social media at all through to “creators” who record their own podcasts, maintain their own blog, and tweet their day away.

Social Technographics profiles

The profiles are fascinating, but then I questioned it. How could we be ensured that this related to the majority of University Students in Australia? The answer is relatively simple if you want it to be. Academics have referred to people born after 1993 as the ‘Google Generation’ (Rowlands, et al., 2008, p.290), this generation are now entering as Undergraduates. Therefore if there is not enough time or budget to do further research it would be reasonable to assume that the Google generation would fit into the profiles the ladder puts forth.

                                                                               
                                             
                                                                                          

 

 

References

Bernoff, J. (2012). The global social takeover. Retrieved from http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2012/01/the-global-social-takeover.html  on 15 September, 2012.

Bernoff, J. (2012). Social technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder. Retrieved from http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2010/01/conversationalists-get-onto-the-ladder.html  on 15 September, 2012.

Brown, A. L. (2009). Developing an effective social media marketing strategy. Salt Lake city social media examiner, Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy on 15 September, 2012.

Cowling, D. (2012). Social media statistics – July 2012. Retrieved from http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-july-2012/ on 2 August, 2012.

Jacobsen, T. B. (2011). Facebook as a Library Tool: Perceived vs. Actual Use. College and Research Libraries, 72(1), 79-90

Mayfield, A. (2008, August 1). What is social media? Retrieved from iCrossing: http://www.icrossing.co.uk/fileadmin/uploads/eBooks/What_is_Social_Media_iCrossing_ebook.pdf on 15 September, 2012.

Myers, J. (2012). What is Facebook? Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-facebook.htm on 15 August, 2012.

Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M., Gunter, B., Withey, R., Jamali, H. R., Dobrowlski, T. & Tenopir, C. (2008). The google generation: The information behaviour of the researcher of the future. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 60(4), 290-310. doi: 10.1108/00012530810887953


Second Life

This technology has grown in popularity for use by learning institutions, Librarians have also had a growing interest in Second Life, although in some cases; such as University Libraries there have been barriers such as permissions, authentication and limits due to the security restrictions of the institution (Swanson, 2007, p.79).

I would generally consider myself pretty good at picking up and learning new things, particularly where social networking technologies are concerned, but I must admit that Second Life had me totally stumped. I followed all the instructions and named myself ‘LibraryCat’, I looked at the help guide and visited some forums that promised help, but nothing could explain why the entire world appeared to be pink. I was attempting to interact with the Charles Sturt University ‘CSU-SIS Learning Centre’ which was developed in 2009 (Hay & McGregor, 2010, p.20). Here is a picture of what I should have been seeing…

CSU SIS Learning Centre

And here is what is looked like when I went there…

Same place… different colour scheme

I thought perhaps that particular area was experiencing difficulty, but to be sure I checked all plug-ins that could possibly affect it and even had my husband who works in IT program support to have a look at it, all to no avail. The world remained pink, even more disturbingly when I went to another area called Bear Lodge not only was everything pink, but others Avatars seemed to be in various states of undress.

Oh my…

So I tried another area, everything was still pink, but thankfully people were fully clothed. I struck up a conversation with a fellow ‘newbie’ 5 mins later he started asking inappropriate questions so I located the friends I was supposed to, added them then logged off. I have been on since after encouragement from my Uni Facebook group, but the pink remains.

Currently for my position in an Academic Library we do not foresee use of Second Life. Due to my recent research work in the field of Web 2.0 technologies they are considering implementation of other social networking technologies, but Second Life is not of interest at this point in time. So for now I will concede defeat, but only for this battle. I am determined to win the pink war that Second Life has waged.

References

Hay, L. & McGregor, J. (2010). CSU’s Second Life. Incite, 31(1/2), p. 20.

Swanson, K. (2007). Second Life: A science library presence in virtual reality. Science & Technology Libraries, 27(3), p.79-86.