Sunday, November 04, 2007

About Social Networking

My first adventures in social networking were with Flickr. When I joined Flickr in August 2004, they had a chat room feature, Flickr Live. It was really wonderful and I met many people there. Flickr was still small then. Sometime later, someone broke into the code of the chat room and it was immediately taken down and never seen since. Note: As you can see from my links, I also save photos at Smug Mug, where generally I put whole sets of photos rather than better photos as is my present goal on Flickr.

In those early Flickr days, I looked at the photos of all the Flickr staff. So I noticed immediately when Esther Dyson joined Flickr and became one of her contacts. I have always watched Esther because her father is also a physicist. She sort of out did me though - with her stories of thinking Einstein was Santa Claus. My dad talked about Einstein, but I have no reason to believe he ever met Einstein. My dad was educated at Rice Institute (today, Rice University). He drove us through the campus every Sunday after church to show us all the buildings, especially the one where they split atoms.

I joined MySpace a couple of years ago because I discovered I could keep up with my nieces and nephews there (2 nephews are in Iraq with a second cousin leaving for Iraq soon). Almost all of my young relatives post photos which I download and share with my Mom. Sometimes I post their photos on Flickr so more of the family can see them. The photos are restricted to my family.

In July, I started Graduate School in Library and Information Science at Queens College (the campus is seen in the photo to the right with Manhattan in the background taken on a rainy day). In one of my classes we were urged to network. This led to my eventual joining of Facebook. I also joined several listservs.

Google mail is perfect for listservs. I can set a filter to have all the email from each listserv go into its own folder that I can then check when I have time. The emails do not get mixed up with my regular mail. I have learned through the years of trying lists using both individual emails and digest versions that there are advantages and disadvantages to each form. Individual emails are easier to reply to. Digests don't flood your email or get mixed up in the listing with your other email. Digests are also VERY long and it is hard to find something you read later. But with Google mail, I do not get the individual emails in with my regular email, so I no longer have to use a digest version. I can also mark the individual emails that I want to refer back to using Google's yellow star.

As for Facebook, I joined it one day and then ran off to other things. It sat there for a while until someone I knew from Flickr asked for me to make him a friend. I then looked for library groups and groups for other subjects I am interested in. Facebook saves users time by listing related groups on every group page.

I used their feature for importing my gmail addresses. A number of my friends were already on Facebook. So slowly, my set of Facebook friends has grown. David Pogue is even my friend. At the time he made me his friend, I was his 11th friend. I think he may have just joined Facebook on that Sunday right after I imported my gmail address book the day before. I may have been responsible for his joining.

However, it turns out that there is more librarian and student librarian action on MySpace. I added Queens College to my list of schools on MySpace. I joined MySpace's QC LISSA group (Queens College Library and Information Science Student Association) and asked the QC LISSA members to be my friends. QC LISSA has forty-some-odd members on MySpace and only about 10 on Facebook. I think I prefer the communication formats on Facebook, though.

An October 25th New York Times article says that Facebook claims 50 million active members with 200,000 new ones added each day. The article continues to say that MySpace has more than twice as many members but is growing more slowly. Facebook's growth spurt started in May when it invited developers to create tools for the site and to share in its revenues. I found the following quotation in the article especially interesting (although note that MySpace is not mentioned).
“Once a social operating system takes over a country, it’s like it becomes the native language of that country,” said Lee Lorenzen, a venture capitalist who has invested in companies making Facebook applications. Mr. Lorenzen noted that Google’s Orkut dominates Brazil, Friendster dominates the Philippines and Facebook is becoming the dominant forum in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.
Now that I have gotten into some of this librarian networking, I do remember that the librarian at the middle school where I spent 11 years working was always getting emails from other librarians. I helped her set up a free email account so she could subscribe to the various lists.

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