ACRLog has previously discussed academic librarians creating profiles for themselves and/or their libraries in student social communities such as Facebook and MySpace.
It seems like a good idea. We should try to connect with students where they are. But spaces like Facebook and MySpace are primarily social sites, and the people who join and use these sites rarely have academics in mind. So it seems that a good idea would be to create a space like these social sites where students, faculty, and administrators can meet, communicate, share, and otherwise get to know each other, without the heavy emphasis on, well, whatever it is that students do in these social spaces.
Well, this article discusses a college that decided to do this exact thing. Columbia College Chicago used its e-portfolio software to create a MySpace like environment where faculty and administrators can create profiles that allow students to get to know them online. In the article the administrators of the system say that their community space is intended to “augment face-to-face contact, not replace it.” If our objective is to connect with students where they are, in a meaningful way – and by that I mean in ways that encourage use of the library’s resources and services – perhaps we need to promote the idea of community spaces within our institutions where faculty, staff, and students can learn more about each other.
BTW, I hope that you are making more use of a news aggregator such as Bloglines to capture RSS feeds. Those just getting started, especially if they’ve quickly added quite a few feeds to their aggregator, may be finding themselves spending more time than they anticipated reviewing blogs and reading news stories. While that’s good, because it leads to discovery and innovation, it can also create some stress and pressures on time for other responsibilities. For those feeling this way, I recommend this post on “10 Tips for Effective Blog Reading” which offers good tips for being efficient and saving time when reading blogs and other news sources in an aggregator.