14 Social Media in a Knowledge Society

N S Harinarayana and Sunil M V

epgp books


I. Objective


This unit is aimed at introducing the reader to the concept of social media, available social media tools, and the role of social media in an information / knowledge society and in library services. This unit will help you to understand:


•      What is Social Media?

•      What are the social media tools available for information exchange?

•      How can I use social media tools for library services?


II. Learning Outcome


On completing the module you are expected to have an idea of the various social media tools that are available today and their scope and purpose. You should also be aware of how social media have been effectively employed in libraries and should be able to formulate ideas of employing social media in libraries of different kinds in India.


III. Structure of the Module


1.  Introduction

2.  What is Social Media?

3.   Social Media

3.1 Blogs

3.2 Micro-blogging

3.3 Social Networks

3.4 Media-sharing

3.5 Social Bookmarking

3.6 Rating / Voting Review sites

3.7 Forums

3.8 Virtual worlds

4.  Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0

4.1 What is Library 2.0?

4.2 Librarian 2.0

4.3 Use of Web 2.0 in libraries

5.  Strategic implementation of Social Media

6.  Summary

7.  References


1. Introduction


Libraries are experiencing technology transformation. Right from the typewriter to cloud computing libraries have used technologies to improve service and visibility. These technology transformations have been reported, recorded and read by librarians to understand how to position ourselves in this ever-changing technology-driven society. Information society demands the strategic positioning of information in – content organization, information services, knowledge dissemination and archiving of resources. This demand has elevated the position of librarians from ‘information provider / facilitator’ to the ‘custodians of facts’. These demands have made it imperative for librarians to learn, implement and use the technology which is in force for effective and efficient service delivery.


Libraries are among the early adopters of social media in order to connect with their patrons. Libraries will continue to be a community hub in this network world just as they were in the traditional environment. As Michael Stephens (2006) said ‘to remain viable, interesting and relevant, libraries should seek methods to get out into the community, engage users with services and conversations, and offer collaborative spaces both online and in beautiful physical buildings. But here’s the other side of the coin: Librarians should embrace the social tools as well on a professional and even personal level. It’s the logical first step to put us on the way to Library 2.0’.


2. What is Social Media?


Social media is a blurred term that is used to refer to different technologies in different ways. As a norm we consider any online platform which provides options for collaborative content development and sharing as social media. On the whole, the general understanding of social media is all about a platform which facilitates sharing, collaboration, and conversation. It is a platform for creating content – called ‘user-created content’ – directly and often collaboratively. Social media has to be understood through the technology on which it is developed; what makes social media? Let us understand the technology first and then its applicability.


In the next section, we will look briefly at Web 2.0 technologies, the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 technologies and finally we will focus on understanding what makes social media.


2.1 Web 2.0 Technologies


Web 2.0 is the buzzword of all the conferences, seminars, discussion forms and literatures published on technology adoption in libraries during 2002 to 2012. Web 2.0 could be thought of as the set of ever-evolving tools that benefit online users (Stephens, 2006) and used by them to connect, communicate, collaborate, converse and create content. Further, Web 2.0 can be considered as the upgraded, improved, and modernized World Wide Web. It is a term used loosely to apply to everything from the explosion of social networking websites like MySpace and YouTube, to the rich, interactive software applications being served online, and even to the specific programming languages and technology tools that make the “new” web possible (Funk, 2009).


The term ‘Web 2.0’ was coined by Darcy DiNucci (DiNucci, 1999) who said: “The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfuls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfuls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will … appear on your computer screen, … on your TV set … your car dashboard … your cell phone … hand- held game machines … maybe even your microwave oven” (Wikipedia, 2014). Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty of O’Reilly Media popularized it by comparing the monotype web technologies (old) which they term as ‘Web 1.0’ with the dynamic and interactive web technologies. It was an attempt to describe the web technology in business models which demanded the interactive, dynamic, real-time and transparent (O’Reilly Media, 2005). Web 2.0 is also seen as Tim Burners -Lee’s vision of collaborative information space, which is the base for technologies such as blog, wikis, RSS feeds, etc., where an online user is able to add, edit and create content (Anderson 2007). These help us to get the layman definition: “Web 2.0 is the second stage of development of the Internet, characterized especially by the change from static web pages to dynamic or user-generated content and the growth of social media”.


Tim O’Reilly (2005) explains Web 2.0 as “Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an ‘architecture of participation’ and going beyond he page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experience”.


For our study, let us consider the definition given by Michael Stephens in his post “Web 2.0 for Librarians” defines it as ‘Web 2.0 is the next incarnation of the World Wide Web, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds. Other Web 2.0 tools syndicate and aggregate this content. We will all be publishers and creators of our own information and entertainment channels with these applications’ (Stephens, 2006).


Difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0


In Web 1.0, the users were the consumers of content, whereas in Web 2.0 users are content creators and consumers. To get more clarity, let us study the key differences between these two technologies. Tim O’Reilly while defining Web 2.0 has tried to draw an imaginary line between these two technologies. The differences identified by Tim O’Reilly are shown in Table 1.

Web 1.0 Web 2.0
DoubleClick Google AdSense
Ofoto Flickr
Akamai BitTorrent
mp3.com Napster
Britannica Online Wikipedia
personal websites blogging
Evite upcoming.org and EVDB
domain name speculation search engine optimization
page views cost per click
screen scraping web services
Publishing participation
content management systems wikis
directories (taxonomy) tagging (“folksonomy”)
stickiness syndication

Table.1: Difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 Technologies


Source: O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.


Let us consider Britannica Online and Wikipedia for our discussion. Wikipedia’s entry for Web 2.0 itself gives the history, development, improvements and revisions that happened in Web 2.0 technologies. The community collaboration in content creation / development, interactive features, tags, RSS feeds, is how Wikipedia took shape. This collaborative effort has made Wikipedia more informative, robust, updated and a popular source of information. Britannica Online being a publisher site acts as a source of information but does not allow user participation. Another example is the photo gallery website listed in Table 1. Ofoto from Kodak provides option to upload photographs and share with friends. This website is compared with Flickr which provides rich features to share photographs with assigned privileges, allow comments, tagging of images to describe the image, RSS feeds, etc. These additional features allowing the user community to interact and inform is what makes Web 2.0. The features of web 1.0 and web 2.0 are listed in Table 2.


Table.2: Features defining Web 1.0 and Web 2.0


There are some YouTube Videos that give an idea of the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0


•         Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXFYkbQRgY4)

•         Web 2.0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsa5ZTRJQ5w)

•         EvolutionWeb 1.0, Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5d61xYzdv0)


2.2 Web 3.0 Technologies


Having experienced the collaborative web, the users are demanding new look, feel and richer experience. In response to this innovative of web technologies like 3D visualization, real web, etc have come up. This experience is certainly the extension or the next level of Web 2.0 technologies. Technologists suggest these developments as the third generation of the World Wide Web, Web 3.0. John Markoff of the New York Times coined the term “Web 3.0” and defined it as the third generation of internet-based web technologies which emphasize machine-facilitated understanding of information in order to provide productive and intuitive user experience. This rich experience comprises the use of semantic web, microformats, natural language search, data-mining, machine learning, recommendation agents, and artificial intelligence technologies. John Markoff calls Web 3.0 as ‘Intelligent Web’ (Markoff, 2006).


Nova Spivack in his article (2006) says: ‘Web 3.0 will be more connected, open, and intelligent, with semantic Web technologies, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents’ gives a holistic picture of Web 3.0.The visual comparison of web technology by Nova Spivack is presented as Figure 1.

Fig.1: Visual Comparison of Web technology development

(Source: Spivak, N., & Tucker, L. (2007). Developing Web 3.0 (Session BOF 6746). JavaOne Conference 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from http://bblfish.net/work/presentations/2007/BOF-6747.pdf)


Again there are some interesting videos / presentations on Web 3.0:


•         Nova Spivack – Making sense of Semantic Web (http://vimeo.com/684381)

•         Developing Web 3.0 (http://bblfish.net/work/presentations/2007/BOF-6747.pdf)


3. Social Media1


Social media are the websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010) say: ‘social media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundation of Web 2.0, which allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content’. This suggests that Social Media is the collective term for Web 2.0 applications for information exchange. The Conversation Prism presented below as Figure 2 presents the different social media universe available for different activities. The prism is organized based on the category to which the social media belongs and how people use.



Fig.2: The Social Media Conversation Prism

Source: Doyle, M. (2013). The Conversation Prism. The Website Marketing Group. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from http://blog.twmg.com.au/the-conversation-prism/

The conversation prism gives the holistic view of social media which comes in many forms. We will focus here on eight most popular forms, viz.,: blogs, micro-blogs, social networks, media-sharing, social bookmarking, voting and review sites, forums, and virtual worlds as listed by Dan Zarrella (2009) in his book “The social media marketing book”. (Zarrella, D. (2009). The social media marketing book. Beijing: O’Reilly. http://danzarrella.com/Social_Media_Marketing_Book_ch1_3.pdf). For each of the eight forms we will briefly examine the purpose, a brief history and the most popular tools available for service.


3.1 Blogs


History: Jorn Barger coined the term ‘Weblog’ during 1997 for a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis is posted. Later it was called ‘Blog’ for convenience by Peter Merholzby breaking ‘Weblog’ to ‘We Blog’ (Economist, 2006). Since 1999 blog became popular with LiveJuournal and reached a wider audience with the entry of ‘Blogger’ by Evan Williams.


Purpose: A blog is a type of content management system (CMS) that makes it easy for anyone to publish short articles called posts. A ‘Blogger’ is someone who blogs or writes content for a blog; and ‘Blogging’ is the act of writing a post for a blog. It is generally introduced as an online personal diary or online journalism. Blog software provides a variety of social features, including comments, blogrolls, trackbacks, and subscriptions. Blogs make great hubs for other social media services as they can be easily integrated with nearly every other tool and platform.


Use of Blogs in Libraries


•      To update on the upcoming releases in publishing and entertainment industry

•      To post select book reviews and encourage the user community for discussion and share their thoughts

•      To introduce users to subject specific information available on collaborative weblogs.

•      To announce news, events, activities, etc., related to library.

•      To answer user queries and to share available information resource to the user.

•      To link to online resource, information gateways, knowledge portals and other information repositories

•      To get feedback, suggestions on specific service or for acquisition of title

•      To make library staff members to interact and collaborate

•      To provide online reference services. By identifying the online resources freely available or accessible on campus, libraries can provide reference service

•      To promote library services through regular post on usage, services offered, users remarks, etc.,

•      To provide necessary guidelines, tutorials and instructions on services and use of services.

•      Blogs act as channels to offer Information Literacy Programmes.


Popular Blogging sites:


•         Blogger (https://www.blogger.com/start)

•         Tumblr (https://www.tumblr.com/)


To know more about Blogs:


•         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

•         http://www.economist.com/node/6794172


3.2 Micro-blogging


History: Like ‘Xerox’ is the pseudo name for ‘Photocopying’, ‘Twitter’ is for ‘Micro-blogging’. Political protest carried out in 2004 using online tool called TXTMob which sends SMS to the cell phones of a group of people was the idea trigger for ‘Twitter’.


Purpose: Many surveys have found that online users don’t spend reading long texts, long emails, and lengthy advertisements or product presentation. Publishers also want to reach the users without much time, investment and content. The best solution is ‘Twitter’. The Micro-blogging which limits the size of a post to 140 characters demands the user to convey the message in as short a manner as possible. This is the widely used social media tool to reach large audience in a very short time.


To Know more about Micro-blogging


•         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfsYBMt4vqk

•         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microblogging


Use of Micro-blogging in Libraries:

  • To reach the larger community who are on social media for promoting the activities, events, happenings of the institute in general and library in particular
  • To send library alerts regarding new arrivals, book talks, change in library working schedule, etc.
  • To know about what our user community speaks about service, activities and collection
  • To inform the community about trends in topics covered in dailies (newspapers), social media platforms, discussions, etc.


3.3 Social Networks


History: Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) which are used to send messages to the known community with option to share the software and data were the blueprints for current Social Networks. The BBSs were in use during 1980’s; the usage was very much restricted to specific local communities. The rich features of Web 2.0 technologies made the BBSs reappear as Social Networks.


Purpose: Social Network websites are topic for the day. It may be for a political party, company, service industry, celebrity, marketers, or even to a school student social network websites have become a means to connect with friends, interact, share, create groups, publish, etc.


Use of Social Networks in Libraries:


•      To share information about library news/events

•      To share the photographs and video clips of institute events, visitors of campus with views, student activities, happenings at the institute, etc.,

•      To market the library services with regular posts and sharing of links

•      To provide online reference service

•      To facilitate the searching OPACs

•      To update the users with the new acquisitions for libraries


3.4 Media-sharing


History: The release of IFILM.net in 1997 to share short videos with options to browse the same using plug-ins such as QuickTime, RealPlayer and Window Media Player provided the blueprint for today’s YouTube. The launch of Youtube in 2005 overcame the difficulties in browsing, streaming, searching in the earlier site.


Coming to photo sharing Ofoto was the first photo-sharing website started in 1999. Later Photobuket, Image Shack made their entry in 2003 with improvised features like user profile, keywords, sharing privileges, etc. The entry of Flickr with tagging and social networking functionality made the user to experience the sharing of photos live and enjoyable.


Apart from the videos and photographs, another medium which was sought by the academic community was the Presentations or PPT’s in general. SlideShare made this possible by allowing users to upload and share presentations. The uploaded slides or presentation slides were converted to Flash widgets and the link is made available to the user for sharing the same via other social network sites, blogs, websites, etc. to reach large numbers.


Use of Multi-media sharing in Libraries


•      To provide information literacy instruction/library tutorials

•      To share library news/events

•      To share the interviews conducted at campus, speeches, guest talks, student activities, institute events, etc.

•      To share the information about audio / video collections available

•      To share book reviews, presentations, photographs, etc.


3.5 Social Bookmarking


History: Social bookmarking is making its noise since 1996 allowing online users to isolate interesting links and rank them. In this effort, ITList is the first attempt seen in the literature. Later in late 1990s it was Slashdot which made great impact in social bookmarking. It was Delicious introduced in 2003 and Digg in 2004 which have large audiences connected for social bookmarking serving them information updates in the relevant fields every day.


Use of Social Bookmarking Sites in Libraries


•      To inform users about library news and developments in a way that resembles the “news service”

•      To update the users about changes in library working schedule, new acquisitions, exhibitions, etc.

•      To share items published on library blog

•      To inform about updates in the information literacy instruction

•      To provide information about new acquisitions

•      To provide information about podcasts / vodcasts

•      To Provide information about databases / e journals / TOCs


3.6 Rating / Voting Review sites


History: Amazon.com is the trendsetter for online reviews, ratings and sharing user opinion. During 1995, Amazon provided option to the user to add reviews for products. In later years rating, voting, etc, were introduced to make it easier for users to express their views. This idea was captured by many sites and implemented with additional features.


Purpose: The tourism, hotel industry, consumer industry especially online marketing portals, libraries, service industry, etc, used these sites. The reviews or user opinion has helped the users to present collect the consumer / user opinion, market analysis, marketing of services and products, and advertising.


3.7 Forums


History : The concept of social media originated from the concept of online Forum. Usenet, a joint project of University of North Carolina and Duke University in 1979, was the first Forum traced in the literature. Usenet facilitated the online community of both the Universities for conversation and sharing of information. The conversation was termed ‘message threads’ in the post-and-response pattern, the pattern seen in many social media sites. Tim Berners -Lee announced the launch of World Wide Web on Usenet (Zarrella, 2009). The subsequent developments seen in Forums are the bulletin board, discussion board, tags, etc. which adopted the Web 2.0 technologies to a great extent. There are forums for general discussion as also subject specific forums. vBulletin and Invision Power Board are the popular software for Forum building. PhpBB and the open source content management system – Drupal are known for supporting Forum.


Purpose: Forums are online platforms which bring subject specialists and information users together by providing for virtual interaction between them. The content developed in the Forums provides a holistic picture or answer for specific questions through the message threads.


Use of Forums in Libraries:


Libraries can extend support to forums managed by student or research community. Libraries can act as facilitators and share information regarding the discussion topic, sell the services, market their resources, and get valuable feedback which can enhance the value of library’s presence.


3.8 Virtual worlds


History: The online users expect the real-time, real-life and real-world experience on their desktops. Virtual Worlds made their entry in the beginning of this century giving users a new experience in games and social activities. The computer games, avatars on computers, Google Earth, are some examples to experience the virtual world. Second Life launched in 2003 by Philip Rosedale provides rich experience of Virtual World.


Purpose: Virtual Worlds make the user to have a real-time, real-life and real-world experience. This helps the user to have more information and clarity on what the publisher of the site wants to tell. It may be a product, apartment flat, geographic location, hotel room, service offered, software feature, computer game or an online book, it gives a three-dimensional experience to the user.


Libraries were in the forefront to bring these technologies to their users branding themselves Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0.


4. Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0


There is a revolution in web technologies transforming the static monolithic web pages to dynamic interactive web sites. This has also transformed the way libraries function. This environment has made users to expect the same freedom, ease and service from libraries also. Since, users are already equipped to use web 2.0 technologies in general and social media in particular through their desktops, laptops, mobile phone, iPods and other virtual modes, it is easy for librarians to reach them through these.


4.1 What is Library 2.0?


Library 2.0 is a term to indicate the way libraries are expected to function in response to the developments in web technologies. Efforts to define this term concentrate on user expectations; multi-media experience, instructiveness, and technologically innovative services.


Michael Casey was the first to use the term “Library 2.0”in his blog Library Crunch while discussing the impact of Web 2.0 technologies on libraries as it did for e Commerce making it Business 2.0. Casey suggested that libraries, especially public libraries, are at crossroads where many of the elements of Web 2.0 have applicable value within the library community, both in technology-driven services and in non-technology based services. In particular, he described the need for libraries to adopt a strategy for constant change while promoting a participatory role for library users. Maness (2006) discusses the concept of Library 2.0 and defines it as “the application of interactive, collaborative, and multi-media web-based technologies to web-based library services and collections”.

  • It is user-centered. Users participate in the creation of the content and services they view within the library’s web-presence, OPAC, etc. The consumption and creation of content is dynamic, and thus the roles of librarian and user are not always clear.
  • It provides a multi-media experience. Both the collections and services of Library 2.0 contain video and audio components. While this is not often cited as a function of Library 2.0, it is here suggested that it should be.
  • It is socially rich. The library’s web-presence includes users’ presences. There are both synchronous (e.g. IM) and asynchronous (e.g. wikis) ways for users to communicate with one another and with librarians.
  • It is communally innovative. This is perhaps the single most important aspect of Library 2.0. It rests on the foundation of libraries as a community service, but understands that as communities change, libraries must not only change with them, they must allow users to change the library. It seeks to continually change its services, to find new ways to allow communities, not just individuals to seek, find, and utilize information.


Having expected our library to have a turnaround with the application of Web 2.0 technologies, as librarians we have to make ourselves prepared to face this change. The learning in this change is expected to transform us from ‘Librarian’ to ‘Librarian 2.0’. Let us discuss what makes us Librarian 2.0.


4.2 Librarian 2.0


The technological developments on the Web have had a major influence on user behavior and expectations from libraries. This poses new requirements on librarians’ competencies and skills which will impact on our work identity and knowledge. The key qualities expected of library professionals in this Web 2.0 world include:


•      Ability to understand and select appropriate Web 2.0 technologies for various services;

•      Developing a successful implementation strategy of Web 2.0 technology which is financially feasible, technologically robust and user friendly;

•      Flair to understand user behavior in Web 2.0 environment and developing skills to meet the information needs of the user

•      Skills to market library services using Web 2.0 technologies

•      Talent to enhance the quality of administration, management and service delivery with the Web 2.0 application

•      Capable of measuring library services provided through Web 2.0 applications and strategizing service management to enhance the effectiveness of and response to the service offered.

•      Awareness about the legalities and etiquettes of Web 2.0

•      Team member and leadership qualities in offering collaborative web based services

•      Communication, Confidence and Competitiveness are the core motivational components needed to bring Web 2.0 technologies


These are the essential skills expected of a library professional to be successful in Web 2.0 environment.


4.3 Use of Web 2.0 in libraries


Application of Web 2.0 technologies in library website doesn’t make our libraries Library 2.0. It is the mash-up of traditional library services with the Web 2.0 technology in service, administration, access to resources, interaction with users and the experience of user in information accessing which makes Library 2.0. The following paragraphs introduce the application of Web 2.0 technologies in Library Websites. We will also examine how social media is brought into library service in general and library website in particular.


The library website is the gateway to resources and services. The development in Web technologies has encouraged librarians to introduce new services. The change in library website has been appreciated and accepted by the user community who want to experience social media in library websites also. The common Web 2.0 technologies seen in the library website are RSS, Blogs, Wikis, user tagging site, instant messages (IM), social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. It is an effort by libraries to give the Library 2.0 experience to its users which focuses on user-centered; a multi-media experience; socially rich; and communally innovative service (Maness, 2006).


The usage levels of Web 2.0 technologies in library websites can be seen in Figure 3.

Fig.3: Use of Web 2.0 technologies in library websites

Source: Khalid Mahmood, John V. Richardson Jr, (2011)

Let us now list the salient features / services which we can /( offer/ed to users through library websites. These/(be features / services are extracted from the library websites indicated for reference after the listing.Apart from the listed services that can be offered by libraries under in each of the above said Web 2.0 technologies, we can offer the following additional services in library websites –

  • Integration of Google Maps to provide the location of library
  • Embedding the Search interface of WorldCat
  • Providing search interface of Google Scholar
  • Creating knowledge portal to provide access to subscribed and open content with suitable categorization. Further it can provide information about the access and searching techniques of the indicated resources
  • Providing search interface of Google Books
  • Availability of Google Calendar which can provide information about the upcoming activities / event from the institute and library
  • With the suitable login privileges the users should be able to resources restricted as “on campus”
  • Providing access to instructor resources, subject guides, academic materials, institute / company rules and regulations, etc. the registered and privileged users
  • Structured FAQs and providing instant messaging feature for user to reach library staff
  • Training materials for students, staff, academic community and general public can be made available.


A study analyzing web 2.0 features in university library websites by Harinarayana and Vasantha Raju (2010), details the performance of 57 universities and presents case studies of best performers in the identified Web 2.0 technology. The screenshot of top 3 universities listed in this study is presented below along with the URLs for your reference.


5. Strategic implementation of Social Media


In the earlier section we understood the concept of Web 2.0, social media and for what purpose we can have it in our libraries. These conceptual knowledge and ideas presented will give a holistic view about the current situation in our profession. However, in real life situation to bring these ideas into reality it demands a good strategic plan of action. The knowledge, wider reading of case studies of implementation, the success stories, and the technical documents in the specified areas will be the key sources to develop a good strategic plan for implementation of any services. Before discussing how to make good strategic plan, we should have answers to the following questions:


•      Why should we consider social media for our library?

•      Are our library users ready to expect Library 2.0?

•      Is my library ready to provide Library Services 2.0?

•      Am I capable and do I possess skills to offer service in this Web 2.0 world?

•      Finally ask yourself – what do you want to achieve, who would you like to target, which user group will be most interested in the information you are sharing?


Like any other technology which we have implemented in libraries, different social media and Web 2.0 too have different strengths and weaknesses. It is important to remember that Social Media or Web 2.0 technologies are tools and they are not the finished products like Integrated Library Systems or Library Automation System. Hence it is important to understand – the technology, who are our audience, decide which channel to use, what service to offer and how to implement these technologies in library services.


The strategic plan of action for effective implementation of social media in libraries has the following five steps –


a.     Understanding social media and the tool planned for implementation – Listen to what people say in online forums, blogs, discussions in micro-blogs, media-sharing platforms, articles in technical journals, case studies and from the websites which have implemented. Please remember social media is a tool for communication and not the service itself. Finally experiment with any one of the tools to understand what and how it can work best for your library.


b.    Defining our goal and the audience for the service planned – Coordinate with other authorities and staff who are good in technology to identify the services that have been offered and the associated pros and cons. Also consider your users who are active on social network and get the feedback about their expectations from library. Finally discuss with the decision making authorities about the services planned. Please ensure that the goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.


c.      Evaluating the identified tool / technology with other parallel products and identification of proper tool – there are a lot of social media tools as presented in the conceptual prism (Figure 2) that might be useful and popular, but you need to consider your own goals to determine what’s likely to actually work for you. Consider the service planned and the features expected in the tool for evaluation. Create a test-bed or pilot study to understand and evaluate the tool.


d.    Defining the process of implementation covering – technological infrastructure, manpower, services, marketing, legalities, evaluation and review. There is no clear thumb-rule to define the implementation process this depends on the organization, level of implementation, financial aspects and the available skilled manpower.


e.      Check on Return on Investment (ROI) – Ultimately a check on effectiveness of our effort made is very important. The effort may be the hours we spent, money invested, information shared, number of satisfied information users, mileage to the library, etc. A proper periodic measurable system should be in place to evaluate the Library Service 2.0.


6. Summary


Gone are those days when social media was merely used as a platform for sharing personal photographs, vacation clicks and informing your first circle about your likes, dislikes happenings in the family and your views on current events and happenings. Today, social media is used to make buying decisions, to stay in touch with friends and family, to develop new relationships, to get updates and to be in society — both personal and professional.


This unit is designed to learn about technology that makes social media, application of social media in libraries and library services. The sections will introduce open resources and provide information about libraries which have implemented Web 2.0 technology for offering Library Service 2.0. Like any other technology different social media and web 2.0 too have strengths and weaknesses. Social Media or Web 2.0 technologies are tools and they are not the finished products like Integrated Library Systems or Library Automation System. Hence, it is important to understand – the technology, who are our audience, decide which channel to use, what service to offer and how to implement these technologies in library services.


Expectations of library users have changed. They expect libraries to engage them with online personalized services and conversations. Libraries have no other option but to go digital and reach out to their user community. Social media come handy in this situation. The buzzwords Web1.0, Web 2.0 and Social media (sometimes equated with Web 3.0) are many a time used, confused and abused on a regular basis. Web 1.0 is a one-to-many online platform where as concept of Web 2.0 is many-to-many content. Web-based sharing and easy -to-use platform are the distinguishing features of Social media. The technologies should never be implemented without proper technical and economical feasibility examinations. Not all Social media technologies may be useful for libraries. When implemented –   keeping in view users’ expectations and proper estimation of ROI – Social media will be very effective in libraries.

you can view video on Social Media in a Knowledge Society

7.  References

  1. Wikipedia. (2014, July 13). Web 2.0. Wikipedia. Retrieved July 13, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0
  2. Zarrella, D. (2009). The social media marketing book. Beijing: O’Reilly. Retrieved June 12, 2014, from http://danzarrella.com/Social_Media_Marketing_Book_ch1_3.pdf