Online Social Networking Tips

I started a Facebook account back in 2005 while working in a university as a way for students to contact me for research assistance. Then my Facebook experience morphed into a communication tool with other librarians across the country, as well as internationally. Recenlty, my Facebook world is taking another shift as friends from years past -- college, high school, and even elementary school -- are reconnecting with me via their Facebook accounts.

Facebook, as well as online social networking sites in general, make it simple to stay in touch with friends, as well as to reconnect with old friends. These sites easily allow users to share photos, videos, and personal anecdotes with others. Social networking sites can even facilitate making new friends. For example, in Facebook, people can join “groups,” which is an easy way to make connections with people with similar interests and goals.

As participation in social networking continues to rise, it is important to realize the implications of posting information about oneself online for others to see. For example, some Facebookers aren’t aware that information shared via their Facebook profile (usually intended to be seen only by their Facebook friends) may be seen by unintended Facebook users, as well as people not even on Facebook.

One of my favorite articles to share with people, especially with my friends voice concerns about privacy on Facebook for themselves, as well as their children, is 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know, by Nick O’Neill at AllFacebook. This article provides ten easy steps in taking control of access to your information on Facebook, such as avoiding the infamous photo/video tag mistake, protecting your photo albums, and avoiding embarrassing wall posts.

The library offers books that go into much more depth about privacy and
security issues with online social networks. For example, the book, Facebook Me!: A Guide to Having Fun with Your Friends and Promoting Your Projects on Facebook by David Awl, includes an entire chapter devoted to Facebook privacy and security. Take a look in the MCL library catalog for items on MySpace, Facebook, or online social networks in general.

I am a believer that participating in online social networks has its benefits, especially when used responsibly. Be prepared to efficiently and effectively use online social networking tools by checking out relevant materials available from our collection.

Keep on networking,
-Anna, Hopewell Branch


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