…and then there’s Yoko

It’s sometimes hard to convince people that when I’m “goofing around on Facebook” I’m actually working.  Sure, there’s fun elements to it like “Superpoke!” and “Scrabulous”, but I am also doing a little anthropological participant observation.   The only way we’ll be able to figure out how to use Facebook effectively is to see how “regular users” use it.   I also find it an invaluable way to network with my librarian friends – both across campus and across the country.

Example?  Recently my friend Bill posted a link to his library’s new Goodreads Profile on his personal Facebook profile.  From there, I was able to see that his library also maintains a blog and a Flickr account.   Bill has also put up a nifty little Google Maps widget on his subject webpage.   All nice uses of Web 2.0 in an actual working library that I didn’t have to travel 500 miles to a conference to find out about.   As an added bonus, if I have any follow up questions, I can always just IM Bill and grill him for details.

On a somewhat related note, my sister asked me last weekend if I minded mixing my personal life with my professional on my Facebook.   I told her no because (a) it’s not like I’m posting pictures of myself doing kegstands, (b) I don’t really have a separation between my professional and personal self – as a public services librarian, I find that I can’t connect with people and find out what their information needs are if I’m wasting energy trying to maintain a facade.  Also, if it makes students more comfortable approaching me once they find out that I like cartoons and certain musical acts, well, then that’s great.  And (c) I realized that the great majority of my Facebook (and real life) friends are librarians.   Except for Yoko Ono.

One of my favorite applications on Facebook is the “Friend Wheel.”  It takes all of your friends and shows the links between them.  I just find it fascinating.  Here’s mine (with names blacked out to protect privacy):


I have six main groups of FB friends.

  1. The people I know from my currently employer.  That would be the big patch of green on the lower left hand side of the wheel.
  2. The people I know from my old job.  That’s the blue patch on the top left hand side.
  3. The people I went to library school, as seen in the yellow/orange in the bottom right hand corner of the circle.
  4. Law librarians that I’ve met at conferences.  They are the purple/blue at the top of the wheel.
  5. Students that have taken the initiative to friend me.  I’ve made the decision to not turn down friend requests, but I also wouldn’t initiate contact either.
  6. Famous people that I friended on a lark, like Yoko Ono and Seth MacFarlane.  The students and famous people are on the right hand side of the wheel.

It’s neat enough to see how your friends from the same group are connected, but I’m just amazed at how some people are connected that I didn’t realize.    It wouldn’t be as interesting if I friended everyone in the AALL group.  This are why I try to limit my FB friends to people I’m really connected with in real life – except for Yoko.  I will never unfriend her.


One Response

  1. […] In the four months since I last posted about it, my FB friends list has grown significantly.  Some people from high school found me, I gained a […]

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