Community and Aggregation

While I was waiting for the coffee to kick in this morning (it still hasn’t), I decided to start playing around with TweetWheel, a website that shows how your Twitter friends are connected with each other. (Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I. LOVE. GRAPHS. ) This is what my TweetWheel looks like (click to enlarge):

I was really surprised by the interconnectedness of my Twitter contacts. For comparison purposes, here’s the latest look at my Facebook Friend Wheel (again, click to enlarge):

I guess that’s why, although Facebook has more bells and whistles (e.g. photos, shared posted items, notes/blog posts), Twitter feels more like a community and it’s easier to “meet people” that you otherwise wouldn’t. It’s started to make me long for the days when I spent hours at Television Without Pity and had an Internet posse.

Of course, there is a way to combine community and bells and whistles…that would be my favorite Web 2.0 service du jour Friend Feed. (You can follow me here.) The nice thing about FriendFeed, besides that fact that it’s actually operational most of the time *cough* FailWhale *cough*, is that it’s a one stop shop for people to catch your activity on various Web 2.0 sites (Forty-three at last count) and a conversation can start based on these feed activities. Be warned, though – because of this FriendFeed can be a major time suck.

How can libraries (as institutions) use this? I see no harm in creating an institutional profile. (And create one for yourself while you’re at it because I guarantee you’ll either learn something new or at least see something amusing.) It’d be a way of pushing all of your libraries services (such as a flickr account or del.icio.us bookmarks) in one place and may act as a discovery tool for these services for patrons. Who knows? Maybe a conversation or two may spark up which could lend itself to some Information Literacy training.) However, I think a better option for libraries who want to aggregate their Web 2.0 services would be to use the not yet released Sweetcron. It will require a little more technical know-how to use, since it’s self-hosted and open-source (thus allowing for customization), but the payoff of being able control it (read: institutionally brand it), remove your library from the FriendFeed noise (which can be overwhelming) and not being at the mercy of a 3rd party host (*cough* FAIL WHALE *cough*) may be worth it.

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