The main idea to Web 2.0 is social networking, a form of collaborating and sharing information across the World Wide Web. This sharing of information takes place in the form of status updates on Facebook or MySpace, blog posts, tagging photos on Flikr or Pinterest. What comes with sharing information across the web is the opportunity for someone to judge it, comment on it, and share it with others. As Meredith Farkas talked about Library 2.0 in 2007 at UC Berkeley she mentioned multiple times the use of comments as a key to better serve your patrons. (Watch Lecture) As information professionals we need to know how information is accessed so we can most readily accessible. Comments are a way to get in touch with what our users need, how they learn, and what they want. As Farkas said, letting your users comment is risky, they do not always say nice things about us and our resources but they allow us to learn how to be better librarians.
As Tim O’Reilly stated in a video clip, “The cardinal rule is that users add value”. Most of our users are social network gurus, they thrive through Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flikr, Twitter and blogs (Blogger, WordPress). We need to make ways for them to contact us through a platform they understand; this is why comment access is so important in our platforms. Our users need to know they are getting our attention to help better the library. Without users libraries could not exist in their true form; informational powerhouses.
Web 2.0 provides the ability to have these comments accessed. We can post questions to our Facebook or MySpace pages that allow the student to connect with us in their territory. Farkus gave an example of a school that used Facebook specifically to find out what students want in the collection and to recommend material to add. They posted questions on their library Facebook page and students answered; they left multiple comments recommending items they felt would be helpful to have in the library. The fact that students responded to questions posted in a status update on Facebook enforces the idea that it is important to be actively engaged in social networking.
We need to immerse ourselves in to social networking but one step at a time. As Farkas said often we are excited about the new technology and we want to implement it immediately without realizing the time it takes to keep up with it. It takes time and planning to keep up a successful and helpful blog. We can step out there and sign up for a MySpace page, Facebook account, Twitter account, Blogger and Wiki-page but if we do not have the time or knowledge to make use all these factions what good is it to us or our patrons?
Web 2.0 on the surface is invigorating, under the surface it is still invigorating but drenched in an overwhelming amount of information and options. If we can restrain ourselves from diving headfirst into a three foot pool of water we will be able to successfully incorporate social networking and productive use of comments into our libraries. Take the stairs; test the water before you take the plunge.