Last week I decided to register with Facebook and see what all the fuss is about.
Wow-ee, is it eye-opening! In addition to my Binghamton e-mail address I have an alumna e-mail address for my alma mater, so I registered for both networks.
For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking site for colleges, universities, schools, and workplaces. In contrast to MySpace.com, which anyone can join, you need to have an e-mail address with your organization in order to register with the site. There has been a lot of talk about social networking sites among librarians recently (should libraries have profiles? should the sites be banned from libraries because they’re too popular and using up bandwidth? etc.) and Meredith Farkas recently wrote up an interesting post on the topic, complete with all the links you could ever want down at the bottom.
My observation for libraries: one size definitely does not fit all, and the culture on Facebook may vary wildly from one network to another, reflecting the culture of the campus and the student body. If you think there are significant cultural differences between a small women’s college and a large co-ed university, you’re right (guess which has a group called “I Dress Like a Librarian”).
If you are considering a library or librarian profile, my advice is to log on as an individual and get to know the community first, before you fill out an extensive profile. I think both sites I logged onto might be equally welcoming to a library account, but the content and presence for each would surely differ according to local customs and how people use the site.