Social Software


Intellectual Freedom

Jessamyn West


social what?

"A social networking site is an online location where a user can create a profile and build a personal network that connects them to other users."

For more examples see Wikipedia's list of social software and list of social networking websites.

flickr? wikipedia? group blog?

what's the appeal?


"The Achilles heel of social networking technology: privacy. The intensive data mining and background snooping required to develop an accurate picture of social networks is likely to make many citizens (and employees) uneasy."

[cite: Business 2.0 - 01nov03]
Social network analysis first entered popular consciousness in 1967. That's when Harvard psychologist Stanley Milgram asked a group of volunteers to forward letters via acquaintances to a stockbroker who was identified only by his name, job, and general location. Milgram's "it's a small world after all" conclusion was that instead of taking dozens of hops, as expected, a typical letter reached its destination in just six steps--giving rise to the now-famous "six degrees" theory of social connection.

sites such as...?

Privacy policies: Facebook, MySpace, Flickr

Two distinct issues

  1. Users of social software who are the library's patrons
  2. Users of social software who are the library's employees
The ALA has guidelines on intellectual freedom and privacy.

Tools we use & privacy implications

Libraries care why?

This will affect our abilities in the areas of

We must be cautious why?

Laws to be aware of

what needs nailing down

"Example Library may collect Personally Identifiable Information through online forms, such as forms to register, order, contact us, sign up for a Newsletter, or the like, through your user profile or through your posts in blogs, on a bulletin board or on a comparable experience space on Example Library's web site."
explain: data collection, sharing, retention

What sorts of data?

explain: which data you do this with (more)

Getting a privacy policy

For further reading/viewing

other people's presentations more social reading organizations

Thank You & Credits

Jessamyn West is a community technology librarian in Vermont and the editor of the weblog She teaches email classes for seniors, builds tiny websites for tiny libraries and advocates for sensible technology use for everyone.

IM her at iamthebestartist.

This presentation was created in HTML using CSS. There was no PowerPoint involved in this presentation except as a nagging bad example. The layout and stylesheet are available to borrow via a share and share alike creative commons license. See source code for details.

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