Out of all social software sites I think I’ve learned the most from Flickr. I’ve also spent the most time using Flickr, likely because it solves a problem or fills a need for me. It is a fantastic social creative outlet. Wanting to learn more about Facebook, I’ve been investing more effort in it.
This afternoon I friended one of my employees.
I thought connecting with some of my staff on Facebook would not only be fun but would also be an exercise in transparency. My Facebook profile might give them a more full picture of who I am, what I do, and what I’m into. If they were at all curious. It wasn’t until I made the friends request that I remembered that transparency works both ways and that Adam, perhaps, wouldn’t be comfortable with me being in his Facebook network even though we get along really well face to face.
It turns out that he accepted the request. No surprise there, right? I called Adam as the library was closing, told him what I was thinking about and that I might blog about it. I asked him if he had any reactions to my request, and that if he thought it was weird he should be totally honest. It also turns out that he doesn’t really use Facebook and this informed his reaction to my request. Since there’s nothing really at stake for him, my friending him isn’t extremely relevant. One social software site I know he uses is goodreads. I should ask him how his answer might change if we were talking about that site instead of Facebook. Or maybe he’ll tell us in a comment.
Considering these issues tonight I’ve come up with a few tips for Facebooking (or using other social software sites) among library staff, particularly for supervisor to staff situations.
→ Ask first and state your intentions up front.
Is it for a library project? If so, is it mandatory? If it is, give employees the chance to make a special account for the project because they have the right to keep their private life private And their work life private. Is it just for fun? Being upfront about this, and not being selective about invites, will prevent awkwardness and potentially creepy situations.
→ Make it clear if Facebook (or whatever) is “work”.
Clearly most library workers have other things to do besides be on social networking sites (SNS) all day. However, encouraging library staff to play, have fun and experiment should included SNS. Especially if it is something you started!
→ Try new sites.
If a coworker thinks you’ll enjoy a site that you’re not using, give it a whirl. Explore how it might relate to library services and have a conversation. Be honest if you don’t like it too.
Putting some effort into SNS *does* lead to learning, eh? One little friending and I’ve got all this great stuff to think about!