The impetus for deciding to study the topic ‘Social networking for information professionals’ came from realising my limitations in using social networking technology. Our students are actively using social media sites for socialising as well as to access information (Purcell, 2012, p. 34). According to Purcell (2010) it is the role of teacher librarians to ‘provide expertise in materials and technology’ and to ‘model emerging technologies’ and as students are already using social media tools these tools can be incorporated into the school environment to assist students to ‘create, collaborate, connect and communicate’ (Purcell, 2012, p. 46). Improving skills in this area is a necessity in preparing for the role of a teacher librarian.

Creating an ‘Online Learning Journal’ and working through the modules provided exposure to, and the opportunity to learn, how to use a variety of social networking tools. At times challenging, frustrating and enlightening, using these new tools has opened a Pandora’s box and provided endless possibilities. Learning to use ‘Delicious’ has enabled the collection of resources suitable for a new syllabus as well as the opportunity to share resources and knowledge with others. Being aware of RSS feeds has enabled the collection of resources that are up-to-date that is important in an environment where information is constantly changing. Using Pinterest for the purpose of locating ideas for food presentation for a function was immersive and a lot of fun and lead to easier communication through having visual representations of dishes.

Knowledge of the ways libraries can use social media for ‘public relations’ (Purcell, 2013, p. 15) to promote their services and connect with their community is useful in establishing and maintaining a positive library profile. ‘Establishing a YouTube channel’ (Purcell, 2013, p. 15) can provide opportunities for students to create videos leading to improved verbal and written communication skills (Purcell, 2013, p. 14). At a time where many students are ‘at risk of dropping out’ (Purcell, 2012, p. 35) it is crucial that available technology is used to engage students and provide ‘learning opportunities’ (Purcell, 2013, p. 15) suited to their interests. This is possible through the use of social networking sites.

It is the responsibility of the information professionals in the school to be aware of the scope and pitfalls of social networking sites so that guidance and instruction can be provided for students to ensure they ‘use information ethically, and use social tools responsibly and safely’ (AASL, n.d., p. 1).  Reading and learning about the variety of issues relating to social media usage as well as being able to identify important criteria that should be included in a social media policy has provided tools that will be of use in the role of teacher librarian. Standards for guiding students in the appropriate and responsible use of technology tools is important in preparing them for their future (DePietro, 2012, p. 1)

There is a need to continuously learn new technology as ‘tools, technologies and platforms’ change and can become ‘obsolete’ (DiPietro, 2012, p. 2). Students learn to use technology by spending time ‘playing’ and are not inhibited in trying new things. It is an ongoing challenge to keep up with the changing technology however some of the decision of what to learn can be dictated by what others are using. It has been found that people are drawn to the social network their peers are using and the nature of social networking is to collaborate and communicate which is easier when using the same platform. Students are being encouraged to learn ‘technological skills’ (AASL, n.d., p. 1) to prepare them for ‘future employment’ (AASL, n.d., p. 1).

Teachers play a critical role in ‘engaging effective online learning in social networking environments’ (Callaghan & Bower, 2012, p. 16).  When teachers interact with students on a social networking site for the purpose of their learning student awareness of the capacity of their teacher to collaborate and assist leads to higher achievement and less socialising by students (Callaghan & Bower, 2012, p. 16). As educators, we need to be engaging with our students on the platforms they are using and preparing our students to become people ‘who are capable of doing new things’ (Piaget, as cited by DePietro, 2012, p. 9) rather than repeating the past (Piaget, as cited by DePietro, 2012, p. 9).

The initial uneasiness of using social networking sites has relaxed although it is felt that consideration of the consequences of what is posted should always be considered beforehand. Sites such as ‘Delicious’, ‘Pinterest’ and ‘Flickr’ allow sharing of content and the ability to see what others have in their collections and can seem intrusive. Privacy and security issues can be of concern if using personal information online. Learning to use the different tools can be time consuming as it takes time to learn new skills and improve confidence in using the different functions of social networking sites. The increasing role of social networking sites in communicating, marketing, educating, networking, socialising, and spreading information makes it crucial for information professionals to be proficient in their use.


American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (n.d.) Standards for the 21st century learner. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

Callaghan, N. & Bower, M. (2012). Learning through social networking sites – the critical role of teachers. Educational media international. 49(1), 1-17.

DePietro, P. (2012). Transforming education with new media: participatory pedagogy, interactive learning and web 2.0. International journal of technology, knowledge and society. 8(5) 1-11.

Purcell, M. (2012). Online educational networking may b for ur school. Library media connection. 31(1), 34-36.

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library media connection. 29(3), 30-33.

Purcell, M. (2012). Twitter tips and tricks for your library and classroom. Library media connection. 31(3), p. 46-67.

Purcell, M. (2013). YouTube and you. Library media connection. 31(4), 14-16.



Social networking technologies provide an opportunity for people to actively participate and share content online (Miller, 2005).  This can be through a variety of platforms. Learning to use the bookmarking service ‘Delicious’ demonstrated the participatory nature of this site and the many functions it provides to share and collaborate with others in a common goal of finding and organising useful resources. The ability to tag and combine items into tag bundles is a very helpful function as it allows ‘like’ items to be collected together that can easily be retrieved for later use. This service provides support for the educational and informational needs of a variety of organisations, workgroups and communities examples of which include schools, businesses and groups that share common interests. ‘Delicious’ works smart (Miller, 2005) to intuitively deliver content that may be of interest based on what has been linked previously. Librarians’ who are able to effectively demonstrate the use of ‘Delicious’ as well as the functionality of other social networking technologies to their patrons provide a valuable service (Miller, 2005) and are able to revitalize the way they serve and interact with customers (Casey & Savastinuk, 2005). Librarians have a role in teaching others about ‘tools to manage information’ (Kern & Cuiying, 2011, p. 92).

In evaluating the use of YouTube by the Arizona State University Library it is evident that they are leading the way in showing other libraries how they can make use of social networking technologies to promote their services, provide guidance and information, and increase their presence in an online environment. Their use of YouTube as a platform for reaching out to the community and interacting is inspirational as they try to entertain and ‘engage quickly’ (Chapman, 2009), whilst still providing information that is useful to their audience. Within seconds the purpose of the videos is demonstrated (Chapman, 2009). Rather than wait for their patrons to interact with them they are creating content that is available in a medium readily used by their patrons. The language used to communicate in their YouTube videos is conversational and uses quotes and clips that create a connection with their audience increasing their popularity (Schrier, 2011). Arizona State University Library is using social media to ‘advertise and encourage’ (Schrier, 2011) the use of their services to good effect.

In using social networking technologies the importance of creating a social media policy for the organisation is an important process that sets the tone and behaviour of those involved. It should be a ‘simple, clearly written document’ (Schrier, 2011) that is agreed to by staff. Creating the policy should be a collaborative effort and consider the various issues that may impact on the organisation when using social networking sites. When interacting on social networking platforms there can be a relaxing of standards as people interact in an informal manner and when social networking is used in a professional capacity problems can arise when boundaries are crossed (Lauby, 2009). The policy should consider providing guidance in the conduct of staff (Lauby, 2009) to minimise any misunderstanding. Organisations using social networking platforms should practise transparency in their online interactions to foster a positive relationship with their patrons (Lauby, 2009). Rules about copyright and fair use as well as protecting confidential and proprietary information are ethical issues for organisations (Meyer, as cited in Lauby, 2009) and breaching these legal obligations can lead to civil lawsuits (Meyer, as cited in Lauby, 2009). How the organisation will respond to a variety of situations is best considered before the event to ensure protocol is followed (Fleet, 2009). Once a social media policy is created it needs to be available to all staff regardless of their involvement on the organisiation social networking sites. This is necessary to create a culture of cooperation and support for the agreed policy inclusions. Even though some staff may not be involved in working on the organisation social networking sites it is likely that they may use social networking sites for their personal use and it is beneficial to all staff to be aware of organisational protocols in relation to social network site usage.


Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/05/technology/library-2-0/

Chapman, C. (2009). Social network design: Examples and best practices. Smashing magazine, (13 July). Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social-network-design-examples-and-best-practices/

Fleet, D. (2009). Social media policies: an introduction.

Kern, M. K., & Cuiying, M. (2011). The impact of new technologies on current awareness tools in academic libraries. Reference and user services quarterly, 51(2), 92-97.

Lauby, S. (2009). 10 Must-Haves for your social media policy, Mashable, 6 February, [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/

Lauby, S. (2009). Should your company have a social media policy? Mashable, 27 April [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/04/27/social-media-policy/

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller

Schrier, R. A. (2011). Digital librarianship and social media: the digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html


OLJ Task 6

Social networking and information policy

Social media/networking policies for organisations

Based on the above advice regarding the development of social media policies in organisations, identify 5 key points which you would use to advise a Social Media Policy Working Party regarding the development of a policy for organisation with regard to either (a) clients or customers’ use of social media while using your computers/network access or your organisation’s social networking sites, or (b) employees use of Web 2.0 tools and spaces for work and personal use while using your organisations’ computers/network and time.

Post a 350 word summary of your advise to your learning journal.


A social media policy is a ‘strategic document’ (Zimmer, n.d.) for organisations using and participating on social media platforms. A social media policy sets the parameters for staff and provides guidelines to follow for best practice. In writing a social media policy it is important that ‘thought and attention’ (Zimmer, n.d.) is given.  Collaboration between staff allows a discussion of a variety of concerns and experience in creating a social media policy suited to the culture of the organisation (Zimmer, n.d.).

Items to include in a social media policy:

Scope (National library of Australia, 2012) (State library of NSW, 2012)

  • who does the policy apply to (Lauby, 2009)
  • what platforms will be used (National library of Australia, 2012)
  • how will social media be used (Fischer & Fimiani, n.d.)
  • awareness of emerging issues and changes

Professional and personal use (Fischer & Fimiani, n.d.) (Lauby, 2009).

  • Acceptable content guidelines ensuring neutral, polite, professional and accurate content (Zimmer, n.d.)(Lauby, 2009)
  • Prohibited content includes ‘political views, propriety information, contentious issues’ (Zimmer, n.d.)
  • Awareness that content posted will be monitored to screen content and ensure ‘company policies on anti-harrassment, ethics and company loyalty extend to all communications’ including social media (Meyer, as cited by Lauby, 2009)
  • Training to support staff (Lauby, 2009)
  • Goal setting and productivity (Lauby, 2009)

Responsibility and accessibility (Fischer & Fimiani, n.d.) (Zimmer, n.d.)

  • Staff responsibility for content and which staff will be allowed access to the social media sites (Lauby, 2009)
  • Disclosure, or the necessity of identifying oneself as an employee when discussing organisational information (Lauby, 2009)
  • Standards, including timeliness for responding to comments (Lauby, 2009)
  • Honesty and accuracy, if something posted is incorrect it must be removed and retraction posted (Lauby, 2009)
  • Instructions for responding to ‘negative comments, ‘personal attacks’ or ‘spam’ (Lauby, 2009)

Legal Considerations (National library of Australia, 2012)

  • Confidentiality – information classified confidential (Lauby, 2009)
  • Privacy issues
  • Content used for organisational purposes will be publicly available and requires transparency (Zimmer, n.d.) (Lauby, 2009)
  • Security issues – the need for password changes when staff leave the organisation (Lauby, 2009)
  • Ownership of material – who owns the material posted on behalf of the organisation needs to be outlined in the policy
  • Copyright issues – how to avoid copyright infringement (Lauby, 2009).

Breaches of policy guidelines (National library of Australia, 2012)

  • What constitutes inappropriate content or behaviour and consequences (Lauby, 2009)


Fischer, B. & Fimiani, J. (n.d.) Welcome to the new media world. Oxiem marketing technology.

Lauby, S. (2009). 10 Must-Haves for your social media policy, Mashable, 6 February, [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/

Lauby, S. (2009). Should your company have a social media policy? Mashable, 27 April [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/04/27/social-media-policy/

National Library of Australia: Social media policy. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.nla.gov.au/policy-and-planning/social-media

State Library of New South Wales: Social Media Policy. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/policies/docs/social_media_policy_v1.0_2012-10-24.pdf

Zimmer, L. (n.d.) (President MarCom: Interactive). Social media policies: why and how. Capio http://www.slideshare.com/znetlady