Sunday, July 30, 2006

Social Networking

A large number of the posts in my Bloglines blogroll talked about DOPA, the dopey law which passed the US House of Representatives last week. While there are issues in how some folks use social networking software, I want to share one of the cool aspects of it.

I have a Flickr account. (Who doesn't, these days....and I think I talked my elder son to updating his icon.) One of the things which Flickr can do is to show you recent photos posted by your contacts. Yesterday I checked my account, and there were a bunch of new photos. Among the first I looked at were from Jessamyn West. She had gone to the Barre Homecoming celebration. I wandered through more of the new photos from my contacts and there were new photos from Meredith Farkas, who also lives in Vermont. There were photos of the same parade, but from a different perspective!

I wondered...did Meredith and Jessamyn see each other there? I know that they "know" each other electronically. After all, they are both icons as librarians who are articulate and vocal about making the best possible use of technology. And then....the best! A photo of Jessamyn eating an ice cream sandwich. I found it heart warming.

My guess is that 10 years ago, these two wonderful folks may not have even known each other, and certainly would not have met at an event like the Barre Homecoming celebration. Neither lives in Barre, and the library circles they move in are very different (other than the technology part). For me, this is just a small example of the benefits of social networking software.

On an even more personal level, I am looking forward to meeting one of my Flickr contacts at the Library Boot Camp East in September.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Yeah, social networking is an amazing thing. I actually do live in Barre, and Jessamyn may have been likely to have gone to such a celebration, but I'm so shy about meeting new people that we probably would never have met at something like that if we weren't already friends.

    I do wonder if I would have met Jessamyn (or many of my good friends) without blogs. For me, it really has opened up a whole world of opportunities (book deal, speaking gigs, LJ Mover and Shaker award) that I would never have gotten otherwise. I write this sitting at the Reading Public Library in MA waiting for my friend Andrea (also a a person I met through blogging) to get off work since I'm staying with her tonight before the Wikimania conference. Social networking software and blogs open up so many doors. It blows my mind. :)

    So, yeah, it would be crazy to cut young people off from such opportunities to express themselves, socialize and meet amazing, like-minded people online. It's like not allowing kids to play outside because they might get kidnapped. Crazy.