What is Social Networking?

Social networking is a category of Internet communications technology that uses a wide variety of simple tools to help people make connections with each other and to use those connections as pathways to bring them together around shared activities and interests. Learners are tremendously interested in social networking sites because of the community, the content, and the activities they can do there. They can share information about themselves and what they are doing, find out what their peers think about topics of interest to them, share photos and links, and post updates or exchange messages easily with all their friends. Relationships are the currency of these systems, but we are only beginning to realize how valuable a currency they truly are.

The next generation of social networking systems will change the way we search for, work with, and understand information by placing people at the center of the network. Social operating systems aim to enable sophisticated new tools that can learn and infer context from our social graphs — who we know — and use those connections to assess credibility, affinities, and even our likes and dislikes. Using the inherent body of background information in our communications flows, these tools make it easy to identify useful connections to people or groups of people that are a likely fit for our interests, be they casual, social, or even work- or learning-related.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Sam Sam Jul 21, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • - holly holly Aug 30, 2011Not necessarily to individual museums but the recent upsurge in the number of social networking events for emerging professionals is certainly leading towards giving this oft-looked generation of employees a seat at the table.
  • - jludden jludden Aug 31, 2011Word of mouth is very powerful. Social networking is an extension of that. If MOCA posts something about how great their Art n Streets Exhibition was, that’s one thing. If my best friend posts the same thing. I’m heading over there tomorrow. Keeping museums relevant and main stream is critical. Social networking can give an institution a much high profile within a community.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - nik.honeysett nik.honeysett Aug 25, 2011 Its hard to think of a technology that doesn't mirror more closely, what museums are about: engaging a community and disseminating and communicating with it. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Aug 30, 2011
  • The impact of geolocation based social networks as a combination of geolocation based services with social networks for museums. - harald.kraemer harald.kraemer Aug 31, 2011
  • What is the difference between social networking and social media? - nancy.proctor nancy.proctor Sep 1, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • - jludden jludden Aug 31, 2011Similar to social media, this type of work changes the organizational structure of a museum. Where does this type of responsibility sit within the museum? There is a growing tension about where this kind of work should be done. Is it under a marketing/pr/membership umbrella or does it fall under the Education/Curatorial/Interpretation branch of a museum?
  • Another perspective here.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Aug 30, 2011 not a project but just wondering about the impact of Google+ and implications for museums in the way that most museums now have adopted Facebook (amongst other networks). Time will tell as G+ rolls out to businesses etc. Is another network too many? when are museums spreading themselves too thinly?
  • Any of Galaxy Zoos crowdsourced projects, like Old Weather, bring together niche audiences to generate useful knowledge and compete/cooperate with each other. NYPL's project to transcribe and describe it's menu collection is another good one. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Aug 30, 2011
  • Another perspective here.

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