ASIS&T 2007: Leading by Using Social Networks: Facebook and Second Life

Pascal Calarco

Facebook started at Harvard, spread to U.S. higher education through 2006. Limited to higher education. Then opened to the world. Focus on connecting people. 47 million users; adding about 200,000 per day. Hosts applications — one of distinguishing characteristics of Facebook vs. MySpace.
Who uses in library-land? As of mid October. There’s now an ASIS&T group (created by Pascal Calarco).
Observations: Facebook is good at connecting and finding people. Good for sharing information, but Facebook is not good for discussion. Line between personal and professional can be fuzzy. User base’s fastest growing segment is in ages 25-44. Facebook applications are growing.
ASIS&T group has 172 members — of which 36 are paid members. 50 were planning to attend ASIS&T conference. 24 of the 36 ASIS&T members planned to attend the conference. Shows potential to a) expand membership and b) network people. But — social networking sites wax and wane, so to take advantage, ASIS&T needs to be aware of what the next new thing is going to be. But — opportunity for low-cost marketing and exposure. Not great for networking/job hunting.
Possible uses… Engage younger people (recent graduates). Create metagroups around topics, for discussion, sharing of knowledge, etc. SIG and chapter outreach tool. Event advertising and promotion (it’s free!). Attact new members.

Second Life
Allison Brueckner

Second Life [SL] offers potential for online meeting, collaboration, sharing.
SL is a 3-dimensional virtual world created and designed by its residents. Site is run by Linden Labs. Avatars buy “land” in SL from Linden Labs. Software is free; doing things in SL may not be. You can even buy an avatar. You can buy “linden dollars”.
Who’s in SL? Total — about 10 million. 450,000 have logged in during the last 7 days; 600,000 in the last 14 days. Not a lot of people return; the average life span of a resident is about 3 months. 46% of residents are from W. Europe, 30% from North America, 10% from South America, 8% from Asia.
What do you do in SL? Business, collaborate, education, entertainment, gaming, instruction, learning networking. There’s an SL knitting group; people get together, knit, and sell their knitting — all in SL.
What makes people stay? Investment — people put real dollars. People have real businesses there. Community and partnership building, sense of self (place to explore alternate personas), friendships, instruction and education.
Leadership challenges… Interoperability, platforms (SL doesn’t do Vista, yet), bandwidth, time zones, languages, culture, trust, currency (only US dollars and Euros are exchangable into linden dollars).
Leadership opportunities… business expansion, networking, communication & promotion, distance learning, global outreach, cost effectiveness, recruitment.
Average SL user is on 4-6 hours/day. Not for the faint of heart!
SL is way for ASIST to lead by example — embrace new technologies and adapt them to our needs.