Social Networking – Friend or Foe?

As a socializer, social networking sites are just a natural extension of my being.  Yet I was struck today, after attending a meeting which included representatives from many (but not all) of the counties in my state, by the feeling that I was more connected to the library folks on FriendFeed and other social networking sites than I am in my own state.

So is social networking friend or foe?

Friend – positive:

I’ve been exposed to different library folks in different states from different types of libraries with different job titles.  Exposure to different situations and different view points helps to broaden my horizons. Even if I had a great rapport with everyone in our state it wouldn’t afford me the same benefits as reading comments, blogs and web sites from other library folk in other states with different viewpoints.  Mainly because Kansas or California or Michigan isn’t Maryland and even if they are from a public library these folks have a different take on things that perhaps can give me some insight.  This is not to dismiss the value I place on my fellow Maryland library folk – just that sometimes an outside, unbiased opinion is needed.

Foe – negative:

Feeling as if I have more kindred spirits in the library world virtually than I do in reality.  I guess I’m missing what I get from the virtual world in my work world.  I miss the flow of ideas, the support, the differenting opinions (said with respect), the fun little give and take that I get from the social networking sites.

I’m not giving up on social networking by a long shot.  I just need to find a way to incorporate the positive side of social networking in a virtual world into my daily work life.

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