Social Network Sites
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388 A g r e e m e n t s u p p l e m e n t s soCiAl netWork sites mAp loCAtion H, 5 threAD loCAtion Page 39 sCApe User Systems Social Network Sites Example Author Kelly Menzel Figure 226 A g r e e m e n t s u p p l e m e n t s 389 Agreement DesCription One way that libraries can look at social networking is to see how the business world is beginning to utilize social networking, and how they wrangle with the issue of language levels, because businesses each have their own specialized L1 language, just as libraries do. However, they also have to be able to talk with other businesses and to people outside of their realm of business who are likely to have a different L1 language , just as libraries and librarians need to be able to communicate to other libraries with different “dialects” (especially internationally) and to members whose language capabilities range significantly. From the business side of social networking comes a few NPR shows: Conan’s “Social Networking Grows Up” (Talk of the Nation) discussion of social networking sites between businesses and individuals in different business (Yelp, LinnkedIn) serves as a nice counterpoint to “When Is Social Networking Kosher in the Office?” (All Things Considered). Although both deal with how business language and communication styles are being enhanced by social networks, each discusses radically different uses of the sites and even, for that matter, radically different styles of social network sites. The twitterlike Yammer used by the businesses featured on All Things Considered illustrates an already-standing group using previously known language with people they already know in some context. In this case, the program, by its very nature, allows for use of L0 language (when addressing those outside of your department) or sophisticated L1 language depending on how the users wish to utilize the tool. Essentially, each company that uses the Yammer can use its own specialized L1 language within the L0 language of the tool to create a sophisticated in-company social/business network. The social networking tools mentioned in Talk of the Nation, in contrast, apply standard L1 language for businesses to connect new people, create conversations that likely otherwise wouldn’t occur due to lack of connections, and enhance those that would have taken place in a traditional setting (What does everyone candidly think about Person X as a worker? What are your skills?). The online forum actually encourages new connections to be formed and for members to discuss items candidly. In both cases, the user’s experience can, to an extent, be customized . The Yammer users can decide who to ignore and even who they wish to “follow” while being placed in/joining specific groups based around their company’s current organization structure (which I am sure creates real-life conversations and informs others about people’s proclivities), whereas the Yelp and LinkedIn users have relatively the same level of experience customization as Facebook users. They can decide to only search those people they already know, or they can find others based on experience, skills, and so on, to increase their known web of people on the site. What is interesting about the businessoriented tools is that they all have “tiers” of customization based on whether you pay for extra capabilities. A tiered style based on whether you pay for it may not be useful to librarians, but one based on how much you wish to share or a member/librarians’ level in the organization could be useful if a social network of libraries were to be set up. In the more public realm of Facebook, a customized L1 “tier” (group) could be created to allow librarians to talk to each other using their specialized language without flooding the members’ accounts with so much techno-jargon. Olwen’s article about LibraryThing brings up a different idea worth looking at—that of deliberate use of language to achieve a certain effect. Here, it is the act of bringing people together through casual connections that is emphasized, rather than the specific connections the NPR shows seem to focus on. It also displays how language helps you learn and form connections more so than the other two. In contrast, Rolla’s article, “User Tags Versus Subject Headings: Can User-Supplied Data Improve Subject Access to Library Collections?,” provides a more scholarly look at LibraryThing and the differences in language use in...