MSN printed an online article
recently that shared a startling statistic...
"Just over 2 years old, My Space now has 2 1/2 times the traffic of Google.
To me reading the figure was a wake-up call that we (as libraries) need to take notice that among the younger set, Information is no longer
the king of the Internet, social-networking IS
As I did my exploring on MySpace
this past weekend, my "parent-side" emerged like a lion. Fortunately for me (and my momma-lion instinct) my girls are still too young to have "spaces" of their own, but I realize that this future is not too far off. So, after absorbing the initial shock of just how much personal information kids (and adults- yes, they use it too!) are putting out there, I calmed down a bit and began to approach the site from my information-seeking "Library-side."
From a social networking perspective, My Space is fascinating and clearly demonstrates that the today's youth have completely adopted the Internet as their
first (?) space or comfort zone. And although I may not share this same comfort zone level, I think libraries can't just ignore this change. What's inherent to this generation is comfort zone that although we may not quite be ready for, we need to at least be open to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that we automatically go out and start creating personal public profile spaces for our patrons on the web, nor do we use the thier ILS information to let them hook up with other patrons who circulation history points to common reading interests. But what I am saying is that this trend shouldn't be ignored by libaries, but rathered studied. After all these current My Space users are our future.
Along these same lines, Stephen Abram (yup, I know --this my second reference to SA this week) had a great post
this past week about My Space as well and he makes a great point, "(Libraries) spend too much time focusing on Google and its ilk as a competitor or model"
With stats like the one posted above, perhaps it's not Google we need to worry about driving traffic away from library resources, it's My Space instead. **stepping off my soapbox now**
BTW: If you haven't taken a look at My Space
yet, do so... but just one word of caution, leave your parent-hat at the door. :)
PS: For a good short overview of the history of MySpace and what is it, see Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace
What are your thoughts on MySpace? Is it different if you have your "library hat" on?Technorati Tags: My Space Library