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Social Software and the Millennial Generation. Oconee County Staff Development Day February 7, 2007. What is Social Software?.

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social software and the millennial generation

Social Software and the Millennial Generation

Oconee County Staff Development Day

February 7, 2007

what is social software
What is Social Software?
  • Wikipedia defines social software as software that “enables people to rendezvous, connect or collaborate through computer-mediated communication and to form online communities.”
  • Traditional forms of social software include listservs and e-mail.
  • Newer forms include blogs, wikis, media sharing sites, instant messaging clients and social networking sites.
  • Just like e-mail, these newer forms are slowly working their way into libraries and will soon be commonplace.
millennials and their community
Millennials (AKA digital millennials, Gen Y, etc.)

Currently 14-24 years old.

They are defined by technology. One study states that “they were born at the keyboard and are perpetually connected.” (Resource Interactive)

They are comparable in size to the Baby Boomers. They are expected to reach 100 million in time.

They see the world differently than previous generations.

They are described as “diverse, multi-taskers, optimistic and entrepreneurial.”

They spend 10 hours online weekly but consume 20 hours of media daily. They spend at least 30 minutes on their mobile phone daily and send 6-10 text messages daily. (Resource Interactive)

Millennials and their Community
millennials cont
Millennials Cont…
  • “The 14-24 age group has grown up knowing a world that has been ‘always electronically connected, portable and customizable.’ The technology immersion of the digital millennials is what is visible from the outside. On the inside, the digital millennials are breeding a new social order by using technology for ‘sharing, creating and validating via peer networks or social networking’.”
    • From MySpace-Facebook $200 Billion ‘Digital Millennials’ article on ZdNet (October 11, 2006).
millennials cont1
Millennials Cont…
  • The Resource Interactive study proposes a five-prong strategy for optimizing relationships with the digital millennials:
      • Keep it real
      • Hear me out
      • Be original or don’t be
      • My way…now
      • Entertain me
yalsa s positive uses campaign

Library Thing


The Library as a Place to Social Network?!

MySpace Bulletins


Youth Participation

Raising Awareness

Educating Parents

Reading and Writing

Building a Community through Gaming

Photo Sharing

Second Life



Networking with Authors




Yalsa’s Positive Uses Campaign
community building
Community Building
  • It all comes down to community. How are we going to connect with our community?
  • Content you’ll find: calendar of events, listing of new materials, access to the OPAC, research guides, book discussions, etc.
  • It’s a great way to get feedback from users.
  • Also an easy (FREE) way to send a mass memo to people connected with your site or blog.
  • Look at the number of friends this library has on MySpace!
blogs and wikis
What is a blog?


Wikipedia: “a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in reverse chronological order.”

They often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, event or idea.

Primary textual, although some focus on photographs, videos or audio (podcasts).

What is a wiki?

Wikipedia: “a site that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove and otherwise edit and change available content.”

It’s a way for users to collaborate on a project or share information about a topic.

Again, it’s primarily textual but will sometimes focus on some type of media.

Blogs and Wikis
how can these be used in the library
Library Blogs:

Alternative Teen Services Blog

Ann Arbor Director’s Blog

CMS Department Blog

Darien Library Teen Blog

LDS LibraryTrax Blog

Library Loft (Charlotte) MySpace Blog

Plymouth State’s Blog Your Catalog Project

Teen Zone Blog at Plymouth District Lib

Library Wikis:

ALA’s Every Child Ready to Read Wiki

Cleveland Public Wiki

LibSuccess Wiki

OHSU’s Screenprints of their Internal Systems & Cataloging Wiki

Subject Guide Wiki for Libraries

Teen Poetry Wiki

Teen Tech Week Wiki

WYLD Reports Training Wiki

How can these be used in the library?
how can i create a blog or wiki
How Can I Create a Blog or Wiki?
  • Blogging Sites:
    • Blogger:
    • Wordpress:
    • Many social networking sites include their own blogging software (MySpace, Xanga, etc.)
  • Wiki Sites:
    • Pbwiki:
    • Wikipedia:
    • Wikispaces:
keeping up

What is it? It’s an aggregator that reads blog (RSS) feeds.

House all of your blog subscriptions in one place so you only have to open one window to read the latest blog postings from your favorite blogs.

You can also clip articles OR create a blog.


TechTracks’ Del.ici.ous Account:

What is it? It’s a place to bookmark articles, websites, etc…

It’s called social bookmarking because you can then share your bookmarked items.

Just like favorites but it doesn’t restrict you to one computer.

Keeping Up
social networking sites
Social Networking Sites
  • Social networking sites are sites that ask you to create a profile and provide the capability to “network” with other people through the creation and sharing of user-generated content.
  • They are a natural extension of blogs and instant messaging. They incorporate various types of media (videos, podcasts, music, photos, etc…).
  • The average demographic for these sites is 18-35.
  • MySpace is currently the most popular of these sites.
  • Other popular sites for the millennials include Xanga and Facebook.
myspace statistics
MySpace Statistics
  • Nielson/NetRatings reported in April 2006 that 68.8 million people were using social networking sites. This was a dramatic increase of 47% from the 46.8 million signed on in 2005.
  • The Washington Post published an article in April 2006 entitled “New Trends in Online Traffic.” See chart to the right.
  • SecurityFocus published an article in June 2006 reporting that there were 87 million accounts on MySpace with 270,000 new users daily.
  • Fast forward to December 2006 when BusinessWeek published an article reporting that MySpace now has 130 million users with 8 million new accounts being created monthly.
libraries using myspace
Libraries Using MySpace
  • Abbeville County Library (SC):
  • Albany County Public Library (WY):
  • Austin Public Library (TX):
  • Charlotte’s Library Loft (NC):
  • Denver’s Evolver (CO):
  • Hennepin County (MN):
  • New Castle-Henry County Library (IN):
  • Osceola Library System (FL):
  • Randolph County Library (NC):
  • SC State Library (SC):
  • Topeka & Shawnee County Library (KS):
  • YA Zone at Rockford Public Library (IL):
issues concerns
Issues & Concerns
  • DOPA – Deleting Online Predators Act
    • It would prevent libraries and educational institutions from receiving e-rate funding if they should allow minors to use social software/tools such as social networking sites, chat rooms, instant messaging and blogs.
    • It is part of CIPA – Children’s Internet Protection Act.
    • Passed by the House in July 2006. It has been tabled in the Senate until 2007.
    • For more information and updates, see Wikipedia’s article:
    • For ALA’s take on DOPA and what you can do to prevent it from passing:
beth yoke executive director of ala s ya literacy services association
Beth Yoke, Executive Director of ALA’s YA Literacy Services Association

“In order to ensure that our patrons will have access to critical communication tools, librarians and library works should continue educating their congresspersons, local decision-makers, and library users about social-networking sites… if we don’t, then we are doing a disservice to our patrons – especially those many thousands who depend on public libraries for internet access.”

getting started advice
Getting Started Advice
  • Check out other library sites first! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are many libraries who have gone ahead of us and have great ideas for using these tools.
  • Get input from your patrons. Trust me, they are willing to give you input and most of the teenagers know more about these tools than we could ever hope to!
  • Decide ahead of time who is responsible for the the site, blog, wiki, etc… Decide who the contributors will be. Decide who will monitor comments, etc...
  • Once you’ve created a space or a blog, be sure to promote it!
  • Read articles and blogs to stay current (bloglines).
  • Please contact the State Library if you have other questions or need help getting started.

Shae Tetterton

Find me on MySpace: