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Here’s a list of thirteen annotated sources worth reading for those interested in learning more (or anything) about social media. This list was developed for my reference services library school class.

  1. Godin, S. (2009, December 3). Is it too late to catch up?. Message posted to http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/
      Squidoo.com is a popular website which allows its users to create “lenses,” which essentially function as user-created subject guides to the Internet. Seth Godin, Squidoo’s founder, recently wrote a blog outlining his ideas on how companies can teach themselves all there is to know about social media when starting literally from scratch. The first point of note regarding this post is that it was written under the assumption that the social media learners in question have little money to spend in the learning process. Some of his ideas, however, include offering “small bonuses” to employees for activities like launching a personal blog. Godin makes several useful suggestions in this prescription for Web 2.0 virgins.
  2. King, David Lee. (2003, September 12). David Lee King’s Blog. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://www.davidleeking.com/
      David Lee King is the author of Designing the Digital Experience and is the Digital Branch and Services Manager for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. His over twenty years of experience in web design, information technology, and library technology are evident in each post published. Not only does he blog on the subjects of social media and emerging technological and web trends, he also blogs about Web 2.0 as it pertains to libraries specifically. Davidleeking.com does a good job of integrating a blog and professional website into one, cohesive entity. Tabs at the top of each page lead the reader to information about Mr. King, his presentation schedule, publications, musical work, book, and videoblog.
  3. PascoLibraries.org. (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://pascolibraries.org/
      The Pasco County Library Cooperative’s website, entitled PascoLibraries.org, is a good website. However, it is also an example of a library website that has attempted to include as much content as possible, to the potential detriment of site quality. A prominent feature of the site is its tabular format, but unique to this site is a subset of tabs that appear when hovering over one of the static tabs’ names. This is an interesting approach to library website design, but could be confusing to new Internet users. Were the information more intuitively laid out and some unnecessary pages removed (such as the Google Street View-powered 360-degree tours of each branch), PascoLibraries.org may be ultimately more usable.
  4. King, David Lee, et al. (n.d.). Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Retrieved from http://www.tscpl.org
      The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library website is an excellent model for other libraries to look to when considering designing or redesigning their websites. Tabs are featured prominently in the site’s design, and they are laid out horizontally at the top of the page, as expected from any website opting to use a tabular format. From left to right, the tabs are labeled: home, catalog, subject guides, research, services, programs & classes, kids, and teens. Other prominent site features include a catalog module in the upper lefthand corner, a flash animation-based module used to highlight events and blog posts, more in-depth site navigation links at the bottom of the page, and logo-based links to the library’s social media sites. Additionally, the site is available in forty-one languages via Google Translate.
  5. WordPress. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.wordpress.com
      WordPress is the most flexible blogging platform that is both free and widely implemented by a variety of personal and professional bloggers. Using a service like WordPress that is available for anyone to use independently of their work environment facilitates employee use outside of the workplace, which can lead to increased employee engagement in for-work blogs. WordPress blogs are very customizable through “themes” and “widgets,” which enable users to choose a preferred layout/color scheme and include additional content modules, respectively. WordPress is also a great way to manage multiple blogs with a single log-in and multiple content contributors, each with their own log-in. A lesser known facet of WordPress is its for-pay service, which enables users to pay a monthly fee in order to access options like customizable CSS and domain names.
  6. Twitter. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.twitter.com
      Twitter is a social networking website designed to facilitate microblogging. As the term indicates, microblogging is the name for blogging on a very small scale, in one hundred and forty characters or less. Other microblogging sites like Flutter offer different character limits, but for whatever reason, Twitter has captured the attention of many more users than its competitors. Features that are now known as essential functions of Twitter were actually developed by Twitter users to enhance its usability. A few examples of popular ancillary Twitter sites are: bit.ly (a URL shortener), TwitPic (a service that allows you to upload images and automatically generates short URLS that may be included in Tweets), and TwitterFeed (a site that automatically forwards RSS feeds to a user’s Twitter account in Twitter-friendly format). As you can see, all of these sites are designed to help you maximize the power of the limited number of available characters in each Tweet.
  7. Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.facebook.com
      Facebook was originally developed by two Ivy League graduates as an exclusively collegiate social network. Facebook is constantly evolving the way in which it facilitates social networking. Over the years, features such as event promotion and RSVP management, third party applications, and digital photo albums have been added to the laundry list of activities available on Facebook. Since 2006, when it became available for non-university and international users, its user base has grown exponentially. In recent years, Facebook has become known as an incredibly powerful social networking, event promotion, advertising, public relations, and marketing tool.
  8. PBWorks. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.pbworks.com
      PBWorks, formerly PBWiki, is a wiki service that offers both for-pay and free versions. Wikis are often used for project management as they allow for easy content editing and interlinking of related information, and PBWorks provides its users with an easy-to-use interface that features a WYSIWYG editor. Unique editions of PBWorks are available for general, legal, and academic project management. Their basic, academic edition is free, allows up to 100 users and 2 GB of storage. Another, free wiki provider should be considered if a wiki is desired for an organization consisting of more than a couple of dozen people as they will likely exceed the free storage ceiling in short order.
  9. Social Media Governance Policy Database. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php
      The Social Media Governance Policy Database is a website that links to, as of December 2009, one hundred and ten different social media governance policies. A resource like this database is incredibly valuable for companies developing a social media presence for the first time, and it’s just as valuable for companies looking to streamline their efforts and allow more employees to participate in social media efforts. A more efficient layout would benefit the Social Media Governance Policy Database, though its current interface is sufficient. The great, rather meta, quality to this resource is the ability for users to submit links to their own social media policies, to be reviewed by the site’s curators. This site is a participatory database about participatory technology.
  10. Google Wave. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.google.com/wave
      While still very much in beta, Google Wave is the latest tool developed by Google. Google Wave is a free tool that can be used to manage projects in real time. It offers instant messaging-like collaboration, document sharing and editing, photo sharing, blogging content directly from Wave to Blogger, and much more. Some of its most convenient features are its iPhone-style automatic spell check and its automatic hyperlink-recognizing capability (www.google.com automatically becomes a hyperlink to Google opening in a new page or tab), fondly known as “linky” by the Google Wave development team. The biggest drawbacks to Google Wave, in this author’s experience, are finding a way to actually use Google Wave. An explanation for this stems in its current status as a beta technology. Users must receive an invitation to be able to use it. Luckily, as of December 2009, Wavers with invites to spare are not all that few or far between.
  11. RSS Tutorial. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2009, from http://www.w3schools.com/rss/default.asp
      RSS, commonly known as “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication,” is a way for heavy Internet users to gather information relevant to their interests by subscribing to a site’s feed using an RSS feed aggregator. RSS is written in XML. This RSS tutorial, developed by w3schools.com, is designed to help aspiring web designers learn how to develop HTML code for their websites that will generate an RSS feed of items. The first pages of the tutorial are comprised of an introduction to RSS technology and its history. The following pages cover RSS syntax, as well as channel and item elements (types of XML tags). The final “chapters” in the tutorial cover publishing and reading RSS feeds. This RSS Tutorial is a good introduction for designers with functional HTML/XML knowledge interested in learning the technology.
  12. Jeanneney, Jean Noel. (2007). Google and the myth of universal knowledge. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
      From 2002-2007, Jean-Noel Jeanneney was the president of the Bibliotheque nationale de France. During just three weeks in his tenure there, he wrote this 90-page book to offer up a case against what we now know as Google Books, from a European, non-Anglophone perspective. There was a lack of emphases on the author’s part in regard to the solution to problems presented by Google Books, though he did make a limited case in favor of non-Anglophone countries banding together to digitize works in every other languages. The issue with this title was its focus on America’s status as a capitalist country and Google’s status as a for-profit enterprise. These are facts most of the book’s audience would presumably be familiar with.
  13. Rosenberg, Scott. (2009). Say everything: How blogging began, what it’s becoming, and why it matters. New York: Crown Publishers.
      Say Everything is a lengthy book regarding the history of blogging and an explanation of why it has become so important in our modern world. Scott Rosenberg, co-founder of Salon.com, is not a first-time author and his knowledge of blogging is illustrated and proven credible on every page. The book outlines the rise of blogging from its roots in some of the first hand-coded websites produced in Midwestern basements to the conception of the term “blog” to its current socioeconomic powerhouse status. Long-winded at times, Say Anything should be reserved for the very dedicated social medialite interested in learning a bit of history.
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