Archive | February 2013

Social Media Policies and Assessment

Policy & Procedures ManualIn recent years, news stories about employees being fired over social media etiquette have seemingly been on the rise. For example, in July, an anonymous Burger King employee posted a photo of himself stepping in lettuce on 4chan (an image-based board). Allegedly, it only took 15 minutes for a few 4chan users to track down the store where this photo was taken. The employee was promptly fired. There have been many and more stories about comments, statuses, and photos shared on Facebook leading to employee terminations. For example, this pizza restaurant server was fired after venting about a bad shift on her Facebook profile, which was set to private. Recently, Air Canada employees have also come under fire for comments made on a closed Facebook group. In light of the increasing online presence of employees, many organizations have begun to enforce social media policies to regulate online behaviour.

Kroski’s article ‘Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy?’ provides straightforward guidelines applicable to any organization looking to employ social media policy. Aubry also outlines the main components of social media policy in a straightforward manner in 10 Must-Haves For Your Social Media Policy. For a template of what an actual, official social media policy might look like, see Cara Donlon-Cotton’s “Sample Social Media Policy” (available through UWO Lib).

Generally, social media policies are put into place in organizations in order to ensure that employees do not make defamatory comments about said organization online, and to enforce consequences in cases when employees portray themselves in an offensive or inappropriate manner in a public forum. Social media policies also normally establish rules for when organizations are justified in removing user comments on a website. When introducing a library into the world of social media, monitoring its online image is vital. Similarly, holding employees accountable for their own online images seems to have become necessary in this day and age. If you’re creating policies yourself, or merely following them, always remember: What happens online, stays online forever.

Mashups and “Non-Text” User-Generated Content

MashupThis week, I read Darlene Fichter’s What Is a Mashup?, read through a slideshow about library mashups and explored the uses of Google Map Maker. Mashups are web applications that use “content from more than one source to create a single new service displayed in a single graphical interface” (Fichter). The most common use of mashups is to display maps on a website overlaid with other information. For example, UrbanSpoon uses a mashup on this page to show users all restaurants located in London, Ontario that are featured on their site. UrbanSpoon works in unison with Google Maps in order to make this mashup work.

Many libraries use map mashups on their websites to display branch locations (for example: Toronto Public Library and London Public Library). Fichter suggests that libraries also use mashups for “sweetening up the library catalogue”. Librarians can use mashups by including Google Book Previews into their OPAC. These Google Previews are automatically displayed when a preview is available for an item in question. LPL uses Google Previews within their OPAC, and also displays NoveList reader ratings and reviews when available. TPL, on the other hand, only mashes with Bowker to enhance bibliographic information on an item. For this OPAC and other “un-mashed” OPACS, the use of LibraryThing, NoveList, Google Book Previews and Amazon previews should be considered to improve functionality.

After reading the mashup articles, I spent quite some time exploring Google Map Maker. I perused the recent edits made in London, Ontario, and found that changes were being made to the Google Map of our fair city nearly every day! Some changes are easily verified (for example: on February 3rd, a user indicated that Novack’s had been closed down–a quick glance at the company’s website confirms this fact), while other changes are later edited or redacted by other users. I browsed a few user profiles as well, to get a sense of how a user’s authority is measured. One user that I stumbled upon, Daniel Enrique, has made 3854 total edits, of which 3772 were approved. Nearly 98% of this user’s edits are approved, which seems to show that Enrique has a fair amount of authority; with that in mind, it also demonstrates that even a user with an impressive track record can have edits reversed by other users.

I choose not to edit or add anything to Google Map Maker, but in the future I will keep my eye out for the use of mashups in library OPACs.