Social networking and information policy

Social networking and information policy

What policy issues have resulted from social networking?

Based on your interests and/or workplace context, readtwo (2) of the above readings to inform your understanding of one or more of the following areas of policy concern:

  • Intellectual property, copyright and emergence of the Creative Commons
  • Privacy, disclosure of personal information and online safety using SNSs
  • Information access for all, adequate bandwidth/wireless/mobile connectivity and the ‘digital divide’
  • Regulating the Internet in libraries, organisations and in the home
  • Information and digital literacies, and recent emergence of transliteracy
  • Acceptable use/online behaviour/social networking policies

and reflect on your new learning
about these issues (in terms of your work as an information professional) in a 350 word post in your learning journal.

I chose to read Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. As indicated by the title, this paper discusses participatory culture, in which people collaborate and share ideas together.  The paper focused strongly on the implications of participatory culture for children’s information literacy needs. Children are now creating their own media through appropriation: “taking culture apart and putting it back together”.

The report notes that digital literacy has now joined traditional aural and visual literacy in importance. It is no longer sufficient for students to be traditionally literate: To fully participate in today’s society, they must also be digitally literate (This concept is referred to as “21st century literacy”). Digital literacy is not seen as an educational skill alone, but also as an important social skill.

One of the core “participatory media” competencies addressed by the report is the ability to use judgement when considering information found online. Whereas once librarians were the “gatekeepers” of knowledge for students, there is now online access to vast amounts of information. Participatory culture has led to the success of “wikis”, where users collaborate to gather information together. Students need to learn to critically evaluate the information they find.

The second item that I read, Cyber Crime 2.0 versus the Twittering classes, discussed some of the hazards that can be faced online, particularly when one is unable to evaluate online materials. This report notes that many users feel an “implicit trust” in large social networking web sites (such as Facebook and Twitter) which can make those users vulnerable to cyber crimes such as identity theft, or the spread of harmful programs (“malware”).

Large social websites are desirable for cyber crime, because of the larger number of potential targets. Although cyber security experts may be able to alter software to block or prevent malware, computer users themselves will always be vulnerable. Perpetrators of cyber crime are using more complex methods, such as “social engineering” techniques: These techniques can distribute malware by convincing users to click on a specific link, or to download files.

Unless users have the digital skills and confidence to evaluate web sites, to determine their authenticity, they will continue to be vulnerable to social engineering techniques used to compromise their online security.


James, M. L. Cyber crime 2.0 versus the Twittering classes. Parliament of Australia, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary Library Information, analysis and advice for the Parliament. Science, Technology, Environment and Resources Section, 24 February 2010 (2009-10). Retrieved from

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Available


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