Social networking and information policy

Social networking and information policy

What policy issues have resulted from social networking?


Based on your reading of three (3) of the above readings on issues related to online identity, privacy and/or trust. Think about online identity in relation to both individuals and organisations:

  • what is important in terms of how we present and manage those identities online?
  • what can we share and what should we retain as private to the online world?

Post a 350 word summary of important issues around online identity to your learning journal.

As I read 8 Tools to Track Your Footprints on the Web, I was struck by how easily one’s online identity can be tracked, and how one can get continuous updates on where their name is being used online. These tools can be used by an individual to look at their own online reputation, but I believe it could be used to track other people. Because of this, I feel that it is more important than ever for individuals and organisations to be careful with their online identities.

An “online identity” is more than what you say about yourself on your SNS (Social networking site) profiles. In Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites, the authors discovered that other factors have an impact on how your online identity is judged: The kind of friends you have on your friend list, the pictures that you are tagged in, and even posts written by others on your page.

I believe that for individuals, this means that they need to take extra care with who they choose to connect with online, as the behaviour of other users can reflect on them. From an organisational point of view, any official SNS profiles would need to be diligently monitored. Additionally, they may not wish to let employees discuss work-related issues online, as the employees online identity is then linked to the organisation.

Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook uses the following example to illustrate how difficult it is to manage one’s reputation online as they would in real life:

Ben (a marketer for an educational firm) told me, on multiple occasions, how frustrated he was with the “context collision” created by Facebook’s flattened Friend hierarchy, where by default, everyone is given access to the same personal information. As a result a user’s teetotaler boss sees the same things as their best friend, the party animal.


Whereas in real life we are able to choose who knows which details about our life, online we are equally exposed to anyone who can access our SNS profile. Individuals need to be careful which details they wish to share about their private lives, and organisations need to share only things that can be known to the general public.



Davis, L. (2009). 8 tools to track your footprints on the Web, February 1. Available

Mallan, K. & Giardina, N. (2009). Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites, First Monday, 14(6), 1 June. Available

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Available 



Social networking and information policy

Social networking and information policy

Social media/networking policies for organisations


Based on the above advice regarding the development of social media policies in organisations, identify 5 key points which you would use to advise a Social Media Policy Working Party regarding the development of a policy for organisation with regard to either (a) clients or customers’ use of social media while using your computers/network access or your organisation’s social networking sites, or (b) employees use of Web 2.0 tools and spaces for work and personal use while using your organisations’ computers/network and time.

Post a 350 word summary of your advise to your learning journal.



First and foremost, I would recommend that the Social Media Policy Working Party discusses whether they want their policy to be rigid or flexible. In their “Social Media Policies & Museums” blog post, ‘Jenny’ notes that “…by the time a policy or manual was organized, there’s a pretty good chance that the certain components (like a ‘how to guide’) would already be obsolete. In other words, the web changes so much that consistent updating might become a daunting task.” (2009). The working party may wish to consider this, and draft a policy that is adaptable and flexible in it’s use.


When advising the working party on their policy, I would recommend they focus on Fair Use and Copyright concerns. Both library staff and users should be made aware that they are obligated to follow Copyright legislation, particularly when they are using the library’s internet connection, library-related social media accounts, or library computers.


Any policy regarding staff use of social media accounts should demonstrate that the library trusts it‘s staff to make sensible decisions online. Lauby (2009) suggests that social media policies need to “focus on the things that employees can rather than what they can’t do.”


The working party may wish to consider whether their policy extends to the restriction of library staff accounts, and whether any guidelines extend to staff member’s personal social media accounts. For example, will staff need to seek permission before creating a social media account that links them by name to the library or organisation? Given the fact that things posted online can be seen as a representation of the library, will there be restrictions on what staff can say about the workplace when using their personal accounts?


I would suggest that the policy does make clear the importance of maintaining privacy. Information about users, or sensitive information about the organisation, should never be disseminated over social media without permission. Similarly, staff using library-related social media accounts must be careful not to intrude on patron’s virtual ‘space’.



Social networking and information policy

Social networking and information policy

What policy issues have resulted from social networking?

Based on your reading of three (3) of the above readings on issues related to finding authentic information within a socially networked world, identify two (2) essential take-home messages that you believe will inform your work as an information professional.

Post a 350 word summary outlining your two take-home messages to your learning journal.

The way people judge the “truth” of information is changing.
The popularity of Wikipedia demonstrates the changing ways that people view information. Garfinkel notes that “On Wikipedia, truth is received truth: the consensus view of a subject” (2008), highlighting that ‘truth’, for Wikipedia, is different from traditional, objective accuracy. On Wikipedia, information will be deleted if it is not traced to a published source. Whereas the quality of the source was once considered very important, on Wikipedia the very fact of publication makes information suitable. The collaborative nature of Wikipedia leads to inaccuracies, but it also allows a community of editors to discover and correct them. Wittenburg refers to this collaboration as being similar to “trusted-peer models used in evaluating social interactions” (2007), where the editors act as trusted friends, providing objectivity.

The message that I took from my readings was that my view of the best way to judge the accuracy of information, which is informed by my work and studies, will not necessarily be the same as the view of library users. Instead of giving rigid prescriptions, information professionals should observe the way users find and evaluate information (Wittenburg, 2007). This will allow us to assist users in a way that suits their own information-seeking behaviour.

People still care about accuracy.

People are assessing information for accuracy in changing ways; however, this does not mean that they no longer care whether information is true. The fact that Wikipedia demands citation to outside sources, and the fact that information seekers rely on a community effort to ensure the accuracy of articles, are examples of information ‘quality-control’.

The anger of Myspace users who feel that other people are misleading others through their profiles is a stunning example of how seriously people take authenticity on the internet (Sessions, 2009).  I found it interesting that other users exposed people who posted misleading photos; This is similar to the collaborative, corrective way that Wikipedia editors remove false information.

My take-home is that people still care very much about receiving accurate information; Even if they find different ways to judge it’s accuracy, there is still a role for information professionals in helping them.


Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84-86. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. Available

Sessions, L.F. (2009). “You looked better on MySpace”: Deception and authenticity on Web 2.0, First Monday, 14(7), 6 July. Available

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electornic Publishing, 10(1). Available;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101

Social networking and information policy

Social networking and information policy

What policy issues have resulted from social networking?

Did You Know 4.0, by xplanevisualthinking.

Watch this video carefully a second time, and identify
five (5) examples of ‘shifts’ or trends that can have an impact on how
individuals behave as a digital citizens. Then
outline (in @ 400 words)  how you
believe these behaviours can impact on the need for, and development of,
information policy in organisations to address these behaviours.
You may wish to explore these from either a user/customer
perspective or employee/employer perspective, or a combination of both, and you
may wish to consider this task within the specific context of your own library
and/or organisation, or you can address this task in general terms.

 5 examples of shifts:

1. People using blogs and messages boards to talk about work.

2. People are using this technology for politics.

3. The majority of people now own mobile phones.

4. People are no longer paying for content.

5. Things are changing rapidly.

People are now using their online profiles to discuss their offline lives, including negative things about the organisations they work for. The video noted that among larger U.S companies, 17% have disciplined an employee for violating their policies. Any policy that the organization implements must bear this in mind, and be carefully worded to protect the organization’s reputation online.

During Barack Obama’s campaign, he relied solely on social media for his fundraising. In another example, Twitter “played an unprecedented role in the Iranian elections”. People are now using their online social networks to express themselves politically. It is important, therefore, that when organisations are drafting their online policies, that they think about the impact of employees using work-related accounts to express their political views.

This video stated that 93% of adults owned a mobile phone. Additionally, the video predicted that “the mobile device will be the world’s primary connection tool in 2020”. Information policy must be aware of how ubiquitous the mobile device is, and draft policies accordingly – As opposed to writing policies with only computers in mind.

People are no longer as willing to pay for content: For example, the video states that 95% of all songs downloaded the previous year (2008) were not paid for. This trend can also be seen in the decline of print newspaper users: Rather than buying newspapers, people are now preferring to read their news online. I believe that, when writing policies for information organisations, this should be seen from two angles. First of all, policies must be put in place that ensure that employees comply with copyright and intellectual property law when using online technology to provide information to their patrons. Second of all, policies should ensure that employees do not infringe on copyright themselves – for example, using work computers for illegal downloads.

Finally, policies must be able to cope with the rapid shifts that the video describes. Written policies will need to be flexible and allow for interpretation. They must be regularly reviewed and updated according to new trends, and can not be considered finished documents.


Xplanevisualthinking. (2009). Did you know 4.0. Retrieved from

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

First entry – Social Networking

Welcome to the first post in my INF206 blog.

Social networking is a way for other humans to connect with each other, to maintain existing relationships and to build new ones. Recently the phrase has taken on a more specific meaning, referring in particular to web sites that allow people to perform this type of social interaction online.

Social networking web sites, such as Facebook, allow users to publish their own thoughts and photographs and view those of people within their network – These people can consists of friends, colleagues, family or people who share common interests.

The social networking tools that I use personally are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

During INF206, I hope to learn more about these and similar types of technology. I expect to learn how these technologies can be used in a library or information agency setting, and ways of gauging which tool might be best for a particular information agency.

– Belinda Bowditch