Librarian competencies: social media

Todd Vandenbark

While doing research in preparation for creating library workshops on social media and other Web 2.0 tools, I stumbled across a wiki created by the University of British Columbia Library, HLWIKI Canada. One page offers the “Top Ten (10) Social Media Competencies for Librarians“:

  1. Understand, explain and teach others about the main principles and trends of web 2.0 (and library 2.0).
  2. List major tools, categories and affordances of social networking.
  3. Apply social media to solve information problems, and communicate digitally with users.
  4. Use social networking sites for promotional, reference and instructional services in libraries.
  5. Navigate, evaluate and create content on social networking sites.
  6. Follow netiquette, conform to ethical standards and interact appropriately with others online.
  7. Explain copyright, security and privacy issues on social media sites to colleagues and user communities.
  8. Understand the importance of identity and reputation management using social media.
  9. Explain related terminology such as collaboration 2.0, remix and open source.
  10. Renew social media competencies, advocate for institutional strategies and policies and build evidence base in social media.

But what are social media competencies? In Educause Review, Howard Rheingold makes the point that what “makes social media social is that technical skills need to be exercised in concert with others: encoding, decoding and community.” He goes on to focus on five core social media literacies:

  1. Attention
  2. Participation
  3. Collaboration
  4. Network awareness
  5. Critical consumption

Attention, Rheingold states, is fundamental to all these interconnected competencies. And attention is often at the heart of whether an educator will or will not include social media in the classroom. Can learners truly have deep and comprehensive learning experience if their attention is drawn to multiple places at once? If not, then how do librarians, who thrive on riding the cutting edge of technology, respond?

What do you think?

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. EDUCAUSE review, 45(5), 14.