Social Networking in Education

The speaker, Andy Carvin, is the Senior social media person at NPR. He spoke at Computers in Libraries in 2006 and it will be interesting to see what is different.

Establishing what social media is

Interactive Web – well established. He says 1.0, non-interactive, is almost gone, especially in professional space.

Three types of Networks

  • personas
    • Facebook
    • MySpace
  • discusssions
    • Facebook Groups – I Heart NPR
  • blogs
    • Facebook “news feeds”
    • Flickr
    • YouTube


He featured Facebook

There is already a group of users that may be creating a group about your organization.

NPR fans created one before NPR did.


Facebook’s news feed is roughly a blog

Some people use social networks as their blog platform –

Explained RSS for those not familiar- allows for content to be disaggregated and sent all throughout the web. DDN subscribes to Andy’s blog.

Great history of Social Networks! They have been around, especially in education, since the 1970’s

Recent developments – Friendster (2002), MySpace(2003), Facebook(2004), Bebo(2005)

But – USENET has been around since the 1970’s as a text-only, topic-centered discussion board.  Teachers were using it to have discussions outside of class. (list names in the U’s)

Email Discussion Lists

Listserv is a software created in 1986 that automates email discussion. (Kleenex effect)

Good examples


  • students around the World that discuss global policy
  • have a relationship with the UN

Tapped In

  • text based platform like Second Life
  • One professor created a space that was so well done that it was accepted for CEU’s

New Tools

  • YouTube 101
  • Facebook Apps
  • Facebook Groups
  • Twitter
  • Ning
    • specific closed online networks

On his comfort level with the technologies based on his age:

“Between being digital native and an immigrant, I was born on the boat coming over”


Needs of a medical researcher

Although this PhD candidate’s blog post has some points about the functionality of PubMed, her resistance towards using a medical librarian is one we should take note of.  I am sure that she is not alone in thinking that databases should be tailored to her needs.  She is a student at Harvard Medical School and observing the library web site, I see no liaison librarians.  Perhaps if she did have some, she would be more comfortable using them and they could educate her about the vast amounts of data that are accomodated in PubMed. It is true that PubMed could be more intuitive, but she needs to realize that the providing for access and retrieval of information is a profession in itself. 

 How can we educate scientists better?