In a couple of weeks, I’ll be speaking about Social Networking Sites to that other crowd–students. I have two workshops set up for Fall Explosion (our freshmen orientation) in which I’ll be teaching how to manage your online identity.
I’m actually finding this more challenging than speaking to librarians about social networking. Most of the time when I give Library 2.0 talks, the majority of the crowd is being introduced to it for the first time (beyond what they hear in the media). So after I do a little damage control regarding predators (with the data to back it up, of course), I explain how these tools can be useful for libraries. That’s the other defining characteristic–I’m telling librarians how to use these tools for work, not fun (although I personally find them a lot of fun). So I start from the basics and then talk about libraries. Piece o’ cake.
Not so with talking to freshmen. How many of them are already embedded in SNSes? I’m sure that many of them have been using MySpace (and perhaps Facebook) for some time. And yet some may have not. And for those who have, their various degrees of experience will mean that for some I will be teaching a lot of new material, and for others I’ll be rehashing stuff they’ve known for years. The solution? Tap-dance. If you have to rehash stuff, do it in a way that’s entertaining and innovative. I’ll try to throw in as many jokes, comics, pictures, etc. as I can to keep it light and entertaining.
Second, I’ll be speaking about how freshmen can manage their online identities (i.e. privacy). Not the sexiest of topics. I’m sure some of them have had their authority figures try to scare the crap out of them in the wake of the MySpace Predator scare (since fear is an easier deterrent than education). So I’ll be informing them about the instances of true predation, the statistical likelihood of predation and stalking behavior, and how to protect themselves (so that they don’t become that one-in-a-million). I’ll also need to educate them about the long-term effects of having an online presence (insert WayBack Machine here). I can’t wait to show them my web pages from college!
If you have any great ideas of what college freshmen should know about SNSes (or more ways to make it entertaining) let me know!
edit: I changed the title because it was non-descriptive (in an attempt to be poetic). Bad, librarian, bad!