Several years ago, the library community was all abuzz with Library 2.0. This new phase of Internet connectivity was supposed to put patrons in touch with the library in new and exciting ways through social networking, wikis, blogs, etc. Has this really happened? Some say yes, some say that Library 2.0 is a silly name. I mean, com'on, the history of libraries is way past version 2.0. If you want to put it in "computer" terms, most libraries are at least around the 6.0 mark or even ready for a new name all together, like "Library 2011: Home Edition." Anyway, social networks are a part of libraries now, expanding our service in new and interesting ways.
Your mission as an information professional, should you choose to accept it, will be to infiltrate the social network community. From there, you will do what you can to bring down the Internet.
Stage 1. Connect with Patrons
The first thing you must do is make contact with the people and bring them to your library's side. Give exclusive information and deals through the social networks, such as a free book sale book if the patron posts on the site or special events only listed on the website. However you choose to include the patrons, the outcome must be the same: as many followers as possible. The name of the game is rich content, as often as possible. Give them book reviews with pictures, pictures from events, pictures from around the library. Are you seeing a trend? Nothing too wordy. If at all possible make it flash and contain the word "FREE" just as I have.
|Swallow your soul!|
Stage 2. Connect with Other Libraries
Now that you have your local interests taken care of (and the numbers of people to justify the actions), begin connecting to other like-minded institutions in your area and beyond. This will help in two ways: 1) This is a great way to learn about how other systems are connecting to their patrons and get tips on the subject. 2) This is an excellent way to coordinate when the time to strike is right. When is the right time, you ask? Well, you won't know unless you are sharing, will you?
Stage 3. Connect the Community
Now that you have the community's trust, it is time to begin connecting the community. Forming bonds. Tying them together into an inescapable web of intrigue and desire, like a bowling team with matching shirts. You have given them much, and while they will always crave more you can spoon feed them content to their hearts content. Share information with your fellow libraries to branch the community. Encourage them to comment, give incentives for them to do so. Raffles help. Stay up to date with your horde until they cannot live without you. Laugh at their jokes.
|Not too much. At least he's not peeing.|
Stage 4. Collect Blackmail Information
You have your patrons, you have your libraries, you have your community. Now is the time to invest in the community at large. Both online and offline, start spamming interested parties with information. When they become complacent with all the information you are giving them, put out a simple survey. This survey will comprise of normal data (age, gender, etc.) but will also include abnormal data (favorite taco toppings, top 50 ways to leave a lover, etc.). They trust you now, the library, to give you the information you require. Keep this data, along with any DNA from the surveys they fill out, in little baggies in the back room you will label "maintenance." If you did online surveys, include some code to collect their internet histories that you will also collect on a server in the "maintenance room." Wait.
|It is handy to have the right font.|
Stage 5. Spread Misinformation
As the library cog in the middle of their social networking wheel, you begin to slowly break them down. "Eliza won today's prize. Isn't she awesome!" "Yes, [that book] was interesting, but [this book] is better." Break down their spirit by making the jealous of each other. Competition breeds the strong, weeds out the weak. For our army we want only the most dedicated followers. Point out the weak when you can, the ones that do not come to story time, the one's who make bad comments to your suspect recommendations. Form your Library 2.0 army into a snarky, hate-filled snake that will just as soon eat its own tail as strike out at another website. If anyone steps out of line, look back to your surveys and remind them about the party at the Dansbury's. That'll shut'em up. You are ready to begin.
Stage 6. Attack the Internet From Within
Send your minion followers out to do your bidding. Begin small; petitions to keep libraries open and other socially conscious behaviors. Continue to wield your mighty internet blade, slashing out at various local news organizations, book review websites and bloggers until they have no choice but to perish or join. Finally go after the beast itself. Claim content infringement. Claim that the social network of choice is not allowing for privacy, for anonymity, or simply that the service is a poopyhead. However you decide, remember that the power of the unknowing sheep is yours. Use it wisely or have it used against you. Once you have the social network you have the world wide web.
|Well, not the whole world. These people scare me.|