Thing 12 – Putting the social into social media

*Clears throat* Ah herm.  First confession, I’ve only just this second officially signed up for cpd23, well, better late than never.  And, as it turns out, I might have a few folks along the ride with me in May as the whole programme is about to be re-run.  Yay!  I was feeling a little lonely and that feeling is particularly pertinent given this week’s topic.

What I wanted to highlight today was the freedom of social media. Whilst posting on an open blog is at once liberating, freeing me to make contact with whomever drops by, I also feel cautious.  Much more cautious of expressing my views here on this blog than I would at a conference or in another professional arena.  Why is that?  Why do I feel that I can only truly speak as an individual and not as a representative of, say, my organisation or of librarians?

Well, what concerns me is commercial confidentiality and the protection of reputation.  Data protection.  Can we in all honesty have a frank exchange of views in the very public venues that some social media provide?  I contend perhaps not.  Issues that truly keep librarians awake at night remain discussed predominantly in hushed tones between confidants.

In completely ‘open’ social media venues, such as this blog, any contentious issue would need to be based on fictional events or on extremely carefully anonymised accounts.  There’s a degree of permanence provided by the Internet that is not present in other social fora.  Miles behind the crowd, I recently watched ‘The Social Network’, and there’s a quote in that film along the lines of ‘You wrote that on the Internet and what’s on the Internet is written in ink.’  That perhaps highlights the route cause of my caution.  What I might say or not at a conference is likely gone in a second, un-remarked, unrecorded, un-regarded, deniable?  Not so with social media, an incautious remark could be replayed worldwide.

So, whilst this week’s topic is about increasing one’s social media circle, perhaps I will do so with another mangled film quote as my guide:  With great freedom comes great responsibility.*  Blog safely my friends.

*With great power comes great responsibility – Spiderman (2002)

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