Saturday, March 3, 2007

MySpace for Parents

Whoa! Rebecca and I did our second MySpace for Parents class today, and we had 13 people! Great turnout!

This class takes a look at MySpace, FaceBook and YouTube and deconstructs the sites for parents. We look at the anatomy of the site and profiles, the nature of its use, what information is shared, privacy levels, how to search for people, and answered questions about the site.

One of the issues I struggle with is when a parent wants to examine their child's profile without their knowledge. "So, how do I see my son's profile? He has it listed as private." Maura the Librarian moonlighting as an online PI. I generally ask them if they have talked to their children about their use of social networking sites, and to come out and ask to see it. My goal is to teach parents about the uses of these sites in a safe environment, equip them with the knowledge to have conversations with their children. To understand the long term implications of social networking sites and who else is looking. And it is hard for me to tell someone who could be my parent how to parent, when I have no children myself.

The other fab thing is that Maura the Librarian was featured on the five o'clock news that evening! After the class ended, a reporter arrived and asked to interview me. I talked about what we did in the class and why it was important. We are going to offer it again next month as well. We did this class in October and had 5 people. I did get a speaking gig at another library through one of the participants. (Our director of public access said there was low turnout at all branches.) I did learn about the importance of marketing the program, and I think that made a difference. We were listed in the Stamford Advocate and sent press releases to the schools and PTA. It is also really nice to be in a library that has a marketing department.

These classes are also great because they are free! And I really enjoy connecting with members of the community and meeting their needs. These are days when I get home from work exhausted, but energized.

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