I continually find web 2.0 technologies fascinating in the ways they connect people. One such instance is social networks and how they connect archivists from all over the world, showing that our profession is truly unique because we value collegiality, are usually not afraid to share our professional lives with others, and can have fun!
I have discovered three social networks where some (or a lot) of archivists already belong and wanted to share them with you all so that you too can have the opportunity to go and engage other archivists just like you in these settings. These are NOT places to get a date, to hook up, or to find a job. They are places for us to share our research, our common love of history and records, and our devotion to our chosen profession. I’m going to present these three in alphabetical order so no one accuses me of playing favorites:
Facebook – the adult answer to MySpace, some say. You can join with any email address, join college and city networks, create a unique page all about you, and even join an unofficial, unsupported-by-them Society of American Archivists group. https://www.facebook.com
Library 2.0 – a newer site where librarians and informational professionals are meeting to discuss things web 2.0 and their relationship to the information professions. There is a group, again unofficial and unsupported-by-them of members of the Society of American Archivists, and another unsupported-by-them unofficial group of members of the Academy of Certified Archivists, with potential for other regional archives groups to form. There is a forum just for discussion of web 2.0 and the archivist profession. http://library20.ning.com
Global Museum E-Community – another newer site where museum and other information professionals belong to share thoughts about all things museums. There is even a group for archivists where those of us who are not affiliated with museums may belong and still be a part of the discussions in the forum. http://globalmuseum.ning.com.
Social networks can be used by anyone for any purpose. For us professionals, it is a place to meet like-minded archivists who share a love of web 2.0 and its potential to reach millions. And not everyone in there is in the 20-something crowd, though more and more we are seeing young student archivists from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and even Sweden, join and become active members. I’m 36 and I’m a member (did I just err in giving my age?) and someone, though I won’t mention who, who is really famous on this list is also active in at least one of the above social communities (PK, ha!).
Try it out. I’ve found my understanding of how researchers use web 2.0 for their own social networking has made me understand them better. Along the way I have had a lot of fun, too.
Russell D. James, CA