VALA2010 Current Session 14 – Online Communities

Privacy concerns in social networks and online communities – Amirhossein Mohtaswebi – Extol Corp Malaysia and Parnian Borazjani – Univerity Technology Malaysia – presented by Bart Rutherford.

Degrees of trust: with social networks you lose control over 2nd degree onwards, when you have 130 friends in the first degree and those friends have 130 friends and so on.

Privacy settings on Facebook for example, are hard to configure and confusing lack familiarity an there is a loosely set default policy.

Research was carried out at Malaysia Universities, with a good range of ethnicities and gender. They were working in an environment of open access – no blocked sites or good firewalls.  Their objectives were to find threat awareness levels in social networks and to run a threat model – can they find contact details, photos, personal information etc.

Blind in the sense that they sought participants through publicity around campus. Gained some information initially through the process of selecting participants.

Results – 52% did not accept a friendship request from an unknown person. However, 42% would, most (21%) if there was a friend in common. No significant difference in gender.

Vulnerability vs education – more educated students are less vulnerable to social attacks – no correlation with gender or age.

Privacy statements – 48% never read them, 14% didn’t know what they were and only a small percentage opted out of joining because of a networks privacy statement.

38% never set who can see their personal information among the rest.

New friendship requests – 70% accept without investigation. High percentages shared personal pictures and email addresses. Much lower percentages for non-personal pictures, phone numbers etc.

Mined the data from their Facebook profile to search Google, where they were able to get more information about the person. Could have serious implications for under1 18s.

Interesting: received friendship requests from unknown people to their fake Facebook profile.

Fiona Salisbury and Sandi Monaghan – La Trobe University – Finding a new voice: keys to building successful online communities

Why encourage participation? More user centred focus by offering where the users are as well as encouraging participation between users themselves.

ANZ – 68% of university libraries use at least one Web 2.0 tool. Internationally its over 70%.

Lessons learned from putting these tools in place (particularly relates to their blogs): regular posting and updating required to retain audience interest, informal friendly language is more engaging, timely replies show the value of their comments and usability is essential.

They promoted interaction not just by putting the technology in place – it doesn’t work. To get comments, they posted content that prompts a response or comment, such as opinion posts, user services suggestions, posts with multimedia, students interacting.

Library discussion threads in LMS; open communication which promotes discussion and cooperation amongst students related to library research.
Lots of questions came through, ranging from notices and information seeking, to deep referenc questions. The discussion boards also involved the students talking with each other.

Choose the appropriate technology for your environment, convey enthusiasm in your communications, chosen platform must be easy to use, use open and relaxed language, exerient analyse and review often.

Ellen Forsyth – SLNSW – Wiki ecosystems: the development and growth of online communities of practice.

Wikis are always under development.

Ellen works with NSW public library staff to encourage collaboration. Can get a maximum of 300 or so people in face to face meetings in a workforce of 2300. They use multiple blogs, wikis and a twitter account to help communicate and collaborate with each other.

Readers advisory wiki – created by the NSW Readers Advisory Working Group, using Wetpaint. It is self-managed, no oversight. People have self-assigned roles on the wiki – tagging, grammar checking, content contribution. Most interest in the 2010 Reading Challenge on their wiki.

How is the community working – they check for reading lists and meetings – both details and minutes. Most visit are daily or weekly (¾).

Ref-ex Wiki – based on Ohio Excellence Project. Offers training modules on reference service. It uses Media Wiki.  Lower visits than readers advisory wiki, but fits the purpose of the site.

75% of users said that they felt part of the wiki community, 25% said they weren’t sure for the Ref-ex wiki. Lower figures for readers advisory, but most who didn’t feel engaged felt that it was their own fault.

No one communication tools suits everyone, so they offer multiple tools to meet diverse needs. No community is going to fulfill everyone the same way either.  For some it is too quiet, for some its too busy. Although they get emails about updates, staff have said that they would appreciate updates via Twitter or Facebook.

Readers Advisory Wiki is like a rainforest – wild and ever growing well in the wet season (which is now). Ref-ex like a semi formal garden – still growing, but more planned. Both wikis are still growing and developing.