To begin, peruse some of the social networking sites discussed in the introduction. Take a look around Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ning (in particular, lawlibraries.ning.com).
- Select a network that appeals to you and follow the steps to create a profile. If you already use one of the networks, this is an opportunity to explore a new one. While working on your profile, don't forget to customize your profile's privacy settings to your comfort level!
- Use the search features of the network to find colleagues, friends, or family members on the network and connect to some of them. Optional: use the network's messaging feature to post a message on the profile of one of your new connections, or send one of them a private message through the network.
- Take a look at the ways the network connects those with similar interests. Try to find and join some groups or pages in your network that match your professional or personal interests.
- (Optional) If you're feeling daring and have permission, consider creating an institutional presence for your library at the social networking site you have chosen. These features vary from service to service, so have a look at what other libraries are doing if you need ideas.
- Blog your thoughts about your exploration of social networking sites. Some possible questions to explore: What did you enjoy about it? What made you uncomfortable? What opportunities do you see in social networking professionally or personally? How might your patrons react to a library presence at a social networking site? What drawbacks or roadblocks do you foresee? How do you feel about the privacy and security issues associated with social networking?