Facebook is social networking service launched onto the internet in 2004 (Koplowitz, 2012, May 18) and has been growing in popularity ever since to the point of having over 1.19 billion monthly active users as of September 30, 2013 (Facebook, 2014b). Of these monthly active users over 12 million are Australian, making it Australia’s most popular social media site (Cowling, 2013, December 1) with approximately 9 million Australians logging into their Facebook pages daily, which at the time of reporting was roughly 39% of the Australian population (Cowling, 2013, August 19). Whilst the Facebook requires members to have a minimum age limit of 13 (Facebook, 2014a) global internet security company McAfee (2013) found in a survey of 1000 Australian youth aged between 8 and 17, that 26% of the children aged between 8 and 12 had Facebook accounts despite the minimum age limit. As for teenagers, Sensis (2013) conducted a social media survey of Australians aged 14 to over 65, and found that those in the age group of 14 to 19 years old of those who had internet access 92% of those surveyed used social media, and of those using social media 94% used Facebook.
Whilst Facebook as internet software may not necessarily be considered an ‘emerging technology,’ with the increasing integration of Facebook into everyday life, the emerging uses of the technology can be found in almost every aspect of our lives. Not only does Facebook serve its original function of facilitating social interactions, it can also be used for political activism (Marichal, 2013), education (TeachThought, 2012), recreation and entertainment (Vogelstein, 2012, February 4) and a range of other activities. With librarians now looking into ways to incorporate Facebook into the library experience (Phillips, 2011) such as posting information about new books and advertising library services (Agosto & Abbas, (2011) learning how to use Facebook has become one of the essential 101 things a librarian should know (Porter & King, n.d.). With the enormous popularity of Facebook within the Australian population, along with the infiltration of Facebook into everyday activities, it only makes sense that a children’s librarian wishing to have a relevant professional relationship with children must be able to use the same technology as the children.
To be honest I’m not ‘on’ Facebook and I’ve never understood the appeal of social media sites, an opinion my family and friends deem to be weird. However, in order to be able to offer more relevant library services to children and young adults, I bit the bullet and signed up for Facebook. After significant trial and error learning, and severe abuse of the ‘help’ feature, I have reached the point where I can confidently explain most Facebook features to others and keep an account updated with relevant data. I still have much to learn about some of the finer points of Facebook and as Facebook updates ongoing education will be required, but continued use of my Facebook account will ensure that my skills and knowledge of this software continue to grow.
Agosto, D., & Abbas, J. (2011). Introduction: Teens, libraries and online social networks: A new era for library services to young adults. In D. Agosto & J. Abbas (Eds.), Teens, Libraries, and Social Networking : What Librarians Need to Know. (pp. XV-XXIII). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
Cowling, D. (2013, August 19). 9 million Australians use Facebook every day. SocialMediaNews.com.au. Retrieved from http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/9-million-australians-use-facebook-every-day/
Cowling, D. (2013, December 1). Social media statistics Australia – November 2013. SocialMediaNews.com.au. Retrieved from http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-november-2013/
Facebook. (2014a). How old do you have to be to sign up for Facebook?. Retrieved January 12, 2014, from https://www.facebook.com/help/210644045634222
Facebook. (2014b). Key Facts. Retrieved January 12, 2014, from http://newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts
Koplowitz, H. (2012, May 18). A timeline of Facebook history: From fledgling startup to $114 billion giant. International Business Times. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/timeline-facebook-history-fledgling-startup-114-billion-giant-699093
McAfee. (2013). Tweens, teens and technology research report 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2014, from http://mcafeecybered.com/cybered/files/Tweens%20Research%20Fact%20SheetFINAL.pdf
Marichal, J. (2013). Political Facebook groups: Micro-activism and the digital front stage. First Monday, 18(12). Retrieved from http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4653/3800
Phillips, N. (2011). Academic library use of Facebook: Building relationships with students. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37(60), 512-522.
Porter, M. & King, D. (n.d). Library 101: 101 resources and things to know. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from http://www.libraryman.com/blog/101rtk/
Sensis. (2013). Yellow Social Media Report. Retrieved from http://about.sensis.com.au/IgnitionSuite/uploads/docs/Yellow%20Pages%20Social%20Media%20Report_F.PDF
TeachThought. (2012). 100 ways to use Facebook in education by category. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/100-ways-to-use-facebook-in-education-by-category/
Vogelstein, F. (2012, February 4). How Facebook could remake the entertainment industry. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-facebook-could-remake-the-entertainment-industry/2012/02/02/gIQA2z7YnQ_story.html