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Users of social media aggregators

2011 August 13

Social media aggregators are used in two different ways. The first is for private use and the second for public/social networking. On the social networking part, social media aggregators are capable of making some or all of its aggregated contents available to the public. The screenshots below show sharing settings for two social media aggregators. These settings provide affordances to learners and librarians.

Google Reader – private and public access Settings

Symbaloo – private and public access Settings

From the definition of Personal Learning Environment (PLE) systems, learners are able to set goals, manage learning contents and process, and share with others in the process of learning. These are achievable with social media aggregators. So, the main users of social aggregators are learners, in which librarians (or information professionals) are included, since they are in a lifetime learning profession. In a case where learners’ progress need not be tracked and monitored, as provided in a virtual learning environment (VLE) or learning management system (LMS), social media aggregators would help such learners to manage their learning process and progress.

The social networking aspect of social media aggregators is a strong case why first, information professionals (particularly librarians) and second, learners use social media aggregators. In recent times, libraries have employed multiple social media sites to connect with their users. As libraries and librarians increase their digital footprints, the need to use social media aggregators arises. This is also the case for learners, who would like to share a collection of their social media sites with others in a “one stop shop” manner.

An example of a learner using social media aggregator (Symbaloo) is seen in the Welcome to My PLE!. BCIT library uses Netvibes for its Occupational Health & Safety resources, which I think demonstrates how social media aggregators can be used by libraries to support their patrons in social media environment.

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