I was wandering about the Web the other day, researching a new people search site I learned about on Lifehacker. I used my maiden name to search, since it’s unusual enough that the results are usually manageable.
The first item that came up was Amazon.com and profiles. I couldn’t imagine what Amazon was doing with my profile, and why anyone could see it. I checked it out. It’s now a social networking site. You can add friends. You can add “interesting people.” It will tell you when one of your friends or interesting people do something.
I’m not sure if I like this or not, but it’s an intriguing development. One of the weird things is, I’m not sure how the “interesting people” came to be on my list. I know who they are, and I do find them interesting…..but I didn’t make that designation. At least, not consciously. In any case, I can see how this could be useful – especially at gift-giving time.
Certainly, the concept of social networking is becoming more ubiquitous. Perhaps it’s time for libraries to determine how we might offer this sort of functionality. We’ve traditionally been the guardians of personal information, but our users seem to be getting less and less concerned with their privacy and more and more willing to share. Why couldn’t we make this an option? If you want to keep your information private, fine. But if you want to share it with other library users, why not? It’s your record, after all. If you want to allow others to see what you’re reading and compare notes, why are we working so hard to stop that exchange?