Last night some friends and I were sitting around at dinner, and conversation turned to the recent National Equality March. Don’t recognize the name? You’re not alone–though news organizations report tens of thousands of participants, almost none of us at the table had heard about the march before it happened.
This came as some surprise, as we were a table full of very politically involved women–many of us participated in rallies in the wake of Proposition 8, or phone-banked for marriage equality in Maine and New Hampshire, or stumped for candidates in local elections. And we’d certainly gotten wind of other marches and events in the past, often making sure to mention them well ahead of time at our weekly dinners.
And then it dawned on me: we weren’t on Facebook.
All of my previous interactions with the kinds of groups that rally together for events like National Equality March happened on Facebook, but I recently deactivated my account. (Long story.) The other women at the table either don’t check their accounts regularly (and probably haven’t joined any groups or become fans of pages that would send them alerts) or never signed up in the first place.
It’s a sobering thought to realize you might miss an important event if the bulk of the organizing and promotion takes place on a social networking site you don’t use. And for many of us working in libraries, moments like these should be a wake-up call: if your district, school or branch prohibits social networking use, you’re missing out.
We talk a lot about which social networks teens are using and how you and colleagues can make sites like Twitter and Facebook part of your personal learning networks, but what about the ways we’re cutting ourselves off from the fabulous work other people are doing when we opt out of (or were never allowed to opt into) social networks?