If it could be pulled off, a social networking book club would have many advantages over traditional models. The modularity of content would allow patrons to discuss or share whichever elements of the club are of interest to them. Supplementary components such as author info, historical context, literary criticism, or comparison texts can be made available without necessarily demanding attention. This also allows for a variety of participation levels.
Social media tools can also enhance the experience. In addition to how shareable components might be, interactive elements such as surveys and tagging might gather data which could further spur discussion. The archival potentials of these discussions might contribute to a feeling that patrons are building an experience within a title, rather than just chatting about it.
The types of titles conducive to discussion also shifts with the transition to social media space. This same framework could be applied to graphic novels, films, music, video games, public lectures, and other formats which are not well suited to in-person discussion for reasons of formatting.
In light of this, might the social networking library become a place where thoughtful content is posted, to be contrasted against the general pulp of the Web?
Ultimately, social networking activities do not need to be housed entirely within social media. Some libraries use social networking tools in conjunction with in-person book groups. This model is an excellent way to extend content. Blog content could be referenced during the in-person meetings, and statements from the in-person meetings could be quoted on the blog. This format has the potential to be a dual gateway by inviting patrons to the physical library who are more comfortable online while introducing patrons to social media who are more comfortable with face-to-face interactions.
What might this hybridization of online and in-person activities look like?
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