Jim Spadacinni at Ideum recently posted on the potential of institutions -in this case museums- to colonize web 2.0 spaces (article link). He brings up a lot of excellent examples in his post. See his discussion of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s My Space profile and Ideum’s work-in-progress with the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology that will be…
…using a Flickr mashup to create a gallery and online activity. The site focuses on the 20th Century American photographer, John Collier Jr. The Maxwell will be posting around 500 high-resolution images to Flickr. At the moment, you can visit a John Collier Jr.â€™s Flickr site and see a test-bed which includes around 40 images.
These are just two examples of ways that museums are tapping into the immense social networks that have already been established by applications like MySpace and Flickr. I posted a little while back about Brooklyn College’s Library presence on MySpace; I was thinking aloud about the presence of other universities and colleges on MySpace. Yesterday, Melissa (sorry I don’t have a link or more info about this great resource) replied in the comments of that post directing me to the Universities and Colleges page on Myspace. From my initial explorations there are 23 colleges and universities on MySpace and there profiles vary widely in approach and accessibility. Not all of them are public and many of them have issues with the formatting of their profile, check out Yale and Brown’s profiles for cleaner, more attractive interfaces. Many of the profiles have done a good job of befriending their students: Wake Forest has 893 friends and Brown has 375 friends.
Interestingly enough, many of the “friends” of these universities are alumni, suggesting these profiles as possible spaces that universities and colleges can colonize to “stay in touch” with graduates. More than that, it is a way to find out how many students are on MySpace; how people are using this online application; and what such a social networking tool might bring to the realm of teaching and learning technologies. I don’t thin k I need to make the case so vehemently for Flickr as MySpace, for given the fear and terror associated with MySpace predators -it is often framed as anathema to all things “educational.” But as these social networking spaces with critical mass continue to foster active communities populated by large numbers of people such an argument may not hold water for much longer. I hate the advertising presence on MySpace as well as the look and feel of the site just as much as the next discerning web junkie, but thinking of this space as one of many portals into more particularized university and college resources (say like scholarship viz-a-viz podcasts, videos, online learning experiemnts, etc.) may not be as crazy as I once thought -or is it?