I have become a social networking fool. You can find me at any one of many social networking sites, most of which I list in the side bar of my blog. By far, Ma.gnolia is my favorite.
Ma.gnolia was founded by my friend and fellow Earlhamite, Larry Halff. Put simply, Ma.gnolia is a tool where you can save and share bookmarks. This is useful for many reasons. First, you can access your favorite sites from any computer. You can also create your own tags, essentially categorizing, and organizing your bookmarks in a way that feels natural to you.
The beauty of it is that you can share your sites with others who share your interests, and discover new sites in the same way. This is where the social part comes in. You can create or join groups with shared interests (like knitting or yoga). You can also have contacts with other Ma.gnolia members, which also facilitates sharing sites. The three latest links that your contacts and groups have saved appear on your home page. There’s also little side bar menus which show you the most recent links that random people have saved. You can also see the “Hot Groups” which shows you groups that are particularly active. It is so satisfying to see my links and my groups appear in those side bar menus. It makes me feel so popular.
One really nice feature is that you can thank people for their links. I have made a few contacts that way, thanking or being thanked. I was thrilled the day that Henry thanked me for my Out in Scripture link. It was just such a nice thing to be thanked for sharing a link that I like. I added him as a contact after I saw his link to the Music Row Democrats, a website for promoting country musicians with progressive politics. Since then, I have been able to keep tabs on the links that Henry is sharing, which is really cool because he is discovering stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily come across on my own.
I have waded into the waters of social networking, blogging, and the like this past year, tentatively exploring the possibilities. Information professional and shy person that I am, this is a perfect way for me to gently put feelers out there and see what building on-line community is all about. I plan to do more on a professional level in the coming months, but I’m still feeling a little be timid about it. The personal and the professional really collide here, and I have been more comfortable having a clear separation between my two worlds.
However, as I go further down the road into management in my career, I really appreciate it when people bring their whole selves into the work place. It’s how creativity can really be applied to help build a better mouse trap, if you will. So, to lead by example, I will begin to share more of what I am setting up professionally with my colleagues, starting with two groups that I have created on Ma.gnolia, Development Research and Fundraising and Philanthropy.
Sharing these Ma.gnolia groups more widely with my professional colleagues will give folks access to my personal web presence. They’ll be able to check out my Ma.gnolia profile, see what groups I’m interested in, and check out the link to my blog, which will lead them to my presence on Pandora, MySpace, or Cork’d, which will tell you what I think about the wine I am drinking (though I have yet to use this one much, I just think it’s really cool).
Ultimately, This is what I want, because this is bringing social networking to full fruition, which I feel I have yet to do. I’m nervous about it, but Ma.gnolia is a web tool that I think my fellow information professionals will get really excited about.
And that’s what social networking is all about, right?