What are your policies for providing/handling Myspace pages sponsored by your libraries?
What is your rationale for accepting or declining friend requests? How is the purpose of your page (i.e. -- using the page to market library programs by sending bulletins vs. encouraging teen users to network with other teen library users vs. connecting users with a network of authoritative information/people in the know) reflected in your choices of accepting or declining friend requests? If you aim to use the page to market library programs by sending bulletins -- you might choose to add everyone and maybe only limit adds to people who claim to live in areas a drivable distance from the library. If your aims are more comparable to my last two examples provided above, you might want to exercise more discretion in who you add to your page. But how?
Do you prescreen the pages of all people who have sent friend requests and screen out people who post raunchy/racist/derogatory material? Do you accept all friend requests because a public library aims to serve EVERYONE --and we shouldn't discriminate against people who choose to practice their right to free speech? Is creating a safe, enriching environment for users who come to your page (and protecting the library's image) through a "collection development" policy regarding friend requests more important than allowing (and thus supporting) the free speech of those who would like to be connected to your library? If you do choose to approach your page from that route -- how far should the review process go? If that's the case, should you not only screen the people you officially add as friends to your page, but also the people they have added to their page as well? Should you weed out "bad friends" whose pages were clean when they originally sent you an add, but then later decide to post material (or friends who have posted material) that was ranchy/racist/derogatory? How often should friends be weeded?
What do our decisions say about our libraries and profession? Is choosing to publicly ally our libraries with people whose choice of speech are more "kosher" and thus send a positive PR statement to the parents of our communities more important to our profession's support of free speech? If we kick kids out of our libraries who swear (and we have at the library where I work) what does it say if allow adds from people whose pages have odes of swear words on them?
User Safety and User Agreements
How do you handle the idea that pedophile could come into contact with their victims through your library's Myspace page? Do you limit your liability by not accepting friends or posting a user agreement prominently on your site? If you do you have some sort of "user agreement" posted on your site, could you provide me with examples of some of the language and links to the particular place on your myspace page where it can be found?
Or do you utilize a Myspace layout covers up the pictures of all friends added so that they can't come in contact with each other? If you do -- would you please post the code that you used?
Myspace Page Presentation
What is your opinion about providing a personal face to the library on the Myspace page? Is it better keeping with the whole social aspect of Myspace to post pictures of the librarians and keep a more social/personal tone? Or is it better to remain truly professional and post a picture of the library -- even though it may look more stodgy and dry in such a social medium? Indeed, it might be safer NOT to post pictures of staff -- especially when you have right there cited on the internet where you work. What are your opinions???
Best of all -- do any of you know of any material and resources citing benchmark practices and policies for library sponsored Myspace pages?
Thanks in advance to everyone who posts responses.