Social networking sites are more than just marketing channels. Write a post for or against.
Social networking for organisations (such as libraries) definitely has a marketing aspect to it. Social networking sites such as facebook are a great new way for any organisation to promote products, events etc. to anyone who wishes to join up.
However, I believe that social networking also has a significant element of involvement from the person who is being “marketed” to which is something that hasn’t really happened in the past. This allows for people to become involved with an organisation in a way that they have never been able to before. As an example, this week I posted a link to the New York City Library on the class facebook group. NYCL can use this page as a way of promoting events, however people can comment and interact with the library through the page as well, leading to the page not just becoming a marketing tool, but also a community and information hub for anyone around the world with an interest in the New York City Library.
I do believe that this kind of social networking for organisations still does fall somewhat under the category of marketing, its just that it’s a very new and different way or marketing from traditional methods, and I think that people are just a bit unsure at present of what it means for organisations and the way that they market themselves.
I do, however, feel that social networking is a great way for organisations to connect with people. Instead of simply putting marketing material out there for people to see (or not see) with social media, marketing can become more of a two way conversation, rather, than just shouting out a message and hoping that the right people hear it.
Essentially I believe that there is certainly a strong marketing element associated with social networking sites, however they also have a community element, and an information element, making them more than just marketing channels.