As I was reading the articles for this week, I kept flashing back to a video that I saw last semester that finally helped me understand what people meant by Web 2.0:
In addition to making me smile, this video really helps with Tim O’Reilly’s articles on the nature of Web 2.0, and even a bit about the advertising sections.
When thinking about the application of social media and Web 2.0 in libraries, I was a little surprised to find that both the Farkas chapter, from 2007 and the Maness article, from 2006 spoke a lot about library discovery layers. London Public Library just rolled out their Encore discovery layer last semester, and my library back home is still working on getting their discovery product (bibliocommons) reading for release.
What I find interesting reading these articles, which are uniformly tech positive, is that there isn’t any discussion about the implications of social media programs at the library for staffing. While the Carson (2010) article talks about the importance of setting policy in order to protect the library legally, there is no disccusion of the “buy in” by staff.
There is always the worry that patrons will not participate in your social media efforts, whether it be liking your facebook page, following you on twitter, or adding reviews to the library catalogue. But there is also not being able to roll-out a new service because you don’t have enough staff able or interested in supporting the effort, and then failure can become a self-fulfiling prophecy. For example if only one staff member is populating the twitter feed, and they go on vaction or become ill, and no one steps in to cover them, people will lose interest in an account that never updates. The Casey & Savastinuk article gets at this a little in the section “Handling the Technology”. Here they discuss libraries/librarians being unaware of the applications of social software, or feeling that there is limited technological expertise at hand. Librarians need to be willing to learn new skills and adapt to change now more than ever if we want to be able to relevant to the communities that we serve. If it continues to take four or more years to implement a new service, where does that leave libraries in our rapidly changing world?
To go even further, librarian and blogger, David Lee King, recently posted about Milwaukee Public Library’s anti-social media campaign. His post was interesting, and the comments event more so.
Web 2.0 applications and social media software allow us to become part of communities that we may have neglected before (addressing that long tail) and might help members of our communities learn more about emerging technologies in a safe manner, which in turn helps us in our goals to improve literacies and access to information.