Below is a response I posted to Paul Reynolds on one of the Library Ning sites. It was in response to a discussion we are having about the viability of the Ning, with Ning withdrawing from providing free networks. Paul has said he would be happy to contribute towards making the site a Premium site, but would need to see that it is working and worth it. Current traffic would say it wasn’t.
This has led me to ponder yet again the nature of the New Zealand library profession and social networking. I confess to feeling a little disillusioned and despondent as to where we as a profession are currently, especially with regards to using sites like this and the Ning.
“I can understand why LIANZA would want to concentrate on the LIANZA website. I haven’t heard anything about misgivings/apathy from head office about Ning.
That being said, I despair at times at the lack of professional discourse that is running through the profession. I am beginning to wonder if the lack of discussion here and on other similar sites is a symptom of a wider malaise within the body.
When I have raised the lack of content here and in other places the response I have received has not been encouraging. One reason given for a lack of uptake in the use of Social Networking sites like this is that the list serve [NZ-Libs] works well for people. Yet even on that, apart from maybe one or two bursts in a year, there is no great discourse on professional issues.
I have said it previously. Inactivity breeds inactivity. And live by the maxim Participate or perish. Our burgeoning community is perishing.
So do we as Kiwi Librarians have nothing to say? Are we too small as a profession to engage professionally? Are we really a professional body, or just a group of people working in libraries?
I would love to see this community, heck any community, up and running as a vibrant engaging place where librarians connect. I am just getting disillusioned with whether we here, or LIANZA at the LIANZA website will be able to create it.”
Are we too busy? Or is that a cop out and really we just don’t give a high enough value to professional discourse? Or do we prefer to do our networking face to face? And does that mean that those like myself who don’t have such an opportunity, by dint of being in very small centres, will miss out?
I really, really want to know. Do we as a profession value professional discourse? Are we big enough to maintain a regular discourse? Are we a profession that deals with information and technology, or are we simply a bunch of people who shelve and issue books?
You can answer me here. Or answer me there. Please. Don’t make me beg 🙂