Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Google has launched it’s latest bid to take on the behemoth that is Facebook. The new offering is called Google+ and has some interesting features. Not that I have explored it in great detail, having only taken the tour. I haven’t logged in because I will need to create a new Google account, and I really don’t want another email/account to monitor (Currently I use Google to run my domain email account, and for some reason that has Google Profiles, which are necessary for Google+, switched off, and I haven’t figured out how to turn that feature back on).

Maybe if Google+ takes off, or I find a way to switch on Google Profiles, will I take a more in-depth explore. It’s a bit of a shame really, as I liked how they had organised it into circles so that you could maintain your online contacts but be able to keep different groups separate on the same platform.


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Webstock used to be my no-miss conference until this week. It’s like a combined rock festival and party for geeks – the learning and fun are intense and amazing. If Webstock was a keyword it would be “awesome”.

Nethui was not a rock festival, and less of a party in terms of headiness. Yes, there were superstars like Lessig. Yes the were miraculous acts of collaboration like the special on-off licence for that audience in that room granted by the BBC for a one-off showing of their documentary The Virtual Revolution. You might have watched it, but you can’t say you’re one of the few people in the country who have done so legally. Both of those wonderful things were not what the three days were about – quite the opposite.

The three days were about New Zealanders coming together to look at the challenges of the future and start the conversation around the question, “What do we do now?” It is easy to be brave in an environment in which one’s heroes are on the stage. At Nethui, we were required to be the heroes, in all our everyday ordinariness, speaking in that drab accent we wince at when we hear it from our neighbours and carrying all of the feelings of cultural unworth we New Zealanders seem to cherish.

There are plenty of good summations of the event available – I recommend Russell Brown‘s usual solid effort as a good starter for ten. You can even be a virtual attendee of large parts by viewing the videos collected here.

But if you weren’t there, and you had a question, answer or idea nobody else in the room did – then it wasn’t just you that missed out, it was all of us.

Don’t worry, libraries were well represented. In the last combined session on access, someone at one of the mics said the following:

“It’s not like you can go down to your local library for a lesson on how to use the internet.”

“Yes you can,” came a voice from the far side of the auditorium. I’m not sure who – but I have a suspicion it might have been a new friend from Dargaville. *waves* Whoever it was, they have my applause. *applauds*

When you’re “at the mic” you can often can only keep one thought in your head. “No, but you can’t just go your local library and…”

And then what you really should have been there for happened.

We, all of us from libraries, sitting wherever we were gave him the SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

Zippy Shut Up. by stev.ie
Zippy Shut Up., a photo by stev.ie on Flickr.

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Let’s start with a definition from a “Tomorrow People” fan:

Fandom (from the noun fan and the affix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.1

Soon after local government reform in New Zealand created my current employer, two blogs were created with the aim of spending a year touring and reporting on each branch within the system. As one of the staff members running a legacy online profile I was privy to some of the discussions, and suffice to say we were collectively excited but not entirely sure how, if at all, to respond.

Perceptions are what its all about, particularly in the online world. Don’t acknowledge people this enthusiastic, and one risks the appearance of being aloof. What about the other path. Can one become overly involved?

I think so. Let’s get a definition from another source. The now defunct webcomic Genrezvous Point had a set of characters who were the “seven plagues of cinema”. Plague five was fandom:

arguably the most repulsive of the plagues, a swarm of leeches that attempts to latch on and seize control of their target, refusing to accept any deviation from their will and loudly decrying any attempt at disputing their collective ‘wisdom’ and influence on their target.2

As a member of a number of fandoms, I can affirm that the above holds at least a grain of truth. I’ve regularly watched fellow mulitplayer gamers rail vituperously at the creators of a game world inside that world. Any amount and kind of protest, other than simply finding other pursuits, can be deemed appropriate by a dissatisfied fan simply because they will feel that they are pursuing a significant cause.

There’s also seems to be a relationship between this phenomenon and media interest. A number of stories have been published in our city’s paper of record about our service. The stories themselves are almost meaningless to those of us who have been in the profession for a significant time:

If they’re not about anything new (and therefore are not news in the truest sense), what holds these stories together? I believe they’re talking to the fandom in the sense that  they are aimed at a growing common interest in the organisation, and in that they suggest a canonical set of beliefs around what kinds of places libraries should be.

If all our organisations and services have fans, what does that imply? I’m going for an “I don’t know” on this one. We should definitely welcome the opportunity to hear what people think about us when they’ve got the comfort that relative anonymity can bring, but we’ve got to be mindful that our fandom and our users are two blended but distinct groups. To live by the word of the former is to risk doing disservice to the latter.



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Tag as in we didn’t have a blogjune tag until I just did it now and in actual fact I’m it because it’s my turn, which I’ve known since exactly yesterday thanks to a small email-related hiccup.

That’s the joy of the digital age. We had a round of emails as to how we might do this over the last week or so with an iterative series of models worked on until we felt we had a robust method of assigning rostered days. A google spreadsheet was generated, and here we are. When I lost track of my commitments the work was there to slot me back in with confidence.

One thing I’m wishing to introduce to environments I work is the concept of shared notetaking using cloudhosted documents instead of minuting. I’ve been playing around with google docs for some time, and saw the process at a dizzying level at Webstock with individual docs to support notes collaboratively created live by a space the size of the Wellington Town Hall full of geeks collated by an interesting group called Waveadept on their site.

The most interesting insight was the realisation I was getting the mnenomic benefits of notetaking without need to type every word, because I was reading other’s notes with an eye to agreeing/supplementing and thus actively engaged with the process. One’s more free to engage in the thinking work of the meeting, but one comes away more engaged in the detail of the discussion. It’s win-win.

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What an interesting experiment. It certainly tells a tale of modern society that there is a fuss over this. I know some workplaces ban various Social Media, but I think that is short sighted and denies the workplace a valuable medium for communication…

Uni bans Facebook, Twitter [From Stuff]

A central Pennsylvania technological college with fewer students than many Facebook users have friends is blacking out social media for a week.

The bold experiment at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology – which has drawn praise, criticism and even a jab on late-night TV – means students and staff can’t access Facebook, Twitter or a host of other ubiquitous social networks while on campus.

Provost Eric Darr said the exercise that began Monday is not a punishment for the school’s 800 students, nor a precursor to a ban, but a way for people to think critically about the prevalence of social media.

The blackout comes on the heels of a report that web users in the US spend more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google, according to data released last week from researchers at comScore

Still, Darr said he can’t believe the controversy generated in the Twitterverse, blogosphere and academia, with some accusing the school of inflicting “a terrible thing and an infringement upon people’s rights.”

“By and large, the students are supportive of the whole exercise and don’t get so worked up over it,” Darr said.

Read the rest here

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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 🙂

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As you can guess from the title of this post I a was not quite sure what to call it. I wasn’t sure actually what I wanted to write about, so thus you get this.

My Editor-In-Chief, and I were discussing employment, job descriptions and career paths the other day, and she said that she thought I had found the path that I was passionate about. Never before in my professional life had I thought about or brought so much work home. It was nice that she recognised something that I had been thinking for a while about. Since taking up blogging, and really engaging in the technical and social media side of librarianship, I have come to think I have really found the area in which I want to put down my professional roots. Having found that core part of my career that really engages me, I have also discovered that other parts of Librarianship and the management of libraries has reopened themselves to me. It’s quite thrilling really.

It is thus that I came across the call for speakers for Internet Librarian 2010 in America [Hat tip Librarian in Black]. I can confidently say I wont be attending 😦

Seeing that brought back to the fore of my mind an idea that has been percolating around for a while. What we need here in New Zealand is a New Zealand equivalent. Sure there is the LIANZA Conference and The National Digital Forum, but one of these events is a large broad spectrum conference with a focus on all forms of Librarianship, and the other is across complementary professions. What we need, well I think anyway, is a small event. It doesn’t have to be many days, or particularly large, or even complex. Maybe a weekend foocamp type structure could work. I even had a radical, or maybe ridiculous, idea of having a tech free environment for part of it, but let that go as being edgy for the sack of edginess.   This event could be aimed squarely at the burgeoning community  Internet librarians that are developing our institutions, where they/we could gather and really chew the fat over the latest goings on in cyberspace.

I had thought of seeing what the Ikaroa committee thought of it, but decided not to as it’s more a ITsig sort of gig. But then I’m not a member of ITsig (which may have to be rectified), so wasn’t confident in putting it forward to them.  As a by the way, how many people are members of multiple sig’s? I am a member of Pubsig, but could quite happily also join Catsig and IT sig…

So what do you think?

I will leave you with this video I spotted on The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarians Blog’s, which is the evolution of Twitter visualise,  a Twitter code swarm. An no I am not sure what you get from watching it, but it is cool.


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