Everyone seems to be having so much fun with this that I thought I’d go make one…or thirty. I have a lot of cat pictures. I didn’t upload them to Flickr because I’ve pretty much abandoned Flickr account since my first run with the 23 Things this past winter. I use Picasa because what I want out of photo hosting is…photo hosting. I just seem to ignore all the social elements of Flickr, and it doesn’t have as many photo editing options as I would like to use. Plus, Picasa makes it really easy for me to group photos in an invitation friendly way when I share vacation photos with the family. So there. You’re welcome to check out my Picasa albums. I recommend the Kitties!!! Album, personally.

I use this as my avatar for everything, now it's all arty

My avatar for everything is now arty

It's me, with two cats on my lap, typical!

It's me, with kitties, typical!

Maybe it’s because I only finished grad school last year and the whole 2.0 thing was all we read/talked about for two years, but I’m just a smidge burned out on it all. Not the technology parts, but the whole “what is library 2.0?” debate. I guess I just don’t care if libraries are 2.0, or maybe I take the tact that libraries have always been 2.0. The thing is, librarians worth their salt are always out there discovering new tools and resources, even if they just stumble upon it in the course of their usual work, and trying it out on their patrons. Good librarians are always debating the relative merits of hot new resources. What seems to change is the stuff we stumble on. Instead of a new magazine or journal, it’s a new tech tool or a wiki. Or, really, it’s all of those things. I know librarians who have been recommending blogs and wikis and things to patrons since long before they knew that wikis were a big deal, or that a wiki was what the tool was called. Or even more, that librarians recommending wikis was a big deal. They found a resource and they shared it, isn’t that what we do?

The whole focus on being a 2.0 library has actually taken a lot of focus away from librarians being the 2.0 folks they already were. We’re all in this mad scramble to get on board and use all this hip new stuff and we’re bypassing the whole process that we used to use to determine whether the tool was appropriate or useful to our patron base. Remember when we used to come across something, ponder it’s value and uses, and then offer it up if we thought our patrons might benefit from it. Remember that? Isn’t that kind of what people come to libraries for? It’s not just the books or the movies or the computers. It’s access to someone who has done the research so you don’t have to. It’s access to resources that you know have been combed through. Isn’t that part of it?

And, in all this scramble, a lot of our basic services are suffering or not getting enough attention. For example, how many poorly designed library websites are out there with a blog and a Flickr stream attached? It is not really our job to be hip for the sake of being hip. That energy would have been much better spent on making sure the website was basic, standards compliant, and usable by all the patrons with the desire to use it. This basic building block is being ignored in web design in the rush to have this fancy stuff usable on the library web presence. I worry, what else are we bypassing? It was just so much easier when we folded this new information into our work rather than focusing so hard on now, NOW!!!

I think that things like the 23 Things is a great way to crash course librarians who have not, for whatever reason, had a good entry into these tools. But let’s all try to remember that we are shopping around here. Our patrons look to us to comb through all this stuff and offer them what we think they will use and maybe even just what they will like. But not every community is the same, and if you’re not in a community that cares about your library blog, than we shouldn’t feel like we have to use that piece for the library.

Social Networking Accounts Helen Has:

  1. Facebook – check it all day. Love the simplicity and cleanness of it. Love the applications, a lot of people would disagree with me about this.
  2. Myspace – used to check it all day till I found Facebook. Got sick of all the huge ads and crazy, extra cluttered layouts. Got especially sick of all the spam friend requests. My cats have at least 800 more friends than I do, all other animals, so I am not alone in my crazy!
  3. Ning – participated in a lot in grad school as part of the LIS Students group. Allowed us newbies and soon to be newbies a place to vent, get job interviewing advice, etc.
  4. Virb – never heard of it? You may never again, I was part of the beta for this group and it still doesn’t seem to have taken off.
  5. LinkedIn – this is more for professional networking. Links people through jobs and professional association with each other. Also not very popular yet, but soon.
  6. Always Illinois – alumni of the U of I social network. I signed up so they’d stop emailing me about it and it’s alright. I’ve only checked it once.

These are only using the most narrow definition of social networking. I could have included Flickr and such, but 6 is enough.

I think I probably stated my case for Facebook in the last post…oops.

This whole experience got me thinking about the concept of privacy on the internet. Cathi Wilkin’s wrote a post recently about Anonymous posting. I noticed it because I realized that I myself had been posting anonymously by accident (forgot to change a setting from my screen name to my real name). I have always thought that when commenting on other people’s blogs, you owe them the opportunity to respond to you as a person. I always sign my name to blog comments (except, of course, those of you who got celestihel…by the way, that was me).

But for the rest of the illusion of anonymity on the web, I choose to be private. All of my social networking is private, and for now, I’m not advertising my name all over my blog much either. Why? Because I may not necessarily want everyone I’ve ever known to be able to know me again. They know I’m out there and that’s close enough!

Also, I was once applying for a job and did a little egosurfing to make sure that if they Googled me, I knew what they would find. There was my Myspace page, a totally fun and unprofessional endevour between myself and friends, available to anyone. What might a potential employer make of that information? It also shed a little light on how some former acquaintances tracked me down, unfortunately.

So there it is, we all choose at what level we want to just put ourselves out there. But when it comes to actually commenting about other people’s opinions, I think it’s important to own it. As for my own opinions in this blog, for now, I think I’ll let you all know who I am and leave it at that. Hypocritical? Maybe, but you can’t make me!