Doing this subject has been quite a journey and I still have a lot to learn. For me it takes time to familiarise myself with each tool, and I still have a long way to go before fully appreciating the value (and the downsides) to each of them. Sometimes found the amount of information and the many ways it could be accessed a bit overwhelming.
I have found Twitter exhilarating and addictive, the way it connects to many people and organisations, linking people to different ideas, websites, etc. I find it a useful tool to expand my knowledge in so many ways. But I have been a ‘lurker’ more than a contributor, not quite ready to become an active tweeter.
Delicious, as discussed in previous post, exposed me to an amazing richness of resources, thinkers, ideas.
And I can’t wait to start blogging properly, and using sites like Flickr, on my own terms, as a way of sharing with the world, and developing both personally and professionally. I have become even more addicted to Facebook (is this a development?) and am using Facebook groups both personally and professionally to create communities.
This subject highlighted the need to be aware of, and in touch with, different manifestations of Library 2.0, and beyond, and how important it is for us to be willing to change and adapt as people’s information needs change and as different technologies make more things possible. But more than just helping people negotiate the new information landscape, there are so many other possibilities –helping others be creators not just consumers, and being active ourselves in creating communities, and contributing to the information landscape. This was highlighted for me by the other assignment, where a small community was created and willingly shared ideas and thoughts, expanding my idea of what was possible.
But while I am inspired by the possibilities offered by social media, there is frustration too – partly because these possibilities cannot always be fully explored in a work context due to cautiousness on the part of the organisation I work for or because of a lack of resources.
As discussed in the forums, and in my own experience of working in a public library, rules and regulations of different libraries, schools, etc., hinder the full potential offered by social media. This at a time when libraries need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant, and issues such as the digital divide are preventing people from being able to fully contribute to and participate in their community.
On a personal level there is also the pace at which I can acquire the necessary skills, which I feel sometimes to be frustratingly slow.
The possibilities outside of work, but in areas of my life that still relate to being an ‘info professional’ –local history, community activities, blogs, art – there is more freedom to explore the possibilities, take risks and develop skills without tripping over the regulations of a large bureaucracy. It is here I feel I can make best use of what I have learnt and what I will learn in relation to social media and the way it is changing the information landscape.
Having fallen into the profession almost by accident and constantly questioning whether Information Studies is what I should be doing, these richness of the Web 2.0 landscape excites me, especially where I get to create and engage.
And I love finding inspiring thinkers and organisations –new ones on an almost daily basis – whose ideas I can now follow, thanks to my new addiction to both Delicious and Twitter. (Which does make it harder to get assignments done. Time management issues clearly need to be addressed!)
These include people such as Seth Godin, Clay Shirky, Tim O’Reilly who challenge my way of thinking about this new information environment and inspiring groups such as Global Voices, a global network of ‘citizen media’
The possibilities offered by Web 2.0 and social media are not just tweaking what we do –add a blog here and a Facebook page there to enhance already existing systems –but a radical rethink of what we as information professionals do and what we could do. I’m not sure how this will play out, and I don’t think anyone else does either, but that’s part of the excitement. And we can all play our part to make sure emerging technologies and tools are used for ‘good’ and not ‘evil’, to create amazingness.