Blogs, wikis, Flickr, MySpace. By now, I'm sure you've heard of most of the web sites and services we'll be encountering in this course. You might have used many of the tools we're about to work through, possibly without even knowing it.
But why are libraries joining the push to provide social technologies through their library websites and catalogs, and to offer training to patrons in everything from finding an apartment on Craigslist to promoting their small business using Flickr? Why are library staffs being offered courses in social technologies to get them up to speed?
Go back to the sentence that starts: "You might have used many of the tools..." The majority of our patrons no longer think of these things as 'interesting new technologies' -- they are now a seamless part of how the web works. YouTube is how you watch videos online. Comments on newspaper articles might be how you write a Letter to the Editor. Picasa is where your wedding photos or your vacation slides are viewed by eager family and friends. Wikipedia is how you do your homework. (Just kidding...)
As library staff, we need to be prepared to answer our patrons' questions about what they're doing and finding on the web, and possibly use some of these services on our own sites to provide that same seamless interaction. To do both of these things well, it helps to understand more about how the social web works and what it's capable of. To begin, let's look at what 2.0 can do.
Note: Throughout this course, I'll be using the terms "Web 2.0" and "the social web" interchangeably. Both of them refer to the use of interactive tools and technologies to allow a continuous conversation and flow of information across the World Wide Web.
For this first Thing, please choose a few of the links below and read through the articles or watch the videos. Then, share your thoughts about what you've seen in a comment on this post. You could also talk about what experience you've had with the social web so far, or anything you're particularly interested in.
If you'd like some background information on what the social web is, you could start with "What Is Library 2.0?", a post from my blog. Most important are the links to further articles at the end of the piece.
"The Machine is Us/ing Us" is a video by Michael Wesch at the Digital Ethnography project at Kansas State Universty. Hosted on YouTube, it offers a fantastic explanation of Web 2.0 in five minutes.
The Blogging Libraries Wiki is a clearinghouse of links to the blogs of libraries around the world that shows the diverse range of uses you can put this tool to.
The Lansing (IL) Public Library website is full of 2.0 in action. From their library podcast page (under User Tools) to their multiple blogs to the ability to chat with a librarian through the site, Lansing PL has given their users a variety of ways to interact with the library before they've even stepped in the door.
The book website for "No One Belongs Here More Than You," by Miranda July. It's not precisely 2.0, but it shows what can happen when you do things just a bit differently.
To submit your Thing results, click on "Post a Comment" below. Write your comment in the space provided, and then fill out the Word Verification field if it's there. Please include your first name and last initial in your comment, so we know who's who.
Once you've shared your thoughts here, head on over to Thing #2: Great Google-y Moogly!