[Web4lib] Code4lib 2008 Minority Scholarship
kgs at bluehighways.com
Thu Dec 20 12:54:06 EST 2007
> Web 2.0 tends to be very decentralized for several reasons. First,
> would see many times that there is no longer a single web presence for
> an organization or group. They have their traditional website, a
> facebook page, a myspace page. a blog, a Google/Yahoo group, etc.
> There may no longer be a key location for information or
> communication. The other information "decentralization" is that with
> blogs and other social networks announcements and other chunks of
> information are getting redistributed for organizations and groups.
> You could in reality participate and be aware of an organization
> without ever going to their web presence.
> Brian Gray
Brian has described this well. The Web-as-destination is really here;
communication is often (quite intentionally) in the wild.
Also, Dan, this thread is no poke at you. I'm of your technology generation,
remember? I was part of the early PUBLIB community, and we've been on PACS-L
and so forth together since the old days.
However, look at how the discussion of WoGroFuBiCo evolved; in particular,
see http://del.icio.us/tag/WoGroFuBiCo . Interestingly, though the library
community was given a tight timeframe to respond, and at that to a response
form that was very 1.0 (a teensy web form into which one disappeared one's
comments), quite a few groups and individuals chose to respond online in
various locations. In this case, the communication was somewhat
heterogeneous (all blog-based), and I think due to the short timeframe the
organic discussion-of-the-discussion did not evolve, but many other
conversations travel across different forums, existing in a productive
half-life of long-range rumination and response. There are "discussions" of
library signage in Flickr; I've participated in advocacy for the TV writers'
strike in Facebook; that same strike has been using YouTube for its advocacy
The viral characteristics of these communications are key. X posts; Y
comments; people are commenting left and right, honeybees of
cross-communication. At its best, you see a deepening of discussion as it
crosses formats, geographical, and cultural boundaries. Even list
discussions have often moved to formats that can support topical discussions
(ironically, most of these fora are really just well-done web-based versions
of the bulletin boards we were using in the 80s and early 90s) so that
someone interested in Christmas trees in libraries doesn't have to wade
through every other point under discussion; it allows busy people to focus
on their interests and needs. Out in 2.0Land it's also harder to do what I
call "the tyranny of the minority," where a handful of persistent loud
voices drive the tenor of the discussion (ALA Council list was really good
for that for a long time, effectively killing any real discussion).
When I said a lot of women had left the room, I could have added, so have
many men. I have repeatedly seen librarians of younger tech generations get
on the traditional discussion lists, hear the same four or five voices
bloviating (mine included, at times!), and exit quickly. They'd rather be
blogging or Twittering or Facebooking their experiences (often all three,
and then some) than plodding through fifteen posts on miscellaneous subjects
that feel a lot like "person who can type the most wins." You and I are
accustomed to that realm, but they aren't and they don't need it or want it.
(Look at the profound silence that followed my post to LITA-L on
WoGroFuBiCo. It's not that no one cared; the discussion was simply happening
elsewhere.) Frankly, I wrote my Web4Lib post less for those who were on the
list than for those who weren't-and promptly Twittered the archived link.
kgs at freerangelibrarian.com
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