Response to lesson 13: Reflection and wrap-up

Whoops! Wrong reflection.

Let’s begin with the most excellent discoveries this course has led me to.
– Mashable! Social media news is relevant to me personally as well as professionally, and my introduction to this resource could not have been better timed. I will certainly continue to follow social media in the news after this course!
– Delicious! Hello social bookmarking, where have you been all my life? Social tagging at its best and most interesting! I can get lost here for hours, and always find something neat.
– Ravelry! I know it’s only related to the course because it’s this course that made me sign up for it, but the search engine functionality is inspiring to everyone on my team at work (I showed them!) and as a knitting nerd and a burgeoning search nerd, I love it to bits.

The biggest surprise for me was when someone (I’m sorry, I can’t recall who you are and I’m having serious difficulties with loading lots of old stuff in edmodo) posted a news story that featured kids discussing how much they prefer “analog” books over digital copies.  As much as we hear about the physical object of the book as important in library school, it’s always heartening to see it in action.

Cloud computing is something I am regarding with restrained interest.  I have never been an early adopter of technologies, but I am quite interested to see where this is going.  The potential implications are massive, both for individuals and for businesses (libraries and otherwise).

Of course, this course hasn’t been all ups.  There were some downs in there too. One of the hardest things was working in a group and not being able to participate properly in the activities – as I’m on co-op in a different city with restrictions on computing, I had no way to participate in the webinars our group put together for the final project.  That was really frustrating.

I also have to say that even though I understand its relevance and importance, I have a hard time with social media policy.  It’s a little overwhelming to actually approach the creation of policies; there is so much to consider, and so much potential to go wrong.

I am also still lukewarm about Twitter and the creation of podcasts.  I can understand the appeal these things have to others, but that appeal isn’t there for me at all.  On the other hand, I can really enjoy listening to some podcasts (there are some excellent ones about knitting!) and I do like to watch certain people (er, cats) on Twitter.  With social media technologies, it is important to at least be aware of their existence and functionality even if you don’t particularly like them.

In the broad scope of things, all this glitzy technology means that libraries need to keep abreast of current developments.  There’s nothing new in that – libraries have always needed to be aware of potentially useful resources and technologies.  But social media is a larger beast than many people could have guessed, and its prominence in our everyday lives means that libraries need to make a concentrated effort to examine it with great care.  We don’t want to be left in the virtual dust, but we also don’t want to jump on a bandwagon that leads nowhere and wastes our time and money.  As the speed of technology increases and we must act more quickly to take advantage of it, we will also need to hone our filtering and analytical skills so that we can continue to make the right decisions.

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