Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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One place too many? or, I don’t communicate that way

Posted by lpearle on 7 August 2011

As I was preparing for my upcoming YALSA Webinar on teens, social media and information literacy (what, you haven’t signed up yet?  I’ll wait while you do so) I thought about the places teens will go to get information for research.  I even asked a few teens about their experiences, and the “usual suspects” popped up – Twitter, FaceBook and blogs found through Google’s search.  What about Nings or Google+, I asked.  Their response was the equivalent of a blank face.

One had heard of a Ning, but didn’t see it as a place to gather information for school work.  It seems that Google+ hasn’t even crossed their radar.  As someone who has joined two or three Nings, I have to agree that it’s not my first stop for anything.   Even on the Ning I created, I feel that sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to go there to comment and participate.

I was also thinking about how we use social media, and how several of my friends won’t use it at all.  These are intelligent women, with accomplished careers, and they just don’t see the point of using Facebook or Twitter (much less the closed Ning I created for the class, or the web forum set up five years ago, or the Yahoo group discussion list…) One, a copyright lawyer (her motto is “making the world safe for logos”) even refused to participate in a special, one-time online-only edition of the alumnae newsletter.   Contrast that to a college friend who, I believe, has accounts on virtually every social media site out there, including a slew of them he never uses or goes to.  They’re there “just in case”.  One interesting trend I’ve seen among my students is that once they’ve left high school, their use of Facebook and other social tools dies down (until vacation, of course).  They seem to be busy living their lives, establishing themselves in their careers or growing their families.

It’s clear that younger generations are comfortable with being online, far more comfortable than my generation or those above mine.  And given my profession, I’ve had to become comfortable with it – but I’ve reached my limits I think.  Unless I can see a real value to joining a site, or learning a new online tool, I’m going to take a “wait and see” approach.  Yes, I have Google+ invitations, but thus far I haven’t responded: prove to me that the time spent there will be of more value than the time I spend elsewhere.  Nings?  Ditto.

Anyone else staring to have that “one place/tool too many” feeling?



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