Mark Lindner, of . . .the thoughts are broken. . ., wrote from the point of view of a boomer in the middle. On labels, he commented that "when we label large groups of people and then treat them as a set of character traits we have shut down the conversation before it has already started."I try not to let the generational talk get to me, at least not too much. What I also wonder about is how this 2.0 is turning into a generational talk, if you will. While I am sure there are some of my "seniors" (and yes, as a boomer, you would be an example) who are very savvy, knowledgeable, and open to changes, there are some who are not. I am willing to bet in some cases it is not so much that they do not have those traits. It may be more that they need to be convinced or shown the relevance, a point which I thought Mark made very well. It's the why. It goes along with learning about the learning. It has to be more than "let's do it because it's cool, we are hip, and if not, our patrons will leave us for Borders (or Amazon or Google)." In his comment, Mark reminded me of one of the great challenges teachers of all types face: how to make it relevant to those we teach. It is something I work on to this day, and it will likely keep me busy for time to come. The relevance to a lot of the Millenials (if we go with that label, using the definition of them as born after 1982. This definition was used by Holliday and Li in an article for RSR 32.4. I am reading it at the moment, and I will post my notes on it later), is that they are already wired, so to speak. They grew up with the Web and the tech, so this goes along with what they do anyways. Yet, they can be both savvy and naive. Looking at the recent examples of Facebook and how some colleges have used it to spy on student misbehavior, and how some students would say they had no idea anyone other than their friends would see their drunken pictures makes a good illustration of the savvy and naive. This is where education comes in.
Walt Crawford, of Walt at Random, had been hoping he could wait and see for others to post on the issue (too late Walt, you may have to anyways). What concerned me about his comment was this:
"I've already encountered the fuzzy line between noting that a Wonderful New Idea may have drawbacks and being labeled an obstructionist for raising any doubts. (But then, if I read some of the blogging from the Gamer's thingie correctly, at least one of the speakers seems to be saying "People like that will die off anyway," which is certainly one answer, if a slightly mean-spirited one)."
He has a small post on the Gaming Symposium that puts the quote about someone dying in context. The context was about books and some people having a fetish over them. Folks are better off going over there and reading the actual quote and post. It is such remarks which make me wonder if things are getting confrontational, intentionally or otherwise. I happen to like books, a lot. I happen to like a lot of the 2.0 tools as well, some more than others. Does that person mean I am one of those that will eventually die off? I would have loved to be a fly on that wall when that statement was said, just to see how some librarians reacted, if they did. As for being labeled an obstructionist, not that it has happened yet, but I have been called worse. A librarian, an educator, anyone with an interest in information literacy and more broadly in how people learn and find the information they need then make use of it, should be someone who asks questions and raises doubts. I am trying to work on staying in the middle, not because I don't want to take a stand, but because that is my stand. As I wrote in my previous post, I was shaped by those seen as 1.0, and I work with many that would be targeted by the 2.0. It can be an interesting place to be, even if the labels fly, along with other objects. I want to know why. Why do we need such and such now? Why is such and such the best fit for my students, my faculty, my staff, and my colleagues? How do I get there if I lack buy in? Should I wait until they die out? I have questions, and I want more than "we are all doing this, it's cool, follow us." I know, that last one sounded mean, but go on, take a look at Walt's post, that was the apparent gist of that speaker. Walt suggested that it was a challenge to stay in the middle these days in his comment to my post. I think I am going to see if I can live up to that challenge, or at least try.
Some questions I have to discover by myself. Give me the tools, and I will figure them out and get back to you. Other questions I may need help, and I would like to hope that someone out there will be there if I have such a need, and be there because they honestly want me to learn, not because they are dragging me along to get to their level. I learned long ago that a good teacher opens the door, and you have to walk in. I just wonder if some think that others need to be kicked to go through the door. Well, I have probably given this more thought than necessary, so it's time to slip back under the radar. In the meantime, I am sure the conversations will go on. Thanks to Mark and Walt for stopping by, and thanks to the many others out there who give me food for thought.
P.S. I saw this from Michael Stephens's Tame the Web, Principles of Library 2.0. He pulls them together from various places. Some seem good; others need work, but that is just the dynamic nature of the topic. The comments on his post are worth a look as well.
Update note (12/08/2005) 5:30p: I have had this for a while, so I am going to put it here as addition to my notes on the 2.0 topic. This comes from the Resource Shelf. They put a post under their resource of the week with a variety of items on Web 2.0, which sort of brings together a lot of things in one place.
Update note (12/12/05) 9:48a: I just came across T. Scott's very thoughtful post. He uses the term Librarian 5.0, but what caught my attention is how he voiced many of the things I have been thinking about, especially about the library being a tool. He also writes, "By all means, use all of the available tools, just don't get hung up on thinking that the tools provide the magic. Librarians do." This is definitely well worth a read, and a great addition the conversation and the questions we should be asking.