Lee Rainie ADORES Librarians

I guess that’s why he gets invited back to CIL. Actually, it’s because he always has such good information to share and he understands how it fits with what librarians do. His keynote, titled “Web 2.0 and what it means for libraries,” brought in some of the latest statistics from recently gathered survey data, which updated a lot of the data he presented at last year’s conference. Rainie is director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which tracks and reports on many aspects of the social impact of the Internet. Some of his statistics are from new data on teenagers that Pew is just putting out this Wednesday afternoon.
He started and ended his presentation with entertaining and thought-provoking videos. If you’re interested, check them out here:
Rainie said that there are so many different and wonderful things that are going on around Web 2.0, despite the controversies—philosophical debates and all. “The fact of the matter is we’ve entered this new environment and it’s something we all need to know about.”
He then reviewed 6 hallmarks of the Web 2.0 world that matter to libraries. Briefly, these are:
1. The Internet has become the computer. Almost all U.S. adults who use computers use the Internet and people go online from more places. Clearly the Internet has become an attractive and fun place to be—to hang out. One striking thing about young people is they want to see amateur videos.
2. Tens of millions of Americans, especially the young, are creating and sharing content online—all kinds of stuff—videos, files, photos, etc. The entire experience is becoming more social. While many worry that teens are disclosing too much info, the data from Pew indicate that, in most cases, kids are being pretty shrewd. They’re managing their profiles and personal info. They’re limiting access. According to Rainie, content creation is a young people’s game – so if you want to serve this audience, think of ways to meet these needs – offer tools that let them share with you, game with you, etc.
3. Even more internet users are accessing the content created by others. 44 percent of young people seek info on Wikipedia, but the data show they turn to humans—their social networks—to verify and validate info
4. Many are sharing what they know and what they feel online and that is building conversations and communities. About a third of young people have shared a rating of a person or product online, for example, Ratemyprofessors.com. About a third have tagged online content.
5. Tens of thousands are contributing their know-how and/or their processing power to the online commons, for example, using their computers for grid computing and peer-to-peer exchanges.
6. Online Americans are customizing their online experiences, thanks to Web 2.0 tools.
Then Rainie covered 5 issues that librarians need to address, thanks to librarian blogger and consultant Pam Berger. (See www.infosearcher.com)
1. navigation — transitioning from linear to nonlinear in format
2. context – learn to see connections.
3. focus – many of us have continuous partial attention and struggle to maintain focus. How do we practice reflection and deep thinking in such an environment?
4. skepticism – learn to evaluate information
5. ethical behavior – understand the rules of cyberspace. One of mismatches of this environment is privacy vs disclosure.
Rainie’s closing prediction? 20 years from now, a Supreme Court nominee will go down in flames based on what was posted on her Facebook.
Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, ITI

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