I missed the start of the first afternoon session because we meandered back from lunch — the sunshine! The flowers! Holy Spring, Batman!
Nancy Dowd, Director of Marketing, New Jersey State Library
Paula Vitakis, Journalist & Communications Professional
Transparency! The Old School is afraid of transparency, but transparency is what keeps 2.0 initiatives alive, because authenticity and transparency are what the 2.0 crowd is demanding. If we are not authentic, our users will be in the new 2.0 media — MySpace, Facebook, whatever other social space they use — and they will tell the truth as they see it about us. Shouldn’t we be telling the truth as we see it about us?
Just as key is listening to the user. Users, in the new information and community environment, will tell you what they want. They will tell you what they think of your services. You need to listen. If you’re not listening, you cannot respond to their feedback. If you are not listening and responding, any sense of transparency and authenticity is destroyed.
Are we really sure people want answers? Are we sure what we know what people want? Or are we saying that we know what’s theirs, and we know what they want, without ever asking? People no longer seem to seek information from ‘experts’, but from people they trust. How do we make ourselves those people that they trust?
Nothing we do can exist in a vacuum or silo any longer; we need to share the information we have, not only with our users, but with our staff, our colleagues, our professional community AND all the people up the food chain — administrators, legislators, and other government/funding officials. Get everyone involved in the authentic work of the library at the level that works for them.
Ideas for advocacy in the new 2.0 environment:
- Make an avatar of your boss, your mayor, your provost — then work to incorporate their work into your environment, and offer them the skills and resources to do so.
- Set up Google Blog alerts for searches on your library, your town, or your named services. Once you know what people are saying, you can respond with the aforementioned transparency and authenticity.
- Steal liberally from others — the political realm has done excellent professional work in inclusiveness in online marketing and advocacy. Take what works for you, and deploy in your environment.
- Pick what is fun for YOU — if you’re interested in what you’re doing, your energy will help the project succeed.