Monday

Thing 8: Communication - Web 2.0 Style

Many Web 2.0 tools can be tagged as communication tools. Blogs, Wikis, Flickr, podcasts, & videos all are ways to communicate and share information. Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are communications tools for much of the (sometimes younger) population, too. The communication tools in this Thing—email, IM, and text messaging, Web Conferencing—make person-to-person or group-to-group communication easier.

Many libraries have added these communication tools as part of their online reference suite to offer users more ways to reach them. The argument for IM, email, text messaging, or a social network presence via services such as Facebook, is to reach users where they are in their preferred means of communication. We may like telephones or walk-in users, but users want to communicate with us in their preferred ways. Libraries once debated telephone reference—but that was before libraries and librarians were early adopters of new technology!

In this Thing, you will read, listen, and watch intros to these tools and how they work in libraries. There are some activities (the numbered items) to try associated with each one. Be sure to do each of the numbered items and then blog about your experiences.


1) Instant Messaging
Instant messaging (IM) is a real time communication tool that allows users to type into a chat box and send the info to one or more other IM users. It, too, can be a productivity tool or a time user. It is a popular communication among teens, as well as business people because of the instant response possible. Here is how it works.

1a. Watch this video that shows an Instant Message chat with a librarian at the University of Buffalo (Warning: music!).



There are many IM services—popular ones include AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and Yahoo! Messenger. Both require downloads to work. Google offers two. Google Talk bundles various services including file sharing if you download the software. Web-based Google Talk does not require a download. Google Chat is built into Gmail.
1b. Read about Instant Messaging and libraries in this Library Journal article.

1c. Set up an IM account with others in your building who are participating in 23 Things @ NEFLIN. Practice IMing each other.


2) Text Messaging (SMS—Short Message Service)
Short Message Service (SMS), commonly called text messaging, lets users send short messages of up to 160 characters via cell phone or other communication device. There is a basic cost involved depending on your provider for those who send and receive text messages. With 500 billion text messages being sent per year, it seems that text messaging is permeating our culture. Are you part of the revolution?

Read this article about libraries and text messaging in Smart Libraries Newsletter.


3) Web Conferencing
Web conferencing is used to conduct live meetings or presentations over the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other participants via the Internet. This can be either a downloaded application on each of the attendees' computers or a web-based application where the attendees will simply enter a URL to enter the live meeting. These web-based applications are used either with Flash or Java technology.

A webinar is a type of web conference. A webinar can be one-way, with the speaker giving a presentation or it can be collaborative including question and answer or discussion sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.

NEFLIN has purchased a subscription to OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries), a low-cost Web conferencing service that offers public online programs including book discussions, interviews, special events, library training, writing workshops, and virtual tours of special digital library collections, as well as many library continuing education presentations. NEFLIN member libraries can use OPAL to offer their own online meetings and programs.

Everyone is welcome to participate in OPAL programs. Usually there is no need to register. Nearly all OPAL programs are offered free of charge to participants.

3a. Read this WebJunction Quick Guide to Web Conferencing (pdf)

3b. Look at the OPAL Archive. Find an interesting program. You don’t have to watch the whole thing if you don’t have time; watch enough to get a feel for the format.


Blog Prompts

  • Communicate your thoughts on these tools in this communication tool--your blog!
  • Describe how your library uses email. Has it improved productivity?
  • Share your thoughts on online reference using some of the other Web 2.0 communication tools.
  • Are you an active user of text messaging, IM, or other communication tools?
  • Which web conference (Webinar) did you attend? How was it? What do you think of this communication tool?

Challenge (optional)

  1. Meebo is an IM aggregator; it lets you view/chat with all of your IM accounts from one window. Nebraska Library Commission has posted a neat video showing one of their training sessions on Meebo for their staff. It's about 18 minutes long but interesting if you are considering Meebo for your library. This provides good information about working with the program and how to set up a MeeboMe widget. If you use Meebo now, or decide to try it, blog about the experience.
  2. Twitter has had a lot of play in library literature. Described as “…a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” These presentations from BIGWIG Social Software Showcase 2007 give explanations of Twitter and its expansion features:
    • Set up a Twitter account and “Tweet” with some of your co-workers or other 23 Thing participants. How can you use this in libraries?

7 comments:

Gururaj said...

The term "Web 2.0" describes the changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aim to enhance creativity, communications, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web
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Steve said...

Web 2.0 hold lots for those who found the earlier version simply not enough
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Brian said...

The bursting of the dot-com bubble in the fall of 2001 marked a turning point for the web. Many people concluded that the web was overhyped, when in fact bubbles and consequent shakeouts appear to be a common feature of all technological revolutions. Shakeouts typically mark the point at which an ascendant technology is ready to take its place at center stage. The pretenders are given the bum's rush, the real success stories show their strength, and there begins to be an understanding of what separates one from the other.
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johnofjack said...

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Katy said...

You don't HAVE to download AIM if you don't want to. You have to have an account (aka screen name), but you can use AIM Express without downloading the whole AIM thing. Just FYI.

Cruicin’ Thru Life said...

I just Meebo'd for the first time and it was like any other IM/real time chat. Real-time chat becomes important as patrons and students get more used to having information come to them in text message type format.

Very easy to use, but the best part (like someone previously mentioned about AIM) is that I did not have to register for it. YAY!

Even better, I could chat anonymously as a guest... ;-)

Cruicin’ Thru Life said...

I just Meebo'd for the first time and it was like any other IM/real time chat. Real-time chat becomes important as patrons and students get more used to having information come to them in text message type format. We already use similar technology in our statewide Ask-A-Librarian service!

Meebo was very easy to use, but the best part (like someone previously mentioned about AIM) is that I did not have to register for it. YAY!

Even better, I could chat anonymously as a guest... ;-)