Social Web Literacy

We'll be discussing the Social Web and how knowing about it can help us make libraries more relevant to our social web savvy patrons.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A few books to consider when pondering the Social Web:

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (2000). How little things can make a big difference. The second chapter discusses Stanley Milgram's famous 'six degrees of separation' that I relate to the Social Web. Gladwell's entire book, morever, encompasses the concept of memes (contagious ideas). "Memes", by the way, was coined by biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki (2004). Using examples as far flung as the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire game show to finding a submarine on the ocean floor, Surowiecki demonstrates how the Many are usually smarter than the Few. To me this explains the success of wikis, Google, and the Internet itself. Heck, it explains economics [shades of Free to Choose by Milton Friedman (1980)] and a good chunk of politics, too. You can read my blog entry about it if you'd like.

Generation Me by Jean Twenge (2006). An extremely compelling look at the changing generations (Boomers to GenX to GenMe) and how each relates to the world. The author speaks in broader terms than something as simple as blogs, but you won't wonder why young people spill their hearts into blogs after reading this book. I wrote a blog about this one, too.



Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Planning and setting up for this class has been a joy. There are so many different avenues to wander and each one can be an adventure in itself. It has been difficult only in deciding what to include and what to leave out. There's so much stuff out there!

Our class is about three hours but it could easily be six or nine. There's room for show-and-tell, analysis, discussion, discovery, etc. I wish we could meet weekly for a college-level course.

At least the concept is easy. The basics have remained steady since I wrote the first outline on a plane flying home from Syracuse in October. And books and magazine articles I have found by serendipity since only seem to amplify what seems so obvious now. Some of the authors weren't talking specifically about the Social Web at all, but their premises hold true.