These are the People in Your Neighborhood…

Are blogs dying, being supplanted by all sorts of other Web 2.0 gizmos like FriendFeed and Twitter?  Maybe.  It takes a lot more time and energy to write and read a substantive blog post.  But one way to stave off blog death is to get more readers and have more of a conversation on your blog.

My colleague at UK, Stacey Greenwell, has created the Kentucky Blogs wiki. This will (hopefully) list all of the library and information professional blogs in Kentucky.  I think it’s a great way for bloggers to find each other and blog readers to find us.  And since it’s a wiki, you can add yourself (or a blog you know of) instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

You should totally steal this idea for your state, or if you live in a larger metropolitan area, do a city library/information bloggers wiki.

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back in the saddle

-After a week of easing back into work post-vacation (read: chatting with co-workers, catching up on correspondence/reading and watching out for rats…um, without going into too much detail about that last one, let me just say this: THERE IS A REASON WE WANT YOU TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT FOOD IN THE LIBRARY, KIDS!!!), I am now back at 100%. And I learned about and/or experimented with a whole bunch of neat stuff this week. Let’s review:

– I decided to give my Twitter another chance. The last time I tried it, it seemed to be plagued with technical problems and, as I didn’t have many contacts that were real people, it all seemed sort of pointless. However, this go around I’ve added a bunch of real people and many of them are in contact with each other. Now I can see that Twitter can be used almost as a substitute for Instant Messaging. It also is a really great way of sharing links with people, especially when you don’t have a lot to say about them. As an added bonus, it hasn’t crashed on me once.

-The long awaited Facebook Chat has finally hit my network. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. The good:

  1. I don’t have IM addresses for many of my Facebook friends, so this would be a way of contacting them if for some reason I wanted to chat.

The bad:

  1. Much like Meebo, I found it hard to remember to keep a tab open to Facebook (which is necessary to remain logged in from what I can tell) and there was no sound notification that I had a new message.
  2. The IM box was too small for my taste, but I guess I could have used the pop-out IM function.
  3. I have IM addresses for everyone I like to chat with, and I’ve consciously kept people on certain networks so that, for example, if I want to talk to X I log in to Google Talk, but if I want to talk to Y, I log into Yahoo. And actually, I’ve sort of fallen out of the chat habit lately.
  4. I’m not actually FB “friends” with my students, which is necessary for the chat function. I keep my profile open to my network and they’ve messaged (aka emailed) me through FB, but I can’t see that I’d get much student use out of it.
  5. I am peeved that it has co-opted the “notifications.” I have grown accustomed to looking at the top right hand side of my FB homepage when I log in to see if anyone has started a scrabble game or superpoked me or what have you. And now that area is blank and I am saddened by this until I remember to look down. Does that make me pathetic?

The Law Librarians in Virtual Worlds workshop had its initial webcast this week. The rest of the workshop will take place in Second Life, a platform that I heretofore have not been wildly enthusiastic about. However, I am hoping that this will be just the kick in the pants I need to really get in there. I’ve created a (new) account and have started playing around so that I’ll be able to really devote some time to it after finals. Meet my alter ego Gemma Szarbark:

Gemma Szarbark

I thought I was being all creative in having her initials being “G.S.” (whereas mine are S.G.) and making her hair blue and eyes brown (whereas mine are the opposite.) And you know, gosh darnit, I thought she was kinda hot. And then my sister posted on my Facebook wall, “Why is Mom your second life avatar?” *sigh* Oh well, back to the drawing board. Maybe I’ll become a turtle.

Thus far I’ve made it off of Orientation Island, although I think I may have left a little too early. I can walk okay, but I do seem to have the awful habit of bumping into people and things. Flying is definitely much easier. I’ve done a little exploring. This weekend is supposed to be cold and rainy, so I think I’ll spend Saturday getting better acquainted with everything.

-Found some neat blogs that have found their way into my RSS feeder:

– In the four months since I last posted about it, my FB friends list has grown significantly. Some people from high school found me, I gained a couple because of my SEALL talk, and I gained lot because of the Blue 2.0 module. I’ve sort of given up on being actual friends with my entire FB friends list. And I guess that’s okay. It’s certainly not impeding my contact with my actual friends (none of whom live in my area code) nor with my UK students and colleagues. Anyhoo, here’s what the old Friend Wheel looks like now:

Hopefully that’s too small to read any of the names clearly. I’m posting it to show the connections (green is UK; reddish orange is IU; purple is high school; light blue are law librarians). But just know that Yoko Ono finally has a mutual friend on my list.

-Typepad has created a Facebook application called “Blog It“. Instead of being a feeder for external blogs to appear in your FB newsfeed, in this case you create a post within the Facebook plateform and it sends it out to your externals sites (blogs, twitters, etc.) Does that make sense? It sort of turns the standard set up on it’s head.

The various tech blogs seem to be excited about it, but my reaction can be summed up with “meh.” Personally, I have different presences on different Web 2.0 sites because I put different types of content on each. I can’t imagine any content that I’d create that would be appropriate for all of these services. Like the FB Chat, this is just another step by the Facebook creators to make FB a one stop destination for all of one’s Internet needs. I don’t know that I see that happening, but what do I know?

Mashable Invites

One of my new favorite Web 2.0 blogs is Mashable.  (It’s not a new blog, just new to me.)  It’s pretty business news-y, but it’s good for hearing about stuff before it becomes buzz-worthy.

I just discovered today that they maintain a beta test invite swapping service called Mashable Invites.   I’ve registered for it, but at the present moment I have no beta testing invites to share.   I still haven’t heard back from Jaiku so maybe I can get an invite this way.

NaBloPoMo

Finally! An alternative for those who don’t wish to tackle the NaNoWriMo challenge: National Blog Posting Month. That I can do.
I signed up with the thought that at the very least this will be a good incentive to keep this blog rolling through that difficult “the novelty done wore off” period that happens about a two weeks into a new blog. (Or maybe that’s just me and my short attention span.) I also thought that perhaps this would allow me to come into contact with some like minded folks.

What I didn’t realize that there was a whole social networking backbone to the NaBloPoMo site. Probably because the last time I seriously looked at NaNoWriMo was November 2002, and then it just had a message board. But considering Ning is running this, it should have been obvious. So, check it out, here’s my profile:

NaBloPoMo

So if anyone else out there is trying this, let me know.

SciTechNet

SciTechNet is a blog devoted to covering social networking systems aimed at scientists.  It would be so easy to crack a joke right now about nerdy, socially awkward scientists, but I do have some standards.  Besides, as a librarian, that would come perilously close to “glass house” and “throwing stones” territory.  I need to start looking for some subject-specific social networking sites.   I wonder if there are any legal ones out there?

The University of Chicago Faculty Blog

This morning I discovered the University of Chicago Law School’s Faculty Blog. (Georgetown Law also has one, but it does not seem to be as active. There’s probably others as well, but I just stumbled across those this morning.) Assuming that one could get enough faculty members to buy in, this would be both a good promotional tool for a law school as well as give students an insight into their profs’ scholarship activities.

I’ve had it in the back of my head that after seeing how the library’s 23 Things take-off works, I’d try to organize something similar for the law school teaching faculty. (Either something that organized or just a series of brown bags.) This might be a good example to show.

MLA Taskforce on Social Networking Software

The Medical Library Association’s Taskforce on Social Networking Software has begun a blog detailing the use and application of Web 2.0 technologies in medical libraries.  I’m going to be interested to see how other “special libraries” tackle Web 2.0 issues.

Source: NEXGENLIB e-mail list