[I had originally planned to get this published in more traditional media, but it was deemed too chatty for my prefered publishing option – although they did kindly offer me an opportunity to re-write the piece. However, since I wrote it about 7 months ago now, and in part beacuse it actually does already say what I want it to, I have decided not to re-work it and let another 3 -6 months go by, and just to post it here. Thanks to Steven, Connie and Jenny who have no doubt already forgotten my emails to them last year!] [Full PDF version here – extract below]
Is it time for UK Librarians to jump on the Blog-wagon
It’s fair to say that 2004 was the year of the web log – Blog. It was the year Microsoft eventually entered the fray; and the year the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary named “blog” as its No. 1 word for 2004, based on the number of people looking up its meaning.
Late last year I was also asked by several people why I had set up my own blog, and why I thought that fellow information workers should be setting up personal or work blogs. I already knew what I thought, but decided to ask a few fellow bloggers their views too in an attempt to answer a few simple questions.
For those that are blog virgins, Blogs, or Web Logs to give them their full title are essentially chronologically organized websites that either collect, present, or comment on other website content, or alternatively act as a sort of online diary/journal. Like most web developments, they were originally the domain of just web geeks, but now through sites such as the Google owned Blogger.com, MSN ‘Spaces’ LiveJournal, WordPress, and Yahoo!’s 360 anyone can be up and running – or blogging – in a matter of minutes.
The two most prevalent types of blogs are the personal journal, or the ‘filter’ style blog, where the blog owner scours the web and filters the content to identify only those items of interest to themselves and those that might read their blog. The filter sites attract readers because they are often drawing attention to material looked over by the more mainstream press.
Like many others, I started my blog because it seemed a quick and easy method of creating my own web presence. Within minutes you can be online sharing your thoughts about what you’ve done in the last week or that book you’ve just read, or making a note of something interesting you’ve seen online and would like to come back too.
Also, for those blogging to the outside world, there is usually just an element of ego too, as Connie Crosby says “I sometimes like the attention it creates for me”. I agree. Whilst it wasn’t the reason for setting up my blog, finding that people are actually reading what you say; respect your views, or find you a good source of information is hard not to enjoy.
So, should fellow librarians and other information workers be blogging? Should every UK information worker (or any reading elsewhere) be heading out into the blogsphere the moment they finish reading this? It depends. I asked three bloggers whom I respect; Jenny Levine, Steven Cohen, and Connie Crosby to help me answer just that kind of question. According to Jenny Levine, who has put it into words more succinctly than anyone else I know “If you find yourself writing email rants that you send off to a select group of people, you could be a blogger. If you’re always sending links to people, you could be a blogger. And if you’re at all opinionated about a specific topic, you could be a blogger”.
Another great reason for blogging is that it brings you closer to the worldwide library/information community. I would never have had email contact with people such as Jenny, Steven, and Connie nor many more whose thoughts and writing I like such as Joy Allen or Sabrina Pacifici had I not started blogging. I started blogging because they started me thinking.
Read Full version here