Thing 7: Communication tools

It’s amazing to think back to when I was first introduced to email in the early 90’s.  I couldn’t imagine why on earth I would write a message rather than pick up the phone and simply talk to the person.  The company I worked for at the time was encouraging the use of email, and most of us were resisting the new technology.

A few years later, I was working for a small, liberal arts college and was enrolled in a master’s program.  By this time, email was more popular and I “got” the technology.  Thought it was pretty cool, actually.  In one of my first classes, the professor was going to try something new and edgy with our class: we would email our weekly journal entries to him.  (oooooh!)  Believe it or not, this really was considered to be avant-garde at the time.   And the class had an amazing amount of difficulty, with attachments getting lost and firewalls getting in the way.

Times have certainly changed.

At this point, I’m much more likely to send an email than call.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but email has allowed me to keep in touch with people much more easily.  I love being able to dash off a quick note to a friend and say hi – and get an answer back in a few minutes.

At MPOW, we’ve gotten into Instant Messaging as well.  Most of us are using Trillian, which is an IM aggregator.  I probably talk to Aurora more on IM than I do in person…..after all, she’s all the way on the other side of the building.  (For those of you who have never been in our building, that comment is rather self-deprecating – the building is not that big.   I just can’t be bothered to get up and walk over there.)  If you’d like to talk to me, my Yahoo ID is mbsam.

I must admit, text messaging is not my thing.  My DSD, on the other hand, would rather text than actually talk to you – or send email, for that matter.  I can see a use for text messaging in a library setting as another communication tool, especially if the library is interested in reaching a younger demographic.

I find it interesting that many libraries aren’t using these technologies with their patrons.  Many have an email link on their webpage…but not all.   Some have an IM link….but not most.  (The Rochester Public Library has an IM link on their front page.  Kudos.)

So the big question is: if many, if not most, of our patrons are using these communication tools, why don’t we allow them to use these same tools to communicate with us?


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