The Web Is Not A One-Way Medium

Anybody who questioned the Pew Internet and American Life report about how teens use the internet and how they expect conversations and interactivity from the online services they use might do well to take a look at this comment on my Chernobyl Tour story:

Student Looking for Info that your not give us
February 3rd, 2006 10:11

you people suck. We have to do a school report and you are not giving us any info on what happened to the people, and the environmetn, we need a story from someone and about someone who lived through this inccident.

Ignore the bad spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Ignore the personal criticism. Instead, think about enormous shift of worldviews that allows a reader to make that comment about a popular story on a top-ranked website. Yes, the internet really is conversational — even if some people may be bad conversationalists.

Now imagine instead that the comment was on a related post at a library’s reference blog. Kindly worded or not, that’s a reference question. It’s an opportunity to serve a patron who obviously isn’t being served by traditional library services, and it’s a huge argument for libraries to make sure they’re blogging this stuff and fully participating in the Google Economy. Afterall, the person who made that comment certainly didn’t search the library.

Keep reading: the language of your website, institutional blogging done right, and designing library services for today.

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