I’m becoming more wired. I guess it was unavoidable. They don’t call my (hopefully) future field library and information science for no reason. So, I’m keeping this blog, I’ve joined the Twitter-verse, and finding lots of things online that I enjoy and are actually useful.
But I’m processing all of this, too. I just got back from a brownbag discussion of a TED video about how the Net can actually help support dictatorships. The link is here. And the resulting discussion with a psychology professor and a librarian I work with led me to start thinking about what it means to be a good user of information technology.
Until recently, I’ve resisted a lot of informatics advances. (I like books. They don’t crash.) But I don’t think that’s helpful. My goal in life is (I think) to help connect people to information in ways that are socially conscious. Librarian-as-social-justice type stuff. And it’s information technology for a reason. The information comes first. And then the technology.
One thing that really struck me in the video is the Hierarchy of Cyber-needs. Modelled on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it purports that we can become self-actualized users of technology (as another TED talk-er has put it, “cyborgs”) by moving up categories of entertainment and sharing to actually becoming socially conscious users of info tech. My question is, now: How do we do it?
Don’t get me wrong. I like watching funny videos of cats sometimes. But making info tech into entertainment and cyber-sharing has done more harm than good. I like people too much to become walled-in by that. But how can I, as someone invested in the use of information technology, use it as a tool to connect people to information they need? It’s not an easy question. It’s probably the biggest question in all of LIS anymore. I don’t have the answers. But I’m glad to be joining the conversation. Even if it’s on Twitter.