Becoming Info-Friendly

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.

One response to “Becoming Info-Friendly

  1. Best post! I've been the same about resisting online stuff… but sojo is SO amazingly easy with social networking. Sometimes I'm so certain our awareness will skyrocket that we'll solve major world problems in our lifetimes.

    **(I like books. They don't crash.)

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