Information Flux in the 21st Century

140 Character Revolution

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I have a confession. I do not have a Twitter account. So far, it has been easy enough to follow others’ noteworthy tweets without an account. And, I haven’t felt compelled to write my own tweets for interested, or uninterested followers. Although I have seen the value for certain uses, I remain somewhat of a Twitter cynic.

Apparently, I am missing out on something so revolutionary, a whole world is forming around the 140 character microblog. Organizations are available to educate on how to adapt to 140 character communication. There’s a 140 character conference. Statisticians are monitoring the flow of these short messages in order to read public opinion and sentiment in real time. The UK’s Royal Opera House is creating a Twitter Opera. Of course, Twitter is a must have for marketing purposes. The list goes on…

Does this mean that as a society we are destined for an ever decreasing collective attention span? Do we have to look forward to movies that will be the equivalent in length to a commercial? A 140 character literary genre? As funny these seem (at least to me), they are a reality already. Clearly, the 140 character world is here, big time. But, let’s not forget; less is more may apply to design, but not everything else.

Okay, so now I am feeling social media pressure to succumb. Before too long, I will finally become a late adopter of Twitter. So, how about you, Maureen Dowd? It wasn’t long ago that you said to Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, “I would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari Desert, have honey poured over me and red ants eat out my eyes than open a Twitter account. Is there anything you can say to change my mind?” To which Biz Stone replied, “Well, when you do find yourself in that position, you’re gonna want Twitter. You might want to type out the message “Help.””

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August 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Children’s Book Recommendations and Social Media

200px-The_Secret_Garden_book_cover_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_17396A few weeks ago, on July 4th to be exact, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times took time out of his daily reporting on the atrocities of the world to share some thoughts on kids and summer reading in his column. And, in his blog that day, he invited readers to offer comments on their favorite children’s books. The comments came flooding in. So much so that his subsequent blog post was a follow up that included some recommendations from the over 2,000 comments that he personally moderated over the 4th of July weekend. Admitting the joy he ultimately felt at this task wasn’t necessary; that came through in his post.

I read the column and first blog post late on July 4th and had to immediately put in my suggestion, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The next day, I showed the column and blog post to my 9 year old daughters. The reason I showed them the column was to remind them that they like to read. After all, it was only a week before, when they were still in school, that they were reading for at least a half hour a day, and enjoying it. One of my daughters wanted to comment on her favorites, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, and Becoming Naomi Leon and Esperanza Rising, both by Pam Munoz Ryan. She typed in her comment, stating that she “really loved these books because they were about strong girls who faced their difficulties with true, brave hearts.” I was so proud. If only reading could come as natural an activity now, in the middle of summer, as going on the computer is, but, I digress.

The fact that I have the utmost admiration for Nicholas Kristof aside, I love that he took the time to write about this subject, and to bring readers of his column into the discussion. Mr. Kristof did what I anticipate will happen more and more. He listened to his readers and let their views be melded with his. Not only did he acknowledge and share the recommendations of his readers, he wrote that he bought a few of the recommended books that he hadn’t yet read to share with his children. Social media changes the rules of publishing — it is no longer one way. Writers write, readers write, writers listen, and sometimes rewrite.

I mentioned Mr. Kristof in my post on Games for Change and Gaming in Libraries.

August 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment