Are you paranoid yet? Are you worried that the secret you shared anonymously might come right back to you? Or wondering why advertisements seem to follow you around from web page to web page? Or just creeped out by internet-enabled services tracking your every move? Or angry that mobile carriers made it very easy for anyone to track every page you visited from your smartphone? Or maybe you will simply give up any personal information for a delicious cookie? (Are you paranoid now?)
Earlier this month I found myself apologizing for some errant tweets that ended up in my Twitter stream1, and realizing that I had fallen into a pattern of sorts thought it would be useful to document. (This post, too, will be a good one to use as the ‘website’ link on my Twitter profile.) So here it goes. If you are following me on Twitter, these are the things you’ll see, in order of probability — from most likely to least likely.
It might have been the week of the annual American Library Association meeting with all the news and announcements and programming that came from it — as well as getting into the dog days of summer — but interesting news at the intersection of technology and libraries did not take a pause. Google made a big splash this week with tantalizing tidbits about its new social media project; it is at a look-but-don’t-touch stage, but the look is enticing. Then there were two articles about really big data — what is produced in the high energy physics supercolider at CERN and what we produce as a society. And to go along with that data we produce as a society is another warning that much of it isn’t safe from the prying eyes of the USA PATRIOT Act. Finally, we revisit the Georgia State University copyright case with a comment on the potential chilling impacts on free speech.
The new NPR site is now live. Kudos to the team for bringing the new site to its opening, and in doing so showing good practices for shared Twitter accounts.
As a youth I remember intently studying the troubles of others — what they did when they got into trouble and how they got out of it. If the saying “You Learn From Your Mistakes” was so true, I wanted to be able to learn from the mistakes of others. I don’t do that as much anymore — probably because I have more than enough of my own mistakes now to learn from — but every once in a while a situation comes up where this urge strikes. The case ofresurfaced that youthful urge.
As libraries feel the need to join the social media landscape to meet a segment of their user population already there, it is useful to step back and get acclimated. There is a pace of information flow that is unlike anything else in the physical world, and a minor incident — be it an ill-advised policy decision or an unfortunate slip of the tongue — can quickly spiral out of your control. And that is probably the key word: control. You don’t, can’t, and won’t have it. It isn’t the nature of this media. “Damage control,” if you want to think of it like that, is honest, sincere, decisive, and quick communication with your users. As a counter example, I offer the case of Clinical Reader.