I’ve been pondering the meaning of the term “socialize” as I think about social activities, networking, and capital – and how online environments are similar to or differentiated from in-person ones. In trusty Clayton Wood (my new boss) fashion, I marched over to google and typed in “socialize” and retrieved the following definitions:
- take part in social activities; interact with others; “The old man hates to socialize”
- train for a social environment; “The children must be properly socialized”
- prepare for social life; “Children have to be socialized in school”
- make conform to socialist ideas and philosophies; “Health care should be socialized!”
I keep going back and forth about the manifesto-ness of my own messaging on this topic. Are we truly in the middle of a “movement” or “revolution” in libraries – where we must train, prepare or even ‘make conform’ in order to get by in the new environment? Or, are we simply taking part in activities – interacting with others – only doing it in new ways. In the case of the latter, we’re not really dealing with any sort of revolution, except that the tools are different than we’re used to. Right?
One way to think about this may be to say that it IS a revolution for us in libraries because we’re being called upon to make a fundamental shift in the way we deliver services: away from “pure” or “authoritative” data, information, and content, and being asked to deliver services that help people connect with each other as their source of content and information (though I’m not sure data). Is it a fundamental shift? Has there always been an important community-building aspect to information delivery (in physical space)? Are we ultimately doing much of the same work we always have? Ug. I guess I’m stuggling with the balance between our connection to work that we’ve always done in communities as library professionals, and the new work we’re being called upon to do, or at the very least, the new way we’re being called upon to do it. Which is it??