Spending today reading Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody: the power of organizing without organizations. Reading Chapters 1 and 2 has given me a couple points to ponder:
1. Professionals are fast becoming a thing of the past. With the power of new communications tools and media, information is no longer a scarce resource and librarians need to get used to the fact that our users don't need us to be gatekeepers of the written word any longer. This is becoming truly apparent in the newspaper publishing industry, but Shirky also mentions librarians and television programmers as two other examples of professionals who once were gatekeepers of scarcity.2. Second point: broadcast and communications media are two different mediums for communicating, but they are blurring in the age of rapid social media technologies. Messages posted on MySpace are really not intended to be broadcast to the world, but shared between friends. Just because they are posted to the MySpace account just means that the user is comfortable and familiar using that technology to communicate with friends. Shirky uses the analogy of a group of teens sitting at a table in the mall's food court. You see lots of these groups every day at the mall, but you don't go and sit at the next table and overtly eavesdrop on their conversation -- this would be considered weird. This is just like the conversation on the web -- the conversation in the food court is in a public space, anyone can listen in, but most don't because it would be socially awkward and rude. The web is just a reflection of society.