Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thing 7: Communication

Whew, is anyone else exhausted by the activities of Thing 7? I learned a lot with it, though. E-mail is, of course, indispensable to information service, but it will never replace a reference interview with an actual voice, be it over the phone or in person. I consider e-mail a good starting point, but it's rare when the entire transaction is handled solely by e-mail.

I liked the productivity tips offered with e-mail because I can be easily victimized by it on a minute by minute basis. If I could train myself to only check every 15 or 20 or even 30 minutes I could get a lot more done in a day (I'm speaking of when I'm at an actual desk job with the computer in my face, not how life is right now.) I REALLY liked the template idea: having templates ready for questions that are answered frequently. And writing less in an e-mail, what a novel (pardon the pun) idea. 

I think that instant messaging would be a better tool than email for a reference interview. It's more immediate and forces the person on the other end to think through the problem a little bit more right on the spot. It's easy to ignore an e-mail from the librarian, or certain sentences in an e-mail, later. I used to IM back in about the year 2000, but hadn't really the need in the last several years. For the sake of this exercise I found a prospective library science student and experimented a little.

Here's a quick aside: The aforementioned prospective student is so deep into all this 2.0 stuff already that the idea of the 23 things is a little bizarre to him. For some people just coming into our industry it's like teaching phonetics to those who already know how to read. This is why we need to keep up recruitment efforts with people from tech backgrounds or younger people who are digital natives. Mentoring works both ways.

Back to the exercise: I was really into the webinar part of the exercise as I'm about to put together my first one for the MN chapter of SLA. The Minitex one on del.icio.us was great - it's so much easier to watch a 10-minute tutorial than to waste 30 minutes trying to figure something out by myself. Or at least it's a good way to get a headstart.

I also liked the short videos - or the idea of them - that were really marketing tools for university librarians. What a great idea. These need to stay entertaining without crossing the line into the neighborhood of cheese to be interesting to anyone under 30.

Speaking of cheese, it's time to watch Lipstick Jungle.

1 comment:

Lean 23 Things on a stick said...

I have to agree with you. Lipstick Jungle will distract me too. I haven't heard it before but omg, mentoring HAS to go both ways. I'm a boomer and there's no way I'd be where I am without being mentored up to. IM for Ref is definitely a brilliant way to apply technology.

btw, I could sure use a dose of email efficiency and productivity too. I am getting better but ...