Libraries as Social Networks - Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet Project.
Good morning. For those of you that are now joining us my name is Tamara. So, we have invited Karen to introduce our keynote speaker. Karen is the director of library at Holy Names University in Oakland. You may know her from blog "free range librarian."
Karen: Welcome. I am of course patting myself on the back for my excellent work as Nicole's manager. Close race, it is really my great pleasure to introduce Lee Rainie, Founding Director of Pew Internet & American Life Project founded in 1999. He is also coauthor for "up for grabs" and before Pew project he was the managing editor of U.S. News & World Report and after a period of covering politics he coauthored a book for MIT press about technology and the title is "Networking." Here is a few more things I found out about him. There are academic searches. There was 22 references, 385 Pew internet academic search. Sorry. Twitter followers, 222 friends on facebook. If you Google Lee Rainie plus zombie you get 226 thousand entries. Vampire, 2 thousand. With librarian 19,600 surpassed by Lee Rainie kittens. I found out also that his first name is Harrison. I found a 1986 article that showed he has a lot in common with librarians. We are proud of our history of fighting for free speech and the right to read and we have modeled, who went to Yale rather than turn over public records during the Chicago trial. So, it is my great pleasure to introduce Lee and to be able to sit and tweet through this session to what I know will be a wonderful entertaining informative talk. Thanks very much.
Lee Rainie: I keep warning people about digital footprints and here I am. I remember the first time I met Karen in 2002 on a snowy day. When a whole idea of blogging, actually 2003, and, at Harvard assembled a bunch of really smart guys mostly, and, she kept saying such wonderful smart things that I remember at least taking mental note if not written note, "radical", which is a term of affection for me with a lot of common sense. And I have been a follower of her blog ever since then. I was thrilled that she was here and going to be introducing me and I learned things about me that I didn't even know.
One thing, my little gig at Pew Internet Project is described in our literature as being a fact tank. It is not that Pew. My funding comes from the Pew trust based in Philadelphia with a business presence in Washington. They fund us to do work that is primary research. We do a bunch of national surveys asking people how they use technology and then we write reports on our findings but we don't have any agenda. No 10 Pew fix-it plan or policy. There is no Pew position on Comcast NBC merger. But we hope that by producing useful data with an argument based on what we find in the data we will be interesting to folks like you. This is the biggest stakeholder cohort for all of our work. It is a big win for us and Pew Internet. Thank Karen for being nice to me. There is another thing that I got to get out of the way at the beginning of every take I do west of the Mississippi. I am a child of the two most challenging speaking cultures in the United States. I grew up in New York so I speak really, really fast and moved halfway through my life to Washington so I speak for long periods of time. I am sorry about that. I have been told about this and tried to get coaching and I can't do it. A librarian came up to me after my talk in Pennsylvania, "I know what your next job could be," I said I am the age of a baby boomer. "You can be a disclaimer reader on drug adds." So, I'm sorry I can't help myself. Really, cut me off if I am going too fast. I will advocate it, please don't twitter me. Transitive verb covered by the conical of higher education warning academics who appear in conferences that there was occurring that in the audience people were saying snotty things on twitter to the speaker. These were some of the actual tweets covered in the article. "We need T-shirt." "I survived keynote disaster." There was sales forms on the breakfast table the next day for that, that T-shirt. Often I don't want to turn away from the scent because I might see a severed head: Too bad they took my utensils away. My staff follows me and I never hear the end of it. So be kind.
I will talk about libraries as social networks because it fits into a bigger social story, but has been put on steroids in the era of the internet mobile conductivity and technological social networks story of the rise of network individuals. I wish that I had been smart enough to think of the concept myself. My coauthor is Barry. A long time network analyst and he talks about people now moving into, from a world of small groups and bureaucracies, into a world where networks matter both in personal and social sense but also in commercial senses. And that is the world that we are writing about in our book and the world that technology is implicated in. Big thing that is happening, bunch of things happening, first thing is librarians are well served by thinking of institutions as networks and thinking of them in the same capacity and friends in meta-works play in their lives. Librarians have always played those roles but don't have that model of being a network. I encourage you to think more that way because the word is a network word now. We still have our cluster of really tight friends who are a lot of family members and close friends but a lot of our business is done with more extensive and diverse ranging networks. They are more influential than they have ever been because it is a coping mechanism for the stresses and strains that we are going through as a culture. More and more information more and more casualty more and more material is flying at us. So, one thing that people do in that environment is to turn to their networks for cues about what is most important or interesting or relevant for assessments about what is credible or not what is meaningful and what is not. Also just as an audience, people have a sense that they are actors in networks and can broadcast or publish. They think of networks as a forum for their own content creation that is important for them as they participate in the world. They are differently composed now than they used to be. Networks are bigger, more segmented and diverse than our parents and grandparents had. We can access more people and you can maintain relationship. It is easier because we have electronic means to publish without having to talk to them all one on one. We have set of tools that allow us to have a wider expanse of people we interact with that we know and call upon when we want to make a decision and have something we are going through or just trying to navigate a communicated world. And social networks are more vivid. This word is just coming into being, social networks have been studied for generations but we have a much more vivid sense because they are displayed in front of us by their technology. We are more conscious about how our friends fit together and who knows each other and the big part of the story, biggest part that the internet introduced to light is that we can create content for them. That information sharing content, creating media creation is a very intimate and important part of network building. Librarians are already in this world. You make contact and understand contact and make reference recommendations but it is a networking activity that it didn't used to be. It felt like one on one. Now it is networking activity that librarians are well served in honoring. Other thing that has changed is communities themselves. They are very different now. I want to make sure networks, in as many ways as you possibly can, a big part of the story is explosion of niches. Many more kinds of groups, communities, bonds, and social capital that exist now. There is you name it and there is a group for it or a group against it and it is narrowly defined by passions, by demographics and sometimes by lifestyle. Host of things are now entering that picture. It is exploding in this era. One of the fun things that we have all seen is the rise of social posses. People who grab a cause or interest and pursue it. Sometimes there is something wrong that has happened and people go out for a hunt on the wrong door and what the evidence has done and bringing it to justice. You can think of anything related to politics. Anything. People run down stuff in new and interesting ways because they can call on their networks to help them and their networks propagate in ways that crowds will help them solve problems and learn things. Another brand new group, but it is certainly more powerful and abundant is what my friend calls, "just in time, just like me communities." Particularly evident in the medical world where people look for others who have gone through the exact same disease or care giving set of circumstances that they are in. Not that they are interested in finding people at the same stage of life or disease or kind of community they have been in the same kind of network. Easy now to assemble networks on the fly of people who are very, very much mapping with you and your circumstances or the person that you care about and their circumstances. Is it is a new way to think about the assembly and contribution of networks. I cannot think of any other group that is so competent in doing this. You know how to call on people to get help and resources and know how to figure out and solve problems and plug into people's lives when they can for help. Content creation piece is interesting because now-a-days they are of a different breed. They are content creators in industrial media age. Remember back to the French. they are talking clergy, nobility, and peasants. In the 19th century British and other developing countries talked about a 4th estate which was mass media or newspapers who, they were called 4th estate because they had a different relationship to space than those other 3 estates. They had different mission and narrative form and different calling so they were a distinct class of actors. Well, Bill, who is kind of like me but smarter and has a wonderful job at Oxford Institute talked about this being a fitness state where people who create blogs who do social networking who make youtube video or contribute to the online environment they have different sensibilities and are more personal and partisan and passionate and more particular in a way they see the world. They are not like mass media reporters in the way they tell stories and react to things. This is bringing a new media culture to the exhibits that you have seen out there. It is coming from a crazy bunch of amateurs that are blogging. A New kind of group. Librarians, early on, were appreciative of what the value of content creation was. You took it upon yourself probably to be the most abundant for yourself in original forms but to be teachers of it. I saw lots of libraries around 2005 or 6 beginning to have programs built around social media to help patrons be bloggers or set up facebook page and things like that so you understand that this is a new kind of community form that is well suited to the things that you have already learned and understood in your training. That is the world of network individualism at a grand level. Can we stop right there? Again being conscious that I talk too fast and long. Let's do questions and answers throughout. If you have questions arising from things that I have already said or if you agree with something or think I need to elaborate raise your hand right away and let's talk about it. This seems a particularly good moment for a filibuster break. Any questions so far?
>>>>>: Would you be discussing social networks in teens?
LEE: Yes, I will now that you said so. It is a special case in a way from a research perspective. The most interesting edge of the story isn't the teenager, it is over 50 age. Fastest growing class of social network arrives is people over age 50. From a research perspective it is an absolutely hysterically great thing to see is the tension in families when mom wants to friend junior to learn all about the parties they are posting pictures on facebook. Awesome to watch these new norms being created with females on the fly. I will make sure to talk about that.
>>>>>: I was interested in the fact you called librarians content creators. I see us as content aggregators.
Lee: I don't see it either or. Librarians have been aggregators and there are interesting ways to be thinking about that. How many people are tweeting? How people have a blog? How many people have social network pages? Just in the way we think about it that are content creators in the sense they are sharing their stuff with at least some other people. They have set privacy settings. We still consider it to be content creation. You don't show everybody in your network your diary. Like notes you are passing around in class. This feels like a different quality of public engagement. That is what I mean by that. This is an important distinction.
>>>>>: How, as well as the fact that people are engaged in these communities and finding these very unique collections of people and so forth, it seems to me there is also frustration created when you can't find those kinds of things too. Have you ever, have you researched or would you comment about that? Those times when you are trying to find something and you can't.
Lee: Yeah, there is that, two versions of that. I'm sorry, I should repeat the questions. What about, have we looked at people who are frustrated by people not being able to find things? We looked at one version of that. Which is a good news story if you are into community building, which is, I am not going to remember the data right, but we asked people what did you do when you couldn't find a community that fit the issue that you cared about? Whatever. If you went out looking for friends and didn't find them what would you do? the vast majority said, I set up a group and content page and started pinging people that I thought would help me. Personal spontaneity that is possible in this age is a lot more readily accessible when people had these tools. There is another version of not finding what you want which is kissing cousin of information overload. People who kind of suspect that what they want is out there but can't get to it. Research results are too great to wade through or not clearly on point. Again, what I think happened in networks and I don't have hard data to prove this, people ping network and say, "I have this need. Help me out." In many cases network will come through for them and it is not necessarily the first order people, first tier of friends. But if somebody is motived they will ping their friends. There are some times when we feel the survey and know a subject is important or know that there is certain important series of questions to ask around to impact technology. When you are not immersed in the field, it will take too long or it will not be enlightening in important ways so we will just tweet it and facebook it and ping our best friends in the community. Karen has gotten a bunch from me. What should we ask? How should we go after it? People who don't know us and total strangers they follow us or heard about us second or third hand send in stuff. Some is crazy and mean spirited but the vast majority is well-meaning and helpful. So that is more the experience that we hear about than people just saying, my gosh. I am so unique there is no one like me or nobody that can share what I want to say. Act of expressing that need almost always brings back something. And that is what people want, too. They are not necessarily fully satisfied but happier for the engagement.
>>>>>: Will you talk about the difference between state format media than the information that they provide is for us to govern ourselves better in a democracy.
Lee: Question is more a difference between the 4th and 5th estate. 4th estate, I am refugee from the world of mass media, it has a surprising number of narratives and framings and approach to the world that is different from the 5th estate. It is very focused on political and civic life. Very focused on public events of the traditional kind. Things that happen in public or meant to drive public narratives. It is fact check edited ahead of time before it is published. Institution is more important to readers than the actual bi-line that is on the story. It is institutionally based. Quite expensive to gather. Professionals are doing it and it is built around a core set of the narratives. In the 5th estate, more free-for-all. People are not feeling what the mayor or president said yesterday. It is, "hear is my reaction to what that crazy person said or here is how it doesn't work with my life." Here is how I think about this. So starts being personal and almost in civic conversations starts with partisanship. Most engaged people are partisan. Notion we have people saying, they want to know all of the facts make more decisions about who would vote for. People are partisan and come through this through a variety of ways. But they are the ones who want to comment on public life. Blog is pretty nice and red and blue cohort. Shades in between and shades on the side. But it is more partisan that way. In many cases quirky and personal. Journalists can't comment on whether the breath of a candidate stinks or not. The norms of the 4th estate are pretty well established. There are certain places you don't go and certain stories you don't tell and for 5th estate those boundaries aren't well defined and personally defined. Does that make sense to you? They use different tools too. Okay. Well, one more question.
>>>>>: Could you explain I guess network and social (inaudible) some of it sounds the same. I guess people with an axe to grind.
Lee: Some of that. Question is, about little more detail about what I mean by social posses. They come in a variety of flavors. I am sure people will help me do these stories as we crowd-source my talk. Quite famous technology person from the valley area who was lost over the desert. Do you remember this person couple years ago, help me out. Flying a plane. Quite famous person lost over the desert. All of his friends and friends of their friend began using on line tools to help in the formal search trying to locate where he was to get more details about the plane he was flying. The route he was likely to fly and tail number. People assembled to try to help find a comrade. There is a story of a simple sort that I ran across where an Acura, special piece of some sort of part outside of the car was stolen, and, there was the guy whose car was stolen from, got hold of the security film of it and saw the license plate of the person that he thinks stole it, posted the license plate of that person and a little bit of description and a stranger said, "mine got stolen too." Here is where he works here is where his mother lives. Remember the cub's fan who caught the ball? Social posse that rages out of control that people within an hour of him knocking the ball out of the hands of the left fielder posted his name, address, employer mother's name, commented about 7 languages about what he had done. What I mean is, people assembling to do jobs. Great example of social posse about a book "here comes everybody" talking about a stolen cell phone and people again assemble to help a person track down a person who stole the cell phone. I am giving bad examples of people that don't network to save a life. There are rare diseases where you can, they tell you what the literature and clinical trial says and what the best hospitals are treating the disease and all of a sudden strangers come together to save a life. That is what I mean. Okay.
>>>>>: Could you comment briefly on your definition of 4th estate and 5th estate. I consider Fox News partisan.
Lee: More clarity? There is blurring. When Karen and I were at Harvard a row was half, divided in half. Half from mainstream media and half from blogging. It was a pretty clear-cut distinction. People, the people in the room, bloggers were amateurs. Media, they were pros. Since everybody is bloggers there is a blurring of that line and no longer any contempt of the kind that there used to be by professional paid reporters for news organization against bloggers because they all do it themselves and they understand, how they can be amplified. Read your morning newspaper someday soon just seeing how many sources that paper came from on line. Reporters find their sources of people who have blogged smartly about it. Worlds have merged. I am talking about sensibility of publishing. There are narratives and norms that are elevating as opposed to others in the content creation world of social media there is a lot more stuff and a lot more ways with more narratives with that personal partisan quirky sensibility to it. Project that I have been working with has been doing research for 11 years. We watched things change the way we look at things. I thought that I would go through those. Internet and broadband. Very first survey in March of 2000 we found 46 percent of adults were using internet. It was already sort of well along in the adoption curve. We weren't new to the party. But, we, it was still less than half of the population. Now it is 79 percent. There are age differences that show up on this chart. Adults over 65 still not quite 50 percent of them are yet on-line. Very different picture from the now 93 percent of teenagers who are on-line. Important part of this story is internet user population. For us, that becoming internet user when you answer question to either of these questions. Do you use the internet and email? If you say yes, most people do both, we realize that early on, some users didn't think they were using the internet. We want to make sure we counted them. And, by saying yes to those questions we watched population grow up until 2006. Then it stopped. If you used it at work or neighbors house or libraries you say yes. This is a broad picture of the on-line population. It stopped growing around 2006 in the adult world. Other question we started asking was broadband connections. We don't ask specific up-load or down-load just if you have a high speed connection. Most people know at least that. We now see that 2/3 of Americans have broadband at home. Fascinating to watch the world change from mostly dial-up population to mostly broadband population because as people made that migration they became really different internet users. Use it more deeply into the rhythms of their life and became the default things for what they wanted to look for. Sports or finances or whatever. Internet as they got broadband connection it became the first place to look at rather than the paper in the pre-broadband age. Better outcomes. More easily find things they wanted. And, they were content creators. Relatively high speed connection encouraged people to participate. Not hard to do. Tools got better and so, broadband was a big change but again its growth has slowed down, too. Particularly in the rural parts of this country which are much less connected to high speed connections than urban areas. by educational attainment older people are the single strongest. If you are over 70 you are much less likely to be a user. Disability is still a prediction of non-user use. When we do surveys we get someone on the phone. We ask them do you want this in English or Spanish. If they choose Spanish they are less likely to be using internet. That takes care of socioeconomic differences. Still shows up as dependent prediction. For broadband being African, apart from the socioeconomic status, it is weak and shows up in the data. Consequence for the information are profound. We are getting more stuff and more information and it comes at us more rapidly. The velocity picture I am showing here is interesting because it is not so much that people are getting the big stories in the world coming at them faster in the TV and radio age. What is special about this is people finding out stuff they care about and this relates to the relevance. People are setting up their "daily me". Filters, alerts and other things in this challenging environment so they can bring to them information that matters most to them rather than the gate keepers and the traditional mass media thought they would be interested in. Which is another difference between the 4th estate and 5th estate. I wish I was smart enough to talk about the "daily me", but term that came in the mid 1990 from a book called "digital nation", I think. Somebody like that. He headed MIT media lab. Point is one that librarians have understood a lot better than most people the media environments they are just more immersing now. More fun to be in and getting better and better all of the time as pixels crowd more together and we get more broadband. Bunch of activities into bringing teenagers into their communities. They understand games and make games available. I hear good things about what happened in libraries as they build games into these. Tech companies that think of game-like structures as the most effective way to do training. You get skill. You master it and get a pat on the back and move up to the next level. That is, you know, a ton of work now in the military and tech companies built around teaching these methods. You can't see how much longer the educational establishment may hold out from this. There is serious gaming movement now. It is an important thing and tends to be centered in upper higher education. But it will begin to filter down. It works. Worlds eventually understand this. Big thing is content creation piece. This is how we measure it at Pew. We don't we get rough measures of these things and don't tend to ask these all in the same questionnaires. Easy to say about 2/3 of American adults and 3/4 of content creators of the sort of kind that I described here. Social networks is first. Because people share opinions and lives. Photo sharing piece is really interesting because if it isolates people who share photos from non-photo shares they are different beasts together. They do more and have more social capital and they are reporting greater levels of satisfaction with their lives. Something about sharing photos on-line that turns people on and freaks out parents. Stuff like that. Comments and ratings that people built in there. Still bloggers are 14 percent. And from a phone researcher perspective it is harder to talk to people about blogging. Some people define bloggers, that is easy to say, I am a blogger. But people who tell their life story and it do it on their facebook wall, that is what I call blogging. They don't. The function that we used to think of discrete function called blogging is more morphing into a bunch of different capacities for stuff. Harder to talk to people about reading blogs. Software is so cool it makes it look like high end media site and this merger of professional and amateur classes every reporter working for a news organization as a blogger, there isn't that pro amateur differential that has much meaning. We struggle with twitter and finally said we will ask this straight up. We tend to not want to privilege a particular application, but we confuse people too much with previous language. Twitter, the number has grown, but not exploded like social networks did a couple years ago. Won't ever attain that height that social networking did. You can see, we don't know how to ask yet about locate-based services. We get answers ranging from 4 percent to 17 percent. We are trying to refine it. It is coming. A bunch of people on 4 square using the social location services in twitter and in facebook and Google services, but it is hard to get people to think about that when so many location applications that they are using are not necessarily known to them. Map is tracking your location. So we are going to try to refine the questions to capture this. Big story is that now in the internet era location tended to be an irrelevant variable to people. When they sent off email they didn't care where the recipient was. Time mattered less. Now it is coming more dramatically back into the story, especially when pocket devices are registering it. So a new layer about us and identity and our way of engaging the world is coming back into the story in a really interesting way and content creation of a sort. You guys experienced internet and broadband was enormous as the world moved from atoms to bits. So it is a challenge to your collections to figure out how to deliver to the people who always prized the traditional things you have done plus the new constituents who demand new stuff in new ways. Good news from a social networking perspective, libraries have a unique and special jobs in solving problems. Starting with access. Wonderful work done by the University of Washington about how people use technology at libraries and they were particularly focused on those who live below the poverty line. They found there was a lot of activity from low income folks centered in library technology use that wouldn't have been done anywhere else. Your capacity to apply computers and internet computers was essential to people who needed it, ranging from teens to senior citizens who wanted health care and altruism's. They are using this to do stuff for other people. A lot of altruism gets missed in a lot of ways but libraries are at the center of that. You also, as I say, are becoming more involved with helping people participate. Teaching them skills, models for them, good ways to participate and again through University of Washington study showed that there is a lot of people using library technologies for social activities for job and economic related and educational and skills upgrade and community engagement. Part of the story about libraries being social networks you are serving people who would not be able to participate in this world and it is that is social act. In case you didn't think of this that way. I will argue there is more that libraries can do. I am not sure to what degree this is an issue. Around the country it is. People who don't use internet and people who don't think about broadband have a variety of issues about why they don't do it. For some people it is clearly about the money. They don't have the resources but that is fine. That is not the majority of non-user. 1/5 of non-users price is the single greatest deterrent to getting on line. Other people say, I don't want it or need it or see why it would be useful to me. They like old familiar media sources. But, in focus groups we have done with them often what really they are telling you is I am worried about my skills. I am embarrassed that I am not with the program in the digital age and don't want my children to see that I can't do the things the way that they can do them and they don't know what is out there. It is striking to hear they are pretty good about covering things that get media attention. Well schooled on the idea internet is full of predators and stalkers and people that steal identities and take your money but they don't know high quality health information is on line or the best breaking news is on line or have a sense that they are interact with government on line. That in many cases government services that benefit are easy to use on line. There is a tremendous move to put a lot of stuff over to the web so that people can interact and people don't necessarily know that. So, there is a, what I argue here libraries can be thinking about educational functions that says here is what it is as well as here it how to do it. People need support and hand-holding but also learning where the good stuff is. That is what you learn how to do. I would say there are opportunities here. Again, I am not sure in this area if there are many people who think that way. Clearly the case that there are some people inhibited because they just don't know. That is internet broadband part of it. Any questions about this.
>>>>>: I am surprised you find disability is connected to not using internet so much. I find a lot of the people I know, disability including myself, couldn't do without it.
Lee: Exactly. Question is, she was surprised
that disability is a particular non-internet use
when her experience is that the people who are
disabled are at it and users of the internet and it
helps them. Problem is, that well, issue is, that
for all people who are in cohorts that are thought
not to be internet users you tend to be avid in the
stream if you are a user. In the early days people
over age 65 they were in a small minority of
cohort. When they were on it, they loved it. When
skype came in they loved interaction and in many
respects the internet users in those cohorts were
more frequent and adoring in their use of internet
but cohort showed otherwise. Vast majority didn't
look like them and act like them. Same case with
disabled. We see, particularly people who are
disabled, that really affects some major act of
daily living or chronic disease. If they are on
line they are more likely to do more stuff. They
are in a cohort where more people don't do it than
Do you know what, we are getting close to the end here. Wireless revolution was really important. I will do a little bit of that to give you our data and tell you how. 57 percent, doggone it, 37 percent of Americans now connect to the internet wires if you do it with a smart phone. 85 percent of Americans have cell phones. 40 plus percent of those 80 percent connect to the internet one way shape or form with a hand held device. Almost everybody with laptop connected wirelessly on the go. You get counted in the wireless population more than half of the population now connected wirelessly. They have a very different sense of well let me show you this. They have a very different sense of place and presence and being with people. You may be aware of this new book that makes the argument, MIT, doing book called "Alone Together" people would rather engage networks on this than talk to the person that is 3 feet away. She worries about social implications and norm and people not being present when they are physically somewhere and being engaged with people who are distant from them. There are other things that show it the supplements and doesn't take away engagement from other people. We will argue with the meaning of that for a long time. We are in the field of new survey with applications. 35 percent have applications on the phone and 24 percent actually use them. People buy phones with these loaded and in some cases Ipads frequently loaded don't have any idea how to use them. A lot of them don't like texting either. So the applications, the world is tremendously exciting in this part of the world. Ton of energy in the technology community. Librarians will be at the center of the argument in long-term. Wire magazine did a cover story that provoked conversation. Cover line, "web is dead, long live the internet." Talked about how the wide web browser was going to give way to the application world where people could do more directly to the things that matter from them from trusted sources that matter to them. Companies are trying to get the applications so they can begin charging. Now they have to give them away for free on the internet. I don't think "wired" implication of the wired cover will play out. People will segregate lives and certain things will be great in the web world. If you are sick you don't want to confine yourself to a handful of sources you want the feast. If you want a feast from a trusted source on something that matters to you the application world will be your friend and more I think there will be segregation that takes place and different kinds of searches will be done in different kinds of media environments. Now, this of course is the places where you work, got sort of rearranged. Used to be libraries were places that housed things that people came too. It was cool you stored and made things readily available. Now a lot of this stuff goes out to people without having to visit the building. That is an enormous disruption. Your relevance of the library is something for you guys to decide. But, I argue that the wireless environment can make even more appealing some of the things that in the social sense and collaborative sense and learning sense and in a quiet sense. Libraries are still great for solitude and concentrating on one thing or another. Huge debate that did Google make you stupid. There is brain research showing people who in the life of perpetual user internet, this is a challenging environment where librarians can help people navigate and give them time to be solitaire and at peace if they want to be and also collaborative spaces for crowds learning and sharing and participating and finding the balance and finding needs of people is challenging.
>>>>>: I don't believe quiet space is really accurate any more. Part of that is because of all of the media that people use which makes them less conscious of how they affect others with the noise level. They are much less quiet now.
Lee: I hear that all of the time. But figuring out where that sort of place of peace and quiet and retreat and solitude is maybe librarians think about that or maybe that is not appropriate any more.
>>>>>: Other side, my branch reopened in a wealthy neighborhood, Presidio Heights, in San Francisco. How we are being used as a quite place, that is what I notice; they are using us as a beautiful place to sit and work. it is quieter than Starbucks and you don't have to buy anything.
Lee: We have done a number of tours of higher education libraries most common thing we see now is zoning where there are areas for being more active and areas for contemplation and strategically designed buildings around different types of behaviors in the same facility.
>>>>>: That is a big move in the architecture communities.
>>>>>: We hear about how the Japanese when they get on the train envelope themselves and say, I am focused on this thing. You see that regardless of the level of the noise. I work in a very busy library. We see 2500 a day. People create their spaces. Put their headphones on.
Lee: I will run through social networking quickly to give you the data. 48 percent of Americans are social networking now. The fastest growing cohort is older folks. What is most interesting from a social research perspective about teenage use of social networking is dashboard. Absolutely, for many kids there facebook page is their home page that is what they check first in the morning and what they check last at night and carry cell phones to bed with them to see if any new wall postings or texts come in as they sleep. They set alarms loud enough to wake up at 3 am to make sure -- there was wonderful term that I became aware of at the east south west conference. Fomo -- fear of missing out. Sort of this dark side of perpetualness. Something will happen somewhere. If you are the last to know you are a loser. That is one goal for people to be perpetually connected. But the problem is they are perpetually connected. They can never take quiet time to surround themselves with solitude and dosing themselves with social contact and not comfortable being alone. So, there is, world where the classic double proposition of technology is very much in evidence. Things that you get out of it that are way cool and things that it does to your life that rearranges molecules that aren't cool. There is more stuff about videos. Big shift you guys have had to adjust to in the advent of social networks, particularly, share the stage with amateurs. You know all of this stuff and know what is best and assess whether something is right or wrong or got an institutional around it that makes sense or not or whether timely or topic or the most recent thing. All of a sudden everybody is in the act. This he are saying things that aren't true or posting things that are wrong. It is an uncomfortable space. There is an upside to this. Bill Fisher at Harvard says this is the golden age of amateur experts. Cool that you can go to school on any subject you care about without getting the credential. We see it all of the time in health care work. You get diagnoses and didn't know anything about the diagnoses. 3 days after they are schooled as the most well-trained specialist. They read the medical literature and clinical trials. But it is disorienting to have the old structures of authority and sort of expertise now challenged by the 5th estate. So, librarians can help people be in different attention and media zones. I will cut to this. I have 5 questions that I, that are practical questions. I don't want to do that. Okay.
These are 5 questions that this age of metaphysical questions about the nature of knowledge and thinking and public technology and nature of public spaces. That is what I was going to talk about for 10 minutes. Here are the practical questions that are worth pondering. Couple years ago I briefed NBC News about how people get news now. David who was president said, that is highlights of the big question of our life. What is commodity? What is the cluster of things ABC News can do better than anybody else? We should lavish attention on them. What if people expect from us which a lot of other actors do as well as we do. But, we owe it to our patrons to give us the best version as cheaply and efficiently as possible. Do we have a White House correspondent. Staffing it, for network where you have got crew to go along with, that is a big money proposition. Is it really day-to-day make abc news better than the ap? Reading the wire service. It was a big struggle for him because he knew that if abc or any news organization pulled a corespondent to cover Washington there would be hell to pay. Everybody would say, You are a sissy. This is a big show at the white house. It is a hard question for librarians too. Patrons want it all from you. Traditional stuff, new stuff, they want you to do it all. New users are making new demands on you. Answer this question. What is uniquely well positioned to do for the world and essentially for our community? And what is the other stuff that patrons expect of us that we can deliver with more efficiency and cost than we do now? There is a wonderful chapter title in Jeff Jarvis's book, "what would Google do?" Talked about how companies, traditional companies, think more like Google in the way they approach the world. One chapter was do what you do best and link to the rest. Somebody else is doing pretty well. Some of the things that you guys are doing pretty well. Maybe there is a new reallocation of resources where it becomes their major responsibility to do it and you point people to that. And say you trust us to give you good information and advice. They are the ones doing it. We don't necessarily have to do touch on all basis. That was a cool way with social networking play. I love that you guys are sort of institutionally thinking about alliances to strike. There is a way to be thinking now about other institutions in your communities are trying to do some of the same stuff you are doing. Providing good education. Remember there are ways that you can make common cause with local university and school system and local nonprofit's groups whatever that you care about. And, essentially expand your mission but also leverage the other kinds of institutions that are available to you that are trying to do the same thing you are. Obviously, thinking about yourself, and individual people or individual communities, networks is a great thing to do. Because it is networking world but there are other ways to think about who else can we form alliances with in our community. What is the mobile plan? I don't actually have great ideas about what this is to librarians. Desire to get real-time and assess it and make meaning out of it make decisions on it is growing and will grow even more. Libraries tended to be oriented around linear information that had been developed over time. Real-time information is hard to sort through and make meaning of and I wonder whether librarians, in asking this question, could come up with wonderful ways to help people tie in to the most meaningful real-time information to help them navigate their lives. 4th question what is the gift economy plays? There is a lot of, good high quality scholarship now suggests there is a parallel culture rising up in the age of the internet where people aren't necessarily looking for financial rewards but being content creators. There are other motives that are driving them that are social. Looking at raising their status or looking to be helpful to people and looking to be a recipient that doesn't involve exchange of money. In many respects people use social network to audition, to look for jobs or hire them in one way shape or form that isn't directly related to what people are talking about now. Librarians are doing things to be helpful, helpful to learn about new things and so I argue that inviting patrons to be co-creators of the library experience you can ask for feedback. People who love you and will be happy to respond to your questions. When you got decisions to make the burden doesn't always fall on you entirely to know what patrons want to anticipate needs. Ask them. They may tell you and you will have to sort through stuff and awkward exchange potentially. But thinking there are people willing to give you feedback and answer questions and respond to the things that you are mulling. Where do we spend our next investment dollar and staff dollar and how do we furnish collections? They will help you sort through that stuff. And, then finally, this is a world where the imperfections of the metric that used to exist can be improved. There are ways to measure things better than we used to but the challenge for particularly for nonprofit institutions or public institutions is to figure out what to measure and how to measure it. You can measure audience size and measure awareness. That is okay too, you can begin to measure engagement. Somebody who tweets you or friends the library or responds to question about we are thinking about buying so many E-books of this type. Those are people who are engaged and I argue they are more valuable to you than somebody who is aware of you and what you are doing. Thinking about how to define success and who you serve and how you serve them that is having fundamental conversations about how you measure that especially not so much outcomes, you are wanting to measure out. You are not measuring outputs but the volume of traffic is important but there are new refinements you can do on that and I'm sure you can measure that. I am sure of that because librarians are smart and care about their world and communities that many other people do. I talk to a lot of groups and library groups and i now say with a level of serious data collections, librarians care more about being good social networkers and being engaged than anybody else I know. As a happy patron of libraries I want to thank you for that and tell you it is a world that is a bit shaky but you don't have to be afraid, if you approach it with a right frame of mind and right level of creativity. Thanks very much.
One or two questions if you want. If people want to leave that is cool.
>>>>>: Can you share some of the stuff we had to gloss over.
>>>>>: It will be on web site. I will leave them here.
Lee Rainie - BayNet Event Lecture, May 6th, 2011, Koret Auditorium