I’ve seen this scene a lot at the airport lately – a person on a cell phone, Blackberry, or laptop, sometimes plugged into the wall… talking or typing away. And it’s made me realize there’s a shift going on here – but not the one you’re thinking of.
Tell me – what do you think this person is doing? Is he:
- chained to a device?
- using a gadget?
- doing email?
Or is this person:
- connecting with others?
- keeping up with friends?
- checking in with his kids?
(ok, ok, I know… we obviously don’t really know what he’s doing. But let me make my point anyway
See the shift? People used to think of computers and “gadgets” as primarily devices that you used – like using a typewriter. The activity was operating the machine.
But now, for some of us … when I turn on my computer, it’s more of a connector, like a telephone. With my laptop, I’m not “using the computer.” I’m writing. I’m editing video. I’m playing with photos. I’m writing music. I’m doing non-techie activities.
I don’t “use the phone” – I’m talking to someone. When I’m txting on my phone at the mall, I’m not “chained to my device” – I’m connecting with someone.
When I’m answering email, doing email” is not the activity – I’m answering questions, offering my input, or throwing out ideas to others. I am connecting with others.
See the shift? I’m not operating a machine anymore. I’m connecting with people. HUGE SHIFT!
Librarians – in order to connect with your younger and wired users, you need to adapt this same mind-set.