It’s About the Community

Do you read Robert Scoble’s blog? It can be very interesting! Here’s a post I suggest you read. It’s a good intro to Scoble and his blog, and he also makes a great point in this post, too.

Scoble says: “… eBay is NOT about the technology. It’s about the community…” (OK – so most of the rest of his post is a rant, really – but it’s a good rant!).

Think about that statement… then think about your library’s blogs. It’s Flickr account. The YouTube channel you’ve just started. Your teen MySpace page. Who have you put in charge of those library services? Is it public service staff who work with community? Or is it IT staff who work with technology? Who SHOULD be in charge of it?

I’m not saying IT is bad or public services staff are the only people who “get” community. But I am saying these things:

  1. Websites and web tools have changed from brochureware into digital communities. That is, if you allow them to change into that.
  2. People are “doing life” online – not just finding citations
  3. People are actively participating and creating online – not just surfing.
  4. Many libraries take what can be vibrant patron communities and ignore them, relegate them to a back office with one person acting as a mere “digital janitor,” and treat these potential communities as secondary and ephemeral at best.

When your library started adding community-based services to it’s website (blogs, commenting, myspace, etc…), you landed at Plymouth Rock (or started a new Sim City – take your pick). How are you growing your community?