I’m not much of a joiner. I don’t like bandwagons and I am highly suspicious of fanaticism. I was a late supporter of Obama – excuse me, President Obama! – for this reason: so many people were so into him. For similar reasons, it took me a while to figure out that I really liked Ray LaMontagne’s music, and I felt very, very uncomfortable with the crowd when I saw him perform live.
When I was doing software implementation, my professional focus became rather more narrow than it had been previously. I found myself with little time or inclination to read a lot of blogs, and because I was no longer in an academic library, I could no longer easily take advantage of free-to-me library lit, which I used to peruse occasionally. I kept up with a few favorite blogs (T. Scott and Free Range Librarian, notably) and got my own subscription to Against the Grain, but that was about it.
Now that I’m back in an academic setting, I am trying to broaden my horizons once more, and the tenor of librar* blogging seems to have changed over the past two years. I’ve resubscribed to a number of blogs I had dropped and added some new favorites (Pegasus Librarian), but the overall pace of blogging seems to have slowed quite a bit and given way to new media such as Twitter, tools like FriendFeed, which aggregates a person’s online presence and provides for conversation on the site itself, and other forums.
The possible level of participation is much higher, the time delay sometimes nil. To participate, though, in many cases means joining: making a declaration that you are part of the group. It’s much different from subscribing to a blog feed and making a comment once in a while. I’ve dipped my toe in the water by joining the Library Society of the World FriendFeed room, but not the LinkedIn group. I’m not sure why this should be an issue for me, but it is.* By the same token, I’m sure I’ll join in more, because I’m too interested in what’s happening, in the things being said and the ideas being discussed, not to be there in some capacity.
*Facebook doesn’t present this problem – at all, even Groups. I could write a separate post about why that is.