I didn't sign up for 23 things until right near the end of the registration period as I wasn't sure how relevant it would be and how hard it would be to fit in with other tasks at work. However, now that I've come to the end of the 10 weeks and doing the final exercise I am extremely glad I made the effort to do this course and have found it of enormous value.
'Web 2.0' was one of those phrases that I'd heard bandied about but didn't really know what it was. The nature of the course allowed me to discover even if only briefly, a large number of sites and applications that I had never heard of, let alone looked at. I had a vague idea about Youtube, Facebook etc but didn't know about RSS feeds, podcasts, Rollyo, LibraryThing, image generator etc. I think my favourite things were the ones I thought I would be most likely to use, especially LibraryThing, Rollyo and RSS feeds and Zohowriter.
One thing that struck me as I was doing the exercises and which I've commented on several times in my blogs is the fact that there is so much out there that you can feel swamped and overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you can do, and that the best approach is to take those aspects that are of use to you and make them work for you. I mean, the technology is there to serve you, not to take over your life and mean that you spend hours and hours online. One of the characteristics of nearly all these Web 2.0 applications is the ability to tag things, share them with others, add comments and get into conversations with others and so on. Which means the potential for the whole thing to grow exponentially is huge and makes you tired just thinking about it. Maybe it's a generational thing but I don't care particularly how many other people like the same books or music as me, don't really want to spend hours online reading people's blogs or feel the need to share my thoughts, preferences or photos etc with the rest of the world. But it's nice to know these things are there and how to use them, to make choices about what works for me and how I want to interact online.
We were also asked along the way to consider the possible uses and implications of Web 2.0 for libraries. It seems to me that libraries do need to get on board with these things in order to reach out to our current and potential patrons in a way that is becoming more and more the norm. North Shore Libraries is working towards this by establishing specific web positions which we will need to keep up to date and make the best use of the new applications. If we're going to do it we need to take care and do it properly rather than plunging in before we know what we want and need to do.
Finally I would like to congratulate the North Shore 23 things team on putting this course together and being so helpful and supportive along the way. It has been a lot of fun and really useful, and opened up a new world of possibilities!