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Libraries and Social Software

Four colleagues (from three schools) and I will be presenting on Thursday on the topic of social software, what role the library can play, what networking tools the library can infiltrate -er- participate in effectively, and who is responsible for teaching (and learning) these tools.

This is my first experience collaborating on a presentation with people from more than one school, and it’s quite a challenge. How do you do all those little negotiations, so dependent on voice and body language, to figure out who wants to present what, what our shared goals are, and how to present our topics effectively? How do you put together an outline, divvy up jobs, and ultimately get this thing done without ever meeting in person?

These challenges pretty much prevented us from planning much until today. And yes, the presentation is on Thursday, but such is life. Honestly, none of our schedules meshed very well until today, but even so I think we could have stepped up a little sooner if we’d been working in the same building.

But a couple of weeks ago we did manage to get a wiki going, and as is par for the course, it’s developed kind of a life of it’s own. It has the standard stuff: the speaking outline and notes about our ideas there. But we’re also going to use one page (currently called “Our Presentation“) in place of a PowerPoint or other projected presentation guide. It’ll include a rough sketch of our outline plus all the links we need for our live demonstrations (pray for happy internet gods that day!). We’ll also have our handout up there so attendees can go back and find it later, should they ever want to. They’ll also be able to see the wizard behind the curtain, since they’ll have access to all our brainstorming and speaking notes… but I hope that’s a good thing.

It wouldn’t have been practical for us to put everything together without actually talking to each other and performing all the little negotiations that are necessary, though. It would have been to slow. So today we spent some time in conference chats with each other and then even more time actually talking to each other on a conference call. We all talked, and I took notes into the wiki, which worked out rather nicely.

Now I just hope the presentation itself goes smoothly…

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