I would put the peak of Libraryland blogging (liblogging, biblioblogging) at around June 2007 to June 2008.
(Well, extremely white, educated, academic, US-centric, liberal blogging about libraries anyhow…and that is a very different thing. It was not representative of most.)
This is based on:
- being in the thick of it (this blog was part of the international network of reading and commenting)
- being part of the team running an Australian-wide library blogging platform (librariesinteract.info )
- Michael Stephens’ Phd dissertation on Modeling the role of blogging in librarianship was submitted in August 2007.
Wanna see librariesinteract.info now? Obviously the rather high hit rate on the site was noted when we let the domain registration drop and it is a very odd kind of link-bait site now…
A few years ago now I outlined a bit about my history and gifts received from library blogging (What has blogging done for me ? ) and why blogging to me is not just posting, but is hard work and involves a lot of time and being part of a conversation ( blogging and being a node in the conversation )
Meredith (We are atomized. We are monetized. We are ephemera. Do we deserve more online ) and Fiona (What’s so amazing about really deep thoughts ?) posted in the last week, remembering the impact of this on them personally and (more importantly) on their effectiveness and growth as library professionals. Morgan reflected similar themes when he restarted his (now 16 year old blog) in April this year after a five year hiatus (Restart ).
These are smart, clear thinkers whose ideas heavily influenced my ideas of myself as a professional. All three modelled how to be a little less hotheaded, a little more measured, a bit more logical and how to edit, edit, edit to blow away writerly chaff. I would love again to read their posts weekly and engage in the comments on their blogs like before.
There were others from around the same time. Several. I am not naming names because I would miss someone out.
My recollection is a group of very passionate, tech-savvy professionals who found each other online and expressed very strong opinions in ways that tried to show respect for each other. A lot of our energy went into smoothing off our rough edges, and I am so grateful for those early experiences that forced me to find a philosophy of charitable reading, that I now find incredibly rewarding and that I try to apply to “reading” people’s actions as well as words. I am sure it would have taken several years to develop this otherwise.
I am not sure we privately showed a lot of respect for those who had gone before in the profession and seemed to us to have limited tech skills, or were not engaging in the same way or seemed to not realise the implications of All These Things.
And the toys!!!! This was a time where several newer technologies, and ideas about how to use them, had converged to stimulate those who could code, think and hope to create all sorts of free online tools. Last semester I went looking for a Soundcloud replacement for assessment in my units, and there really was no free, likely to stick around platform where students could record and save audio straight from their webbrowser. I felt like some kind of pioneering gold miner who was looking at the now empty and industrialised gold fields in Kalgoorlie saying “I remember when gold lined the streets”.
Hands up all those who remember Google’s attempt at a Virtual World, Lively??? Where I could meet up with colleagues in Canada and stream in movies from YouTube?
We learned about making movies and using our webcams because there were countless free platforms where we could all connect without too much regard to our personal data being harvested, the storage space it would take up on the hosts’ servers, or it costing us more than our time. A new tool would be announced and whomp! a mob of us would jump on to it all together and give it a test drive. When some of the tools stuck like Meebo chat rooms, blogging gave way more to synchronous, but unarchived, chat and even to many of us travelling to other countries to meet in person those with whom we had previously had just blog-relationships. You can see the start of this in my account of the Library Society of the World in September 2008. I think this move away from our self-hosted blogging platforms, as much as us all moving on to other responsibilities and interests, eroded that daily “I will post in my blog or comment on three others this morning because if I do then this great conversation and growth of knowledge and ideas will keep going”.
I do think now I will dust off my Feedly Reader and try to rely more on RSS for my daily reading. I haven’t really used Facebook for about 9 years, and it can get lonely out here with my extra time for thinking, lack of FOMO, and less-tagged facial image, so it would be grand if others migrated a bit outside the walls to blog a bit more.
I am not sure, to riff on Fiona’s post, that we can go back to using the Internet like it’s still 2007 … but I think I liked LINT better when it was an Australian Library blog to which ANYONE could contribute, and had posts about Library and Information Week and Library Bloggers’ meetups, than about linkbait, even with lions…