January 31, 2008

The value of conversations and community online

Susan Oliver over at the hcplc=lib2.0 blog just posted about a new York Times article about Tutor.com. This article was very positive about the writer's daughters' experiences using this tutoring service. To a private individual, this service costs $29.99 for 50 minutes. Our library and many other systems provide the Tutor.com service to our patrons for free. Unfortunately, the article did not mention that many libraries provide this service for free.

I immediately looked at the end of the article to see if there was a place to add a comment. This would have been a great opportunity to market libraries and their services. However, I found myself frustrated - there was no commenting available. I think that many people are getting used to blogs and to newspaper websites (like the Tampa Tribune) where one can comment on the articles and see what other community members think about a particular topic. This gives a voice to every person and I think that it is very empowering. I believe that there will be more pressure over time for news agencies to provide a commenting feature. I think that online discussion is a major part of web 2.0.

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