Monday, August 22, 2005

Librarians, blogs, RSS, and more

From Library Stuff: Why Bother?:

"We've heard it time and again. Why should librarians care about blogs, RSS, podcasts, wikis, Flickr, Typepad, whatever? An article from ClickZ helps out with the answer:

'Though the temptation may be to jump onto the latest bandwagon, the fact remains most users spend their time on the Web doing pretty mundane stuff. A recent Forrester study finds only 2 percent of U.S. adults use RSS, a number that seems to fly in the face of the buzz associated with the medium. Podcasts are definitely growing in popularity (especially after the advent of podcasts on iTunes), and blogs have begun to catch the eye of media buyers (particularly after the publication of the Feedster 500 list). But these media forms are still in their infancy.'

'Does this mean you shouldn't consider these new media? Not at all; the demographics of all the latest, greatest stuff skew sharply toward younger, savvier users. If these are the folks you're trying to reach, you'd better be on the cutting edge. Even if you're not, you'd better understand what's up-and-coming. The today's young podcast listeners will be tomorrow's adult big spenders.'

'What do you do? These studies seem to point to a strategy that should comfort you overwhelmed marketers out there. Get your house in order first, concentrate on the basics, and experiment with new stuff until you understand it. If you can't get the basics down -- measurement and technical excellence -- all the fancy ways of getting people's attention are moot.'

Libraries need market research now more than ever to help us gain an edge over our competition and know what people want in library services. It's always better to be ahead of the curve (in terms of knowledge) than behind it. Libraries shouldn't always be playing catch-up.

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