Monday, September 18, 2006
Social Software 2.0
Prior to SLAIS, I never had an inkling of the importance of social software, let alone its application in LIS. Is it a radical new development? Depends on what perspective one takes. In my view, social software is nothing new: it has been in the market for a while. ICQ, Geocities, online forums & message groups, and mailing lists, just to name a few. The only difference is that it never quite got categorized under one rubric. Currently, they are repackaged as MSN, blogging, and wikis in a different form (but basically a similar function). Regardless of it being new or old, social software is a powerful tool in communication, particularly for the health sciences since up-to-second information is often crucial for health professional.
Robert S. Kennedy’s “Weblogs, Social Software, and New Interactivity on the Web” offers an intriguing discussion into the importance of Web 2.0 in the health sciences. As he contends, the online environment is undergoing an interesting evolution. Many health professionals are increasingly taking advantage of this new connectedness to experiment with expanding our intellectual and social networks.
Interestingly, he echoes something which many in the library and information circles have been arguing for years now. Blogs offer the possibility of transforming publishing and traditional media into more personal and interactive experiences in which the individual is not just a passive consumer but an active participant. In fact, blogs in medicine and the neurosciences are unique publishing tools that are beginning to have an impact, one in which it has become both personal and professional journals or commentaries that have morphed into a distinct style of communication. Amazing. And we are only on the cusp of these emerging technologies. Can you imagine how much more it will be 10 years from now? I sure can't.