Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Twittering the Digu Way

If you dont' know by now, Twitter is a free micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets -- text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them. It's being used by everyone, from the British Airways to Barack Obama. But we must remember that Twitter is mainly for English-users - a large population of this world don't converse or even use English in their everyday lingua franca.

While Twitter is often regarded as an information network for distributing and exchanging information, in China, users rarely surf the net for information. The Web in China is not a Tool for people’s daily life, but rather a venue for entertainment and relaxation. Not surprisingly, blogging is also viewed in such a way.

Digu is such an example of how microblogging works in China. Digo, a microblogging service from Shenzhen is designed in such a way that it is deliberately entertainment-centric. It's even got a Celebrities’ Digu channel where users can follow 62 Chinese celebrities. What does this mean for us out here in the West? Nothing, we just twitter along. But we must be aware that despite the global Web 2.0 phenomenon, we are still geographically silos in language and culture. We might be information-rich, but we are not pluralistic in knowledge as we may think. Information professionals beware!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

World Digital Library Coming to a Computer Near You!

This is what the future of libraries will be like. I'm excited at the unveiling of the new World Digital Library. An Internet library aimed to be accessible to surfers around the world is now on line, with its formal inauguration in Paris on Tuesday. The latest in increasing international efforts to digitize cultural heritage, the World Digital Library is combination of contributions from libraries around the world.. Developed by the Library of Congress in Washington, with the help of the Alexandria Library in Egypt, the Library was launched at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The Library not only offers an array of books, maps, manuscripts and films from around the world, in seven different languages, it ultimately aims to bridge a cultural divide not only by offering people in poorer countries the same access to knowledge as those in richer ones - but also by making available the cultural heritage of Asian, Africa, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cultures.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Waves of Cellphones Use

I recently attended a fascinating talk, which proposed the idea that Web 2.0 is a commodification of knowledge. What a thought! As information professionals, we play with information, we search information, we ultimately depend on information. But at what point do we realize the overload and the technology might be harmful. This video from Dailymotion is hitting the webosphere, and is gathering storm. It might be fun and games for now. But do we need to sit back and think more clearly about the harmful implications of technology?