Right speech and speaking rightly

I don’t think I need to read yet another “Buddhist approach to [insert tech]” article. The argument is well-worn and essentially a known entity. Nonetheless, I can’t resist the urge to throw them into my to-read queue.

Social media has the ability to connect us with many people, so we do have a responsibility to post things that are true, kind, beneficial, offered with good intention, and shared at the right time.

Lodro Rinzler, “Buddhism and Social Media

There is a lot wrong with Twitter these days. In my heart, there is still a spark of love for a possibly never-existing but perhaps always-possible inherent good of the internet, but that spark is quickly dying. I don’t expect the systems to correct themselves, but perhaps I can try to correct my own approach.

The violence of the mob

I am less concerned about the perils of government surveillance than I am with the cruelty we as netizens inflict upon each other. The recent case of Suey Park is a good example. Criticism and dissent are to be expected, but doxxing and death threats are unnecessarily extreme and juvenile.

Somewhat related is Jon Ronson’s Ted talk on out-of-control Twitter shaming. No one should ever have to utter the words “tweet” and “ruined life” in the same breath.

Embedding a librarian on Twitter

I like the idea (there is a “but” coming). It’s like lightening round librarianship. Info-improv. You dive into the fire hose and see if you can remain standing. BUzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

What if a reference librarian was assigned to a college course, to be on hand to suggest books, online links, or other resources based on class discussion? A media-studies course at Baylor University tried the idea last semester, with an “embedded librarian” following the class discussion via Twitter.

At the start of each class session, the professor, Gardner Campbell, asked the 11 students to open their laptops, fire up Twitter, and say hello to their librarian, who was following the discussion from her office. During the hourlong class, the librarian, Ellen Hampton Filgo, would do what she refers to as “library jazz,” looking at the questions and comments posed on Twitter by the students, responding with suggestions of links or books, and anticipating what else might be helpful that students might not have known to ask.

“I could see the sort of germination of an idea, and what they wanted to talk about,” she said, noting that it let her in on the process of students’ research far sooner than usual. “That was cool for me,” she added. “When I work with students at the reference desk, usually they’re already at a certain midpoint of their research.”

BUT! how frazzled would a person be after doing that a few times a week? And what, really, is the benefit to the students who, rather than thinking deeply about the subject at hand, are instead scrambling to catch all the articles and citations being thrown at them by the librarian? I’m an information professional, not a circus monkey.