Collegial Connections in a Digital Age

It's fascinating to think about the relationships we have with our colleagues in this digital age compared to how it was in pre-Internet (or at least the Jurassic era of the Internet – the years around 1995 or so). 

Back then, you would become colleagues at University but then, it took an extra special effort to stay in touch with people once you convocated. 

Now, because of the Internet and tools like Google, Facebook, blogs, RSS and more, I'm able to keep up with friends who move across oceans (very happy to see Renee back blogging after a move from China to Amsterdam!) and across continents.

I've connected with current students at FIMS and alumni who I never would've known had our digital paths not crossed (okay, slight fib as I met the Canuck Librarian at OLA in 2006 but all the other alumni I know via online connections tend to be via Facebook and don't have blogs I can easily link to.)  

I've also “met” LIS students in schools across Canada and the US that I likely also never would've met unless we crossed paths in the physical world somewhere somehow. 
And I've even become “friends” with Internet-celebrity librarians who are kind enough to reply to my messages and treat me like a normal human being when I write them with ideas, comments or questions. 

So what's my point?  I think it's no secret that the dynamic for interpersonal relations has vastly changed in the last five years because of online tools and it's only going to change more in the years to come. 

Before, you might know of a job opening and say “Tim would be perfect for that – too bad we lost touch after grad school.”  Now, it's a quick Facebook message to let Tim know about the opportunity.  Before, you might chat over beers about the latest issues in librarianship with colleagues who work in the same city, attend the same conferences and belong to the same organizations.  Now, you can do the same with librarians across the continent and around the world.  Before, if you wanted to meet a librarian who had specific expertise in an area, it took a lot of digging.  Now it often takes no more than a Google search or a message on a listserv to find someone with that specific knowledge. 

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