The UK library world (at least online) today seems obsessed by the debate/session being held at CILIP today to discuss the organisation’s involvement with web 2.0, mostly centered on CILIP’s failure to engage with anything like Twitter, Facebook, open blogs (by which I mean ones non-members could comment on, which they couldn’t until this whole thing blew up), RSS feeds (this being my own personal beef for some time), and the like. It all became a big issue following this post by CILIP CEO Bob McGee, followed by this post from Phil Bradley. I personally think it’s shocking, even if we take into account Bob McGee’s claim to be merely consulting on the issue, that CILIP have been so slow to develop any kind of presence in these kinds of sites and technologies. The reaction to hold a meeting was in some respects a good one, in some respects bad, as it shows how formal and slow CILIP still feels the need to be. They could have set up some official presences in various places like Facebook, their news feed could have been diverted to Twitter to reach a larger audience, and a vacancies RSS feed surely wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility, all cheap, quick, and easy to set up.
There are two issues here really: 1) that the professional body for information professionals is not involved in up-to-date methods of information dissemination, which is bad for its reputation and credibility; 2) that it is not using these technologies for its own purposes, e.g. marketing research into its own reputation and credibility, although, to be fair, Bob McGee started the whole thing by pointing out that people had been asking on Twitter about any official CILIP presence on micro-blogging websites.
Follow #CILIP2 on Twitter if want to see what is going on and you have nothing else to do this afternoon. I get the impression everyone who is going is also Twittering the event, so I wonder who will be actually partaking in the debate. The feed at the moment feels like a forum during the Eurovision Song Contest. There does seem a fair bit of optimism around the session, although I don’t think a formal session such as this can effect the cultural change at CILIP HQ to really make a difference, especially as these things keep changing and can’t rely on one meeting and one set of resolutions.