I have an on-going group chat going on in iMessage with my partner and two of our best friends. One lives in Bellingham, WA where we all went to college, and the other is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua. Our chats mostly involve sharing photos of our lives, inside jokes, funny gifs and videos, or any other random thoughts that pop into our heads. Though I often talk to both of them on the phone or Skype, maintaining a constant stream of messages makes me feel like we’re all just hanging out.
These conversations with my friends made me think of the connections that can be forged by teaching library patrons how to use technology tools. Perhaps a parent wants to learn how to Skype with their adult child living overseas, or an elderly patron wants to finally set up a Facebook account to connect with classmates from years past.
I found myself nodding in agreement throughout Casey N. Cep’s article, “The Pointlessness of Unplugging.” As ubiquitous as tech is, so is tech anxiety. We’re afraid that using technology is somehow making us less human. This is odd, Cep writes, “because some of our closest friends and most significant professional connections are people we’ve only ever met on the Internet” and “because we not only love and socialize online but live and work there, too.”
As information professionals, we can’t shy away from embracing technologies that seem strange or intimidating to us. We have to be willing to explore and stay curious, because our mission is always to help people connect — with knowledge, information, and each other.
Cep, C. N. (2014). The pointlessness of unplugging.