Friday, April 17, 2009

A small moment of Awesome

As a trainer and semi-evangelist for social computing (aka, 2.0), I'm often called to justify why it's important that library staff are familiar with and understand how this "2.0 stuff" works. Here's another example for the case file.

I'm the new Acting Head of my branch, and I just got a phone call from someone at the Massachusetts Rehab Commission. Apparently, for the past few weeks, if you searched on Google for the Allston Branch of the BPL, you got our listing...with the MRC's phone number. Our number is there too, but theirs is first and they've been getting a lot of calls for us. She asked me if I was the person who 'subscribed' to Google's business listings for us. heh

I asked her to walk me through the process, and I saw where the listing had gone wrong. I also saw that magic Edit button. A little bit of conversation revealed that the MRC had done a program here recently, and they'd put out a flyer with our address and their phone number. Some helpful participant had gone back and edited the Google entry for our branch with that "new" number. heh, again

Fortunately, what was done can be re-done, and I quickly edited the results myself and removed the number. It might take some time for Google's cache to clear, but most of the immediate onslaught of calls should stop. I asked the very relieved MRC admin to call me back if the issue persisted.

If I didn't know that anyone can edit those Google information boxes, I wouldn't have known what to do.

If I wasn't familiar with the tools and tricks of Google, I wouldn't have known what to do.

Certainly, if I wasn't familiar with the concepts and processes of how the internet works nowadays, I wouldn't have known what to do.

This is why it's important for library staff of all stripes to learn about this stuff. It's why I present lectures and teach workshops and 'coach' courses on social computing. So that when these questions come up, we know how to approach the problem and actually resolve it...not just throw up our hands in frustration and hope for the best.

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