I got an interesting email the other day from Ted Lee. Ted works for Meebo and wanted me to pass along a job posting. Meebo is looking for Customer Support Manager, and they think someone with reference librarian experience would be good for the position. I have no idea what Meebo is like to work for, but I think it’s great that they want a library type for this job. The job is posted here, and if you have any other questions, you can email Ted or Kathy at Meebo. (Please don’t email me. I don’t know anything more than I’ve posted. I’m only posting this because Ted asked nicely, and because I think it looks like it could be a nifty opportunity for someone.)
As Walt blogged about, the Library Society of the World Meebo room got attacked by guerrila spambots on Thursday afternoon. I was at work and had a meeting to go to, so there wasn’t much I could do about it. I quickly posted on the Meebo forums, then suggested to the people in the chat room that they abandon ship for the moment. In the aftermath of the pr0nbot bombing, I’ve made the room accessible only by password. I’m not all that happy with the solution; a number of the LSW room regulars are people who stumbled into the room, found it to be a welcoming environment, and stayed. I don’t see that happening as much now, although we’ve made the password as easy to find out as we could. (Hint: it’s the same as the LSW wiki.)
In another sense, though, it’s awfully nifty the room was attacked at all. During the attack, people checked other rooms and found that the only ones getting hit were the popular rooms, the rooms with lots of people in them. And the LSW room has been consistently popular. You can usually find at least one or two people there, frequently a lot more than that. You can even find it hopping on a Saturday night (which maybe says as much about us library folks as it does about Meebo chat rooms). I love hanging out there, especially when there are a lot of people in the room. Conservation ranges from food (a topic that seems to emerge with the slightest provocation) to “what do we like and dislike about ALA” to “can someone help me with the reference question?” to “can someone give me professional advice about being a librarian?”
I know why the room is so popular: the people who hang out there are friendly, approachable, funny, and smart. But I honestly don’t know how it became so popular. I’d love to take credit for it. Often, when I log into the room, someone will make a joke about “our leader has arrived!” But I’m not their leader, I’m not the primary influence on the room. I creeated the room, I perform the rare administrative function for the room, but it’s the people in the room who make it what it is. I’ve never invited anyone to the room, I don’t drop links to the room anywhere (except once on Twitter and here on my blog), and yet a really good group of people have come to the room, and they keep coming back to interact with each other.
An example of the great social dynamic going on: when I told everyone to flee in the face of the pr0nbot invasion, LSW member Rikhei immediately created a backup room, password-protected, and people spread the word. I came back from my work meeting to find a whole new LSW room where people were congregating. Soon after, I made the original LSW room password-protected. Again, the word was spread, and everyone flocked back to the original room.
Whatever the reasons, I’m pleased as all get-out the LSW Meebo room has attracted such a great group of people. I’m not solely responsible for it, but I’m thrilled to be a part of it. It’s now one of my favorite hang-outs. It’s a place I can go where everybody knows my name.
I woke up this morning to find that Meebo now has chat rooms. Chat rooms have been around for ages, but Meebo’s are awfully slick. You can incorporate multimedia into them, so that they make excellent conferencing and collaboration areas. At a coworker’s suggestion, I created a Meebo room for my colleagues and me to use. Then I created a Meebo room for the Library Society of the World. There’s a lot of potential for professional use of these chat rooms. Also, they’re fun!
This weekend, my house fell eerily silent, even as my entire family communicated and collaborated with each other.
My daughter was chatting with me on IM. At the same time, she was chatting with my wife on IM. At the same time, my wife was chatting with me on IM. At the same time, my wife and I were having a discussion by co-editing a document on Google Docs.
It was awfully cool.
It was sort of like the whole family getting together to watch TV. Except we could each watch whatever channel we wanted. In fact, we could each watch as many channels as we wanted. We could each listen to whatever music we wanted, write, create or edit images, play games, and create and edit content on those channels we were watching. And we could have conversations with each other (and other people, if we wanted and they were available) while we were doing all of this. I think that’s amazing.
I do love it when we all get together in the living room and watch TV or a movie. But in many ways, this beats watching TV all to hell.
My daughter just used Gmail’s chat for the first time and IM’d me at work.
I’m kvelling right now.
EDIT: Now she’s trying out emoticons.
My supervisor, the branch manager, is very very cool and a great boss for any number of reasons, but one of the reasons is that she’s very supportive of my efforts to bring current tech into common use at the library. However, she is admittedly easily overwhelmed by a lot of new tech. Bringing in blogs, wikis and so on brings a “scared bunny” look to her face, even as she encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.
Although she got an invite for Google Talk last week, she only set herself up for IM today. She was very nervous about it. To her credit, the first thing she did was log on and then start reading Google’s help pages. (I quickly congratulated her for R-ing The FM.) And soon after, she and I were chatting on IM while she also chatted with one of our coworkers at the Main library. She transferred a file to me via IM and said, “This is really keen!” We discussed ways that we could use IM, and how some ideas she had might be better executed through email or on a blog. “So many choices!” she said. I beamed. I was so happy and proud.
And then, towards the end of my work day, I briefly chatted with far-off Laura. It was great to converse with another librarian who I’ve yet to meet face-to-face. I really felt like a member of some Invisible College.
A while back, I was griping about not being able to chat via IM at work. Well, the times they are a-changin’ at MPOW. Thanks to one of my coworkers, we’re starting to use IM at work. It started with the adult reference staff at the main library, then I jumped on, and now they’ve got children’s staff and my others coming in on it. Right now, we’re just using it for employee communication, but we’re looking at starting up IM reference soon.
We’re using Google Talk, so if you’ve got a Gmail account and you want to talk to me about professional jazz (or you just want to say hi), add me to your friends list, because I can now legitimately chat while at work. Hot-cha!