The SAOIM delegates who boarded the train at 16:58 on Sandton Station on Wednesday afternoon were tired, but happy and excited by all the innovating ideas, especially regarding technology and social media, which were shared at the conference. The train was busy and some delegates were standing in the isles discussing the events of the past day. Little did we know that we would soon see a real demonstration of the power of social media.
The conference had started early on that Wednesday morning with a warm buzz. People were greeting old friends and colleagues, meeting new faces and wandering from stall to stall to see the products and services from various vendors. So as you can expect, there was much talking, greeting, chattering and … tweeting. Yes, the social buzz was not only physical, but virtual as well! The Social Reporting team worked hard to create a social presence for the conference. They encouraged people to connect and share and listen through a variety of channels. The Twitter stream soon proved to be very successful and delegates could even ask speakers questions on Twitter.
The first speaker, Stephen Abram, encouraged us to recognise the technological shift and emphasised the importance of the experience that the users have when using libraries. He gave many examples of exciting new developments to keep our eyes on. Then we were challenged by Ujala Satgoor to be really techno-savvy and not be satisfied merely with email and a Facebook account. If we are not willing to work for change, nothing will change! In the next two sessions there were lots of examples of innovative ways to reach out to users and demonstrate our value. For example, the demonstration of a game used for library training was really exciting. The day ended with a very Interesting and informative talk by Karen Blakeman on how searching on different search engines is influenced! It certainly made me think twice about the results I get.
One of the themes that came up in many talks was “fun”! We were reminded of the importance of playing with some practical ideas of how to implement it in our jobs. The use of Twitter was certainly something exciting and fun that was added to this conference.
With all these interesting ideas swirling around in our ideas we boarded the train and then stopped. We literally stopped. Somewhere between Malboro and Midrand the train broke down and we were stuck. But the news of us being stuck spread like wildfire. It was tweeted and facebooked and messaged and phone around. (At this point we must take a moment to acknowledge the good-old-fashioned phone, because the first person in our carriage who had any sensible information had phoned a friend to phone the call centre!) Though the carriage was hot and stuffy the general attitude was not too unhappy and cheerful banter went around. After about 40 minutes the intercom went on and someone announced: “Good afternoon. This is your passenger… driver speaking! We are now on our way to Hatfield.”
I suspect that it was a mechanic who saved the day and not social media, but at least we could share our story and so felt connected to a wider world.
Read also: Day 2: Lust and love in the library by Louise Patterton. (Including pictures)