Generation Jones

Today, on the blog, Tame the Web, I read a post entitled Generation Jones by guest blogger Michael Colford. In it, he poses the question, “So what do you think? Why do some people take to emerging technology trends and ways of interacting while others do not? Do you have any thoughts?”. He is specifically referring to why some Generation X (which I am and which I’ve heard of :D) and Generation Jones (which I’ve never heard of, but which he says are those born between the mid ’50s and mid 60’s) members are quicker to embrace new technology than others. He puts forth the idea that it may have something to do with early experiences with technology and also with personal need for said technologies.

My own personal thinking on this is that it is basically a personality trait. If you are a person who likes, even thrives on, change; then you will be quick to embrace new technology. In fact, many people of this nature like new technology just because it’s “new”. I have to admit to having this sort of outlook myself. Like Michael, I am an Omnivore according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s Typology Quiz. The Annoyed Librarian refers to us as Omnibores! But then s/he is a Lackluster Veteran, so what’s her point?

So I’ll pass on his question to you. First of all, are you an enthusiastic early adopter of new technology? Omnibores, speak out! And if so, do you also find you are the sort of person who embraces change in general? If you are not fond of Web 2.0, what is your overall attitude to change in general? Talk to us Lackluster Veterans. Let’s test my theory.

Wikipedia Wins in PEW Report

On his blog, Tame the Web, Michael Stephens pointed towards the following new report from the PEW Internet and American Life Project:

In this report, “Pew reports that 36% of online American adults consult Wikipedia. A table included in the report details top sites used for reference and education. Wikipedia has 24% use in a table provided by Hitwise of those types of sites.” (from Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology: Pew Report on Wikipedia and Reference Sites).

Another interesting fact in this report is that usage of Wikipedia increases in correlation to income. More respondents at higher income levels reported using Wikipedia. Also, not surprisingly, younger researchers were more likely to use Wikipedia than older ones. I was actually surprised that the disparity was not greater. Even 31% of those respondents aged 50-64 reported using Wikipedia.The report mentioned that over 70% of Wikipedia users connect to the site via search engines. Since Wikipedia includes a high number of internal links from article to article, it may generate artificially high results rankings for itself in search engines such as Google.

So what’s a library to do? Most likely, embrace Wikipedia. Michael suggests taking ownership of the resource by creating entries. We are certainly actively teaching students and faculty about its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a librarian reading this, how is your library responding to the rise in popularity and use of Wikipedia?