This journey has reminded me that social media tools are as useful as you choose to make them. Sometimes they offer immense, but underutilized possibilities while at other times too much functionality–or fluff–can lead to utter distraction. Through this 23 Things exercise I have explored new ways to use old standbys and encountered creative solutions that incorporate emerging or unfamiliar resources. I have at times been excited by the breadth of available networks and at other times overwhelmed while trying to think about how to incorporate every possible resource into my life and into an information literacy context.
This latter point has perhaps been the best learning experience of all. Thinking about the available Web 2.0 tools and selecting those that most conveniently deliver the content to meet my needs in different situations closely mirrors the selection that is necessary in information literacy endeavors. Some resources meet needs better than others; some are better designed or written, more authoritative, or more in-depth; others have brevity and simple language in their favor. What works best depends on the particular need and context. More isn’t always better, nor is complexity. The key is in the proper assessment and selection of tools, just as of information resources. This has been my own lesson in evaluation and selection and is one that I will try to carry forward when deciding which Web 2.0 tools to use, to teach, and to discard.
Of course, when I began this blog I also noted that the 23 Things for Archivists program was interesting precisely because it looked to the future. The program has many more stages that the Reference, Access, and Outreach Section of the Society of American Archivists has yet to expand and I look forward to seeing the remainder of the intermediate and advanced lists when they are completed. The latter has been left open to the evolving nature of Web resources, indicating with the caption 47-∞ that indeed this project is a living, growing process. I am summarizing my thoughts on my experiences here, but this in no way indicates that the learning process is done. As the list indicates, change is constant with technological tools and staying connected requires constant awareness and exploration.