On Wednesday 10th October 2007 I attended the “Inspiring the iGeneration Web 2.0, teenagers and libraries” event which was held at the Wolverhampton Science Park.

My Opening Talk

I gave the opening talk entitled “We’re The Young Generation, And We’ve Got Something To Say” which provided an overview of Web 2.0 and outlined why social networking software, such as Facebook, are providing so popular, and the challenges which such popularity is posing. (The title of the talk referring, of course, to the popular hit by The Monkeys in the 1960s, which aims to provide an alternative cultural reference to social networks to “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” which was picked up by Wikipedia).

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It was pleasing to receive an email after the conference saying:

I very much enjoyed the conference yesterday. The first session from Brian Kelly was exceptionally good. It was thought provoking. A much better start to the day than cornflakes!!.

although of course the subtext could have been “better than cornflakes – but not as good as a full English breakfast” 🙂

Other Talks

The other talks at the events described a variety of approaches which are being taken by public libraries and related organisations in making use of Web 2.0 services to engage with young people. Interestingly, a Web 2.0 service which was mentioned by a number of the speakers was WetPaint – a wiki service I’ve been using for a year of so (including using it to support the Masterclass on ‘Using Blogs Effectively Within Your Library’ at ILI 2007).

A common problem which was raised throughout the day was how to manage inappropriate content for young people. This ranged from obvious problematic content (pornography, Viagra spam, happy slappy videos, etc.) to more contentious areas, such as mainstream advertisements. There were clear differences in opinions expressed, from those who argue that happy-slapping is a problem that society needs to address, and it is a mistake to overprotect children to those who feel that public sector Web sites must ensure that they provide appropriate materials. This debate will continue …

The final comment I would make about the event is to applaud Paul Mayes, Teesside University for being willing to experiment with innovative Web 2.0 services at the event. Paul could not attend the event, so he videoed his talk ahead of the meeting. After this was shown, Paul and I made use of the TokBox video chat service (which I’ve commented on recently). Although there were some technical glitches, I felt the event benefits from Paul’s willingness to experiment, which was clearly appropriate for this particular event, with its focus on the willingness to experiment which many young people will have.

And thanks to Dave Pattern for the photographs he took of the event, including one which shows me (on stage) having a video chat with Paul using ToxBox. Now what is the metadata for this photo? Which is the real me and which is just fantasy?

Use of TokBox at the event

And if only I had produced a video of my talk at the ILI 2007 conference I would have avoided passing on my cold to Dave Pattern, Kara Jones and others – which Dave not only blogged about but also informed the world via his Facebook status:

Dsve Pattern's status on Facebook.