There I was thinking I had another quiet, uneventful week ahead of me and then it suddenly got all crazy on me! As some readers will know, a little while back I wrote to The Guardian asking if they would be interested in a piece about public libraries. Amazingly they said ‘yes’. Panic stricken that I would have to put something together that was good enough for my newspaper of choice (yes, a Guardian reader am I!), I went to work (during my holiday no-less) on something I hoped may be considered for publication.
It was a difficult piece to write. There was a word count of around 800 which meant I couldn’t explore all the ideas I would have liked, but it still gave me a chance if I focused on a particular area. As a result, I decided to try to focus on the digital aspects as I felt this was often overlooked by library commentators in favour of a disproportionate focus on books (not that books should be ignored I hasten to add). Anyway, after a bit of work thanks to a number of Twitter folks (@jo_bo_anderson, @slawler and @chrishall62 in particular) I managed to get into shape before taking the plunge and sending it off.
Amazingly, this week, they published it. Blown away though I was that they went with it, I was even more blown away by the response and support from fellow Tweeters [a very special group of people :)]…particularly in the comments section which had a number of comments that apparently overlooked a number of basic facts that were repeatedly established in both my article and the comments. Anyway, I guess that is to be expected on any blog….especially on CiF (the anti-Guardian crowd love to use it for a bit of trolling, bless them).
The continued response has been amazing. The article has been referenced in the UK, America, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Greece amongst others. To say that the speed with which it has spread around the internet has freaked me out a little is an understatement! However, it goes to show what a wonderful resource Twitter is. Something can be picked up and distributed round thousands of people in an instant. Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on your perspective, but there is no denying it is a powerful tool. Quite frankly I am still amazed that there are people out there who haven’t grasped what a wonderful tool it is (even though it may appear that there is a load of useless info out there…..and I’m as guilty of that as anyone!).
Even two days after publication I have still been receiving a lot of wonderful tweets from people expressing their support and encouragement. It has already been mentioned in the latest ALA e-newsletter – which was quite a shock – and there has also been some very positive feedback on Resourceshelf. To say I am chuffed with this level of feedback would be a massive understatement. I have been walking around the house in a daze the past couple of days unable to take in the response. Every now and then turning to my wife, shaking my head and saying with a broad grin: “I don’t believe this!”. Of course I knew there would be a response when I was told it would be published, but the scale of it was completely unexpected.
I guess I’ll formulate some more coherent reflections on both my article and the experience itself when I give it a chance to sink in properly. For now, I would like to say thank you to those that have supported me in the comments field, everyone that has tweeted it and sent it far and wide and everyone that has sent me positive messages in support. I hope my experience encourages others to go for it too.