Saturday, September 22, 2007

Confessions of a Singapore Liblogarian: A personal perspectives of social networks (22 Sept 2007, NTU)

Arrived at the Lecture Theatre in the afternoon. Wasn't quite sure if I was at the right venue.

Dr. Wu was busy and didn't answer his phone.

I walked in. Saw this young gentleman. Asked him if this was the place for the talk on "Confessions by a Liblogarian". He said, "I think so."

"Some blogger."

"Thanks. I'm that blogger," I smiled.

Since there was time, I asked him what he expected from such talks. He said he didn't really have any expectations. What didn't he like so far (mine was the fourth session in the series)? He said "nothing to dislike". It was to expand their horizons.

Good for him.

Zhengyu was his name.
(Photo posted with permission)

I proposed to Dr. Wu that participants could post their questions to this blog post, to be taken at the Q&A later.

So ask away, folks.

UPDATE (10:50pm):
No one asked questions via the blog. Fielded questions from about four to five people during Q&A time. I guess those who would have posted questions didn't have their laptops with them (as this participant explained).

Received more questions from individuals after the session. Most frequently asked question: "How do you manage your time" and "Where do you find time to blog?"

Ah, I should explain that bit for future presentations.

I explained that I made it a point to spend time with my wife after work (all my blogging's done after work). My wife and I would have a proper meal together. Then watch a little bit of TV (30 mins tops for me).

After that, she'd do her stuff and I'll go into the room to catch up with my own things. Read a book, reply to emails, blog if I have to, or just do the GarageBand stuff. Not all the same things together. And I don't blog all the time. Neither do I feel compelled to have all my blogs updated at the same frequency.

After my explanation, some would go, "Oh, you have time because you don't have kids to look after!".

That's true to some extent. Parenting is a full-time job. But I know bloggers who manage to blog and still be good parents it seems. I guess it's up to how we manage priorities.

The students went to their respective breakout sessions, moderated by fellow students, to discuss the issues raised from the talks presented. Dr. Wu brought me to see the groups. There were different styles of discussions and presentations.

I thought the most enthusiastic group The livelier groups seemed to be groups from the 'Information Studies' and also the 'Knowledge Management' courses. The discussion at the 'Information Technology' group seemed more formal and subdued.

Along the way, in between walking to the different breakout sessions, Dr. Wu and I chatted about stuff -- clarifications about points I mentioned in my presentation, which led to other side conversations. He mentioned Phenomenology (I'm checking it out right now).


In another life, I would have gone into academia. I felt totally at ease in such a learning environment. I missed having intellectual discussions for the sake of learning and exploring. A most welcome break from the very pragmatic meetings and decision-making at work.

Hope my talk was useful to the students. Every time I share what I know, I feel I learn that much more as well.

There were around 200 to 220 students. I was told 30% were from Southeast Asian countries.

Nice to see my colleagues at the talk as well. They are pursuing the Masters of Information Studies programme.

Oh yeah, I won't share the specifics what I "confessed". Because it would be like repeating the entire talk. Basically I shared my personal blogging journey, from the Whys and Hows that got me started, to the blogs I read, my activities and participation in the online environment, the online collaborative activities, about blogging guidelines, and how I think librarianship would change because of web 2.0.

Maybe some students might blog about the talk (about a quarter admitted that they blogged). Anyway, for those who've follow my blog, you won't find any surprises. My life's not that interesting. : )


  1. Thanks Ivan, for sharing your experiences at the seminar today. Enjoyed it - it was a pity most of us did not bring our laptops and couldn't post qtns on this blog, 'live'. I'll be checking out some of the sites you've recommended during your presentation.

  2. suming11:48 pm

    Hi Are ELL:
    It was great listening to a fellow blogger today. Finally something from the course that's closer to heart.

    Don't really have questions at the moment, have something in my mind but it's getting abit late now [12am,well that's late for me] and might keep your talk in my blog some how.

    Nice meeting you in the blogosphere, keep in touch then :)

  3. wonderful post, ivan.

    "Every time I share what I know, I feel I learn that much more as well" - ahh, you've discovered one of the true wonders of teaching.

    i wish i could have attended your talk but i'm certain i will in the near future.

  4. Paul Wu10:56 am

    Just to say "thank you" in the cyberspace - btw, it's my first public post; like you, I am starting with a comment. Several have responded to your talk in the professional seminar blogsphere. I will encourage them to post it here. Lastly, in the way Phenomenology goes, I hope the lifeworld of you continues to loom bigger. Keep in touch.

  5. Anonymous8:25 pm

    Blogs: why we need to engage it: Historico-political view of blogs

    Ivan, Thanks for sharing:
    Thought provoking........partly because I've avoided it before...

    (adapted from something I blogged in NTU)

    In giving a personal account of his "weblogging", the rambling librarian showed not an overt odyssey of reclaiming the lost fleece of librarian art, but an excited hobbyist viewpoint, of a child growing up in a department toy shop, not really wondering where his journey should go , as each succeeding stop has its own allure.Picking up a Santa's bagful of wonderful gizmos, some to be discarded and devalued later. His disquisition would not bore the converted. Yet he is also in the stream of all human beings who harbour the journalists' dream of reaching their imagined audience...........else it would be nought but a schizophrenic's rambling response to his "inner voices".

    He intimated on its power, but only in relation to his own quiet hope to excite others and the newbies in his chosen craft. A quiet accidental revolutionary, who hopes to reach globally, what could not be achieved locally in his early attempts in the swamplands of the undigitized of Singapore's library world.

    Could he have made allusions to "Blogs" power as it affects the politics of other worlds? (see wikipedia on blog:

    He needed to do that because the unconverted need waking to this latterday re-opening of Pandora's Box. The power of the pen has never been more palpable, never more pervasive, never more intrusive because the truth is, the audience has digitally, metaphorically, physically morphed (oh what a digital word this is), has morphed into the writer-audience in the web 2.0. Now audience-writer is in the extended metaphor of the global village's feared entity of a reincarnated old lady Gossip, harbinger of the witches of Salem effect?............"did you hear that lady so-and-so is sleepwalking........" Both creator and also consumer, as much the lord of the manor as the village idiot. And as much the empowerment of the village idiot.

    Therein lies its connects, it spreads, and in it, it's proponents harbor the inner disquieting ambition to influence others to their way of doing things, not only of recognizing diversity.

    Why, the wikipedi's piece on "Blog" is nothing but a history of "how the west will now be conquered (won)", not only in the literal way that the wiki author(s) have quoted instances of the political implications of their blogs/posts, but metaphorically in the nether reaches of all human thinking. An ubiquitous religious (unquestioned?) presence, the fourth estate extended to all, the ultimate latent 1984 Big Brother in all. Or is it also the tyranny of the people in the Marxian mould? What are its checks?

    You can run but you can't hide. So swim with the shoal for safety.


Join the conversation. Leave a comment :)