An absolutely beautiful video that shows off the place I live. Watch it in HD if you can, it’s worth it.
My post from last week on the ALA presidential debates and YouTube seems to have struck a cord with some librarians, and I’m somewhat pleased with the results. At the same time, I definitely am guilty of what Karen Schneider says: “…he spent too long explaining how ALA isnâ€™t â€œgetting itâ€ and not enough time talking about whatâ€™s right about this project.” This is completely the case. I did pick on the details of the announcement, without clearly saying “BRAVO!” to the ALA and more specifically (again, as Karen pointed out) to the Jim Rettig presidential task force that is continuing to do good things for the ALA. I do think that this is absolutely where the ALA needs to be going. But just because they picked the right destination doesn’t mean that I can’t critique their driving skills. 🙂
With that said, I’m overjoyed that the ALA changed the rules to allow for non-member question submission! Thank you, thank you, thank you to whomever took that forward to the powers-that-be, and to all the non-members who might want some clarity on what the ALA is good for: here’s your chance to ask the presidential candidates your questions. Don’t waste the opportunity.
The other part of my suggestion, that anonymous submissions be allowed, wasn’t changed in the submission policies. Karen even says, in her post:
Besides, what would an â€œanonymousâ€ YouTube film look like? Hand puppets? Mr. Bill? (â€Budgets slashed, oooooooooh noooooo!â€) Anyone who really had a burning question they couldnâ€™t ask themselves could always find a friend willing to do it. Iâ€™ve fronted questions for people in all kinds of situations.
True that people could always find someone to front their question, but why should that be necessary? There are a million ways to do an anonymous question….not all videos have to be talking heads. A voice over a video of book stacks would work just fine, and creating a sock-puppet YouTube account is, needless to say, a trivial matter. Again, I ask: If these videos are being screened before being responded to (which they are) then why does identity matter?
I’ll admit this is a particular obsession of mine, but anonymous speech is important and necessary for the freedom of speech to be a real thing. Any time that I see the capacity for anonymous speech being held back for no particular reason that I can discern, I’m predisposed to push for it.
So the ALA is taking a hint from the US Presidential elections and taking questions from YouTube…with some caveats. Here’s the email that went out to ALA members:
Members Invited to Submit Questions to ALA Presidential Candidates via YouTube
Do you have a question youâ€™re dying to ask the candidates for ALA President? Â If you canâ€™t attend the Presidential Candidatesâ€™ Forum at Midwinter, why not submit a question on YouTube? Â Itâ€™s fun, itâ€™s easy, itâ€™s the new ALA way!
â€¢ Â Â Â Questions should be submitted as videos and posted to YouTube
â€¢ Â Â Â Maximum running time is 90 seconds
â€¢ Â Â Â ALA members or groups of members may submit questions using your true name(s) (anonymous submissions will not be considered)
â€¢ Â Â Â Video submissions must be tagged as ALAelection09 in order to be identified as questions for the ALA Presidential Candidates
â€¢ Â Â Â Submissions accepted from Dec. 8 through Jan. 16
Six questions will be selected by a jury of past ALA presidents and presented to the candidates. Â Candidatesâ€™ responses will be posted to YouTube and AL Focus prior to the opening of the ALA Election on Mar. 17. Â The candidates for ALA President for the 2009 election are Kent Oliver and Roberta Stevens. Â Questions will also be posed to any petition candidates.
For more details, go to http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/governance/alaelection/index.cfm
ALA is trying to get social media, but failing in significant ways. Why is it that only ALA Members can submit questions? The ONLY way that ALA is going to pull in the next generation of librarians is to show them that there is a benefit to joining…and withholding participation is so completely the wrong way to do it. The ALA should allow non-members to ask questions, in the same way they should start pushing conference content to non-members in a more robust way. Inviting virtual participation is a huge step…don’t screw up by limiting your audience, ALA. Change this requirement.
I also have a significant personal issue with requiring names to be attached to questions. The questions are being vetted anyway…what’s the harm in allowing anonymous questions? For a profession that holds privacy as high holy writ, to then disallow anonymous speech seems a bit hypocritical. The US Supreme Court has held that the right to free speech and the right to anonymous speech are the same…that “identification requirements burden speech”, as Talley v. California is sometimes expressed. I would love to see the ALA Board reconsider this requirement as well.