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Monday, November 28, 2011

Engage Des Plaines!

The journalism professor and internet critic Jeff Jarvis has a maxim about the internet that I quite like and think about often. He says, "Disruption is the law of the jungle and the internet." Without doubt the internet has radically changed the way journalism is done and the way news is spread. News is just one example among many including shopping, job searching, researching, and dating!

Disruption can be both frightening, but also create tremendous opportunities. I just wrote my last words for NaNoWriMo last night, a month-long writing contest. People sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in a month and post their progress online. Not only was I able to participate in this event with thousands of other people virtually, I was able to find groups of people who were meeting up to socialize and write together--people that I would never have met otherwise.

The internet, in other words, has all kinds of political, social, even personal, consequences. To better understand some of the consequences, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago received a grant to study community engagement and information seeking behavior in Des Plaines. What does this mean? It means that they are interested in talking with you about how you deal with the disruptive forces of the internet in your daily life. How do you follow local politics? How do you learn about new books to read? How do you find out about events in the community?

To facilitate these conversations, the library will hosting a series of forums and focus groups over the coming months. This Saturday, December 3rd, will be the first forum. We are inviting the community to register and attend the forum to talk about. Click the link below to sign up.:

Register for the public forum.

You can also learn more about the grant and the project at the Engage Des Plaines website. The project also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

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