It’s hard to read this post without feeling that the writer’s trolling for reaction.
And, sad to say, I find myself taking the bait.
Here’s my take:
If what you’re doing is repackaging carbonated sugar water and trying to convince people that they absolutely must have it, a hot new name is a fundamental necessity. After all, selling people stuff they don’t need is all about branding and hype.
If what you’re doing is pointing out new ways to meet actual needs, recognizing that needs differ from person to person and library to library, that resources differ from person to person and library to library, and that some people who’ve been doing great work may not like to be told they’re old hat if they’re not on the bandwagon right this minute…well, then maybe the brand name is more of a distraction.
That’s particularly true when the brand name itself becomes a divisive issue.
I don’t believe John Blyberg, Michael Casey, Casey Bisson, Jessamyn West, Meredith Farkas, Sarah Houghton, Aaron Schmidt, Luke Rosenberger, Steve Lawson, and a bunch of others are in the New Coke business. (Or, for that matter, Steven Cohen, who was pushing social software in libraries years ago…)
I believe they’re looking for ways to solve real needs in real communities using a variety of tools, some newish, and that most or all of them recognize that each library and each community has a different set of critical needs. I’ve disagreed with each of them on occasion; I generally admire the work each of them is doing.
I believe their work would be equally effective with or without a brand name–except among librarians who really don’t buy into New Coke or like to be labeled as old hat, where the work would be more effective without the brand name.
But what do I know? I’ve only been using old and new technologies to try to make library services better for, oh, 38 years now…