Many organizations and individuals see our changing communication environment as a threat. Some in the media see it as a barrier between journalists and their readers. (See this post for more on that topic.) Some educators see it as too much of a distraction for their students. Some ad agencies hope it’s a fad that will fade over time if they look the other way.
Yesterday, Seth Godin wrote a blog post about another entity that could be threatened by new media–the public library:
Librarians that are arguing and lobbying for clever ebook lending solutions are completely missing the point. They are defending library as warehouse as opposed to fighting for the future, which is librarian as producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario.
The underlying premise of Godin’s post is that libraries have a choice, as do others who used to be gatekeepers: the media, educators, advertising agencies, etc. Resist new media and risk becoming irrelevant, or embrace new media and reinvent your institutions. As he says of librarians:
We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.
As our communication environment changes–and know this: it will continue to change–we all will be faced with this choice. It will be difficult to adapt, but our sense of urgency should come from the last phrase in Godin’s post.
Don’t waste your energy resisting the changing tide of new media. Focus on finding the opportunity available to you based on your unique talents and the changing needs of your audience. For those who adapt, this truly is “the chance of a lifetime.”