Blog Report 4: Community’s Perceptions of Information Services

Reflection Blog: Report on your community’s perceptions of information services.

  • Based on at least one interview with a community member, report on your community’s perceptions of information services.
  • Do they use resources and services provided by libraries or other information organizations?
  • Do they create their own information sources and services?
  • How do your community’s perceptions of information services correspond with the user experience theories covered in the lecture and readings?

 

 Beginning Thoughts

 Online video gaming has been on my mind a lot lately as I continue to research the information community Twitch.tv. I want to first write about something I found interesting amongst the students at the school I work at. As well, how it all ties in to the online information community Twitch.tv. I have noticed at work that the middle school and high school students spend their breaks engaged in their electronic devices. Many of the students are even playing online games with one another. I started to note that it is primarily the elementary students who come in to the library looking for books related to video games. This past week I talked with numerous students about how they find information about the games they play. I wanted to see if the students were using sites such as Twitch.tv or going elsewhere to find the information they needed.

The middle school and high school students both said they use the Internet to find game related information. Not once did the older students mention the use of bookstores or libraries. The answers I found from the older students were very similar to my sister’s reasoning for utilizing Twitch.tv over printed materials. They found using online resources gave them up-to-date information and faster access to it. The high school students even mentioned using Twitch.tv. The site only requires an age of 13 and older, which is why I believe I heard more about it from the high school students. They liked the site for not only the information provided, but for the site’s interactive components.

It was the students at the elementary level who preferred coming in to the library to find video game related books. The students said repeatedly that they liked being able to talk to the library staff and to receive individual help. This could be in large because many of the younger students are not allowed to browse the Internet freely with out various parent or staff permissions. They also said it was faster to ask a Librarian, who could then lead them to the information they needed. This makes me wonder at what point do the students start thinking to head online over receiving the help of a librarian?

Then it hit me, we spend a lot of time teaching our students to use the computers and use the catalogs. Aaron Schmidt writes, “Librarianship has lost its focus—our professional concern for people has been eclipsed by a preoccupation with collections and technology” (2013). I agree to some extent with this statement, however I also believe there is a happy medium between the two. I love the idea of individuals being self-sufficient in their quest for finding the information they need. I think that libraries haven’t lost that “concern for people”, rather how we help people is changing. We might not be able as library professionals to provide all the answers, but it is our job to lead those who seek information in the right direction. That direction may be for example sites such as Twitch.tv. It is there that community members can help one another find the information they need. The “concern for people” that Schmidt writes about can be found on many levels and I don’t think it is necessarily lost because of an increasing use in technology. I think sites like Twitch.tv in fact provide even more of a “concern for people” with the level of interaction amongst community members seeking information. As information professionals it is our job to recognize this and adapt how we keep that “concern for people” a live while utilizing the information recourses provided by today’s technologies.

 

Information Community: Twitch.tv

Based on at least one interview with a community member, report on your community’s perceptions of information services.

For this blog post I talked to my sister and her boyfriend who both use Twitch.tv. Their perceptions of various information services depended on what type of information service we were talking about. If talking about a library, they both found them useful for doing homework or finding a starting ground for the information they seek. Her boyfriend who uses Twitch.tv said he first discovered the site because of a flyer on a bulletin board at his university library. He thinks that libraries are meant to point you in the right direction. They both shared a common perception that to find in-depth information to their gaming questions they needed to go online and communicate with other individuals who play the same games. This is because of how quickly online information can be updated, versus printed materials.  They agreed that Twitch.tv is the preferred method for seeking information, because the site is constantly available as an information service. Members are regularly logged in to the site at all hours and this allows for a standard exchange of information amongst members of the site.

Do they use resources and services provided by libraries or other information organizations?

My sister’s boyfriend said he really doesn’t utilize library resources for video game playing. He can’t deny though that the flyer posted at the library did point him in the direction of the site. He said, “The library provided information and a path that lead me towards Twitch.tv, but that is really were the library stopped and well, Twitch.tv became the resource I use for answering my video game questions” (personal communication, March 2015). My sister discovered Twitch.tv by doing an Internet search for the game Zelda. She came upon the site and soon realized the value of it for her as an online gamer.

Do they create their own information sources and services?

My sister as a moderator for Twitch.tv acts as an information guide for members of the site. When members seek out information they have several places they can go. The first one my sister told me about was the Support Center (http://help.twitch.tv/). Here members can learn how to set up video streaming or find answers to any site related technical questions. Members of the site Twitch.tv can also post questions and answers in the Support Center. She likes the Support Center because it provides an area for frequently asked questions and still allows for a very interactive environment amongst the members. Another way members can seek out information on the site is the live video streaming and chat forums. Here members can visit game specific live video streams for their questions. This allows for members to ask other members, moderators or broadcasters on the site their questions in real-time. There is almost no wait time between asking a question and receiving an answer this way. In many ways the community members of Twitch.tv create their own information sources and services, as they rely heavily on one another.

How do your community’s perceptions of information services correspond with the user experience theories covered in the lecture and readings?

After talking with students at my school and talking with two Twitch.tv community members I found common themes amongst their answers. They went online to sites like Twitch.tv to find up-to-date information about video games and to play with other individuals who have shared interests. As information professionals we should recognize online mediums such as Twitch.tv for the information provided and for the social aspects of the site. Andrew J. Flanagin, Kristin Page Hocevar, and Siriphan Nancy Samahito write, “While cues about the identity of information sources may be limited in these venues, they may nonetheless incite a sense of shared group membership and social identity among users” (2013). Twitch.tv not only provides sought after information related to video games, but also gives members of the site a sense of community.

The students and the Twitch.tv community members shared similar perceptions about information services, such as libraries. They all agreed libraries could not provide the non-stop and up-to-date information they could get online. The greatest benefit of Twitch.tv seemed to be the user experience on the site. Which allowed for immediate interaction amongst its members. I think one way to match this user experience in a library is best said by Wayne Bivens-Tatum. He writes this can be done by having “some imagination and sympathy” for our library patrons (Bivens-Tatum, 2010). We do not need to know all the answers, but we also need to find ways for how to best communicate with our library patrons. We don’t need to be the go-to on all video games, but we need to recognize and relate with individuals who play video games on a more personal level. It is our job to then help them find information communities like Twitch.tv. Aaron Schmidt even talks about games in libraries and how we can better the user experience through “empathy and preferences” (2010). Schmidt further writes about creating “deep connections with our communities” and utilizing various tools, like surveys, to better understand the needs of our library patrons.

 References:

Bivens-Tatum, W. (2010). Imagination, sympathy, and the user experience

Retrieved from

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/11/ljarchives/imagination-sympathy-and-the- user-

experience/#_

Flanagin, A., Hocevar, K., Samahito, S. (2013). Connecting with the user-generated web:

how group identification impacts online information sharing and evaluation,

Information, communication & society, 1-12. doi:

10.1080/1369118X.2013.808361

Schmidt, A. (2013). Focus on people, not tools | the user experience.

Retrieved from

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/06/opinion/aaron-schmidt/focus-on-people-not- tools-

the-user-experience/#_

Schmidt, A. (2010). Learn by asking | the user experience.

Retrieved from

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/03/opinion/aaron-schmidt/learn-by-asking-the- user-

experience/

Twitch Support Center. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from

http://help.twitch.tv

Twitch. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from

http://www.twitch.tv

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Categories: Blog Posts, Blog Report, Blog Report 4, Library 200, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Blog Report 4: Community’s Perceptions of Information Services

  1. Elizabeth Wengrin-Rohrbaugh

    Twitch television sounds fascinating. It’s interesting how certain things(like twitch) have a landslide-appeal effect on young students!

    Like

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