January 31st is the deadline for submissions to HigherEd BlogCon. If you have some great ideas about how to implement social tools in libraries or are doing cool things at your library, please consider submitting a proposal. One myth I’d like to dispell is that only “BIG names” in the library blogosphere or in librarianship should be speaking (or in this case writing) at conferences. I got an e-mail from someone who was considering submitting something for HigherEd BlogCon but didn’t think he had enough “expertise” to offer. He is using a lot of the new social tools at his library and in his blog he is often sharing great ideas about how libraries can use those tools. I couldn’t believe that he would think he didn’t have something worthwhile to say! I used to be one of those people who’d assumed I had nothing worthwhile to offer, but the response to my blog has made me realize that EVERYONE has useful and unique insights to bring to the table. Don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have.

I am becomming a big fan of online conferences. What I enjoyed most about giving my talk on wikis through OPAL was that people who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to fund a trip to wherever I was talking about wikis (or were interested in wikis, but not so interested that they’d fly somewhere to hear someone talk about them), were able to attend this online coneference. It was free to anyone who wanted to listen, and it will be available online for as long as OPAL decides to keep it up there. I feel like I can make much more of an impact that way, and can educate people who we would not normally reach at conferences like Computers in Libraries or EDUCAUSE. I find those possibilities really exciting, and that’s why I love the idea of a free online conference. I hope you will too and will consider submitting something for the conference. Imagine the impact you could make on a librarian who has never had the money to attend the big conferences, but is eager to learn about new social tools.

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