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Early Adopters in Libraries

A Portrait of Early Adopters: Why People First Went Online –and Why They Stayed
by Amy Tracy Wells, Pew Internet & American Life Project
“Our canvassing of longtime internet users shows that the things that first brought them online are still going strong on the internet today. Then, it was bulletin boards; now, it’s social networking sites. Then, it was the adventure of exploring the new cyberworld; now, it’s upgrading to broadband and wireless connections to explore even more aggressively. Yet there are changes in their activities and motives. In the early days, most internet users consumed material from websites. These days they are just as likely to produce material. One common refrain is that they think more change lies ahead and they are eager to watch and participate.”
View PDF of Report (5 pages)
I think it’s important to have a small group of early adopters in your communiity that you know. When we introduce new programs that are at the front edge of the curve, you need to test them with folks who understand the nature of the beast. If your test audience is asking why questions in stead of how questions, they’re probably not early adopters… If we had only tested and listened to users asking “Why would I ever want to place an online hold?; Search an OPAC on your website?; Listen to a dowloaded audiobook?; Read an eBook?; Search databases on the web? then we’d never make progress.
So, if you’re testing a MySpace presence, putting your OPAC into Facebook, making research skills training YouTubes, Podcasts or Screencasts, or adding Meebo to your homework helper site, look for the early adopters for feedback. They’ll build on their own why’s and help with the how.
Stephen

Posted on: February 21, 2008, 8:11 pm Category: Uncategorized

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