Librarians can be such sheep, always flocking together around the same fads. The only difference is the early sheep and the late sheep. The twopointopians are just the latest in a long series of early sheep. They see some fad and they just jump all over it. It's not the content of the fad that's important. It's just the fact that it's new. Newness is all. Then the newness passes and the sheep come slightly to their senses.
And then again sometimes they don't. A blog post at blyberg.net has been getting a lot of twopointopian blogger press. I don't read blyberg.net, but I would know that he is a twopointopian based only on clues in this post. (I'm sure he doesn't care if I read, but I will say that if he wants me to read he'll let the whole post through on the feed instead of just the first few lines. Almost no blogger is worth clicking through to.) The post is called Library 2.0 Debased, which implies that he thinks Library 2.0 was ever anything important as a concept. And near the end there's a line about the "true spirit of Library 2.0." Talk of the "true spirit" of something and how it has been debased always reminds me of the cultic aspects of the twopointopians. There's a true spirit that's been debased, you see, so we have to get back to the pure faith somehow. Library 2.0 has something to it, even if we don't know what it is. We have to keep the stupid term and keep searching for the true revelation, which will undoubtedly come some day. Too bad the twopointopians don't have more respect for the book. Religions of the Book--notably Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--can always return to their founding documents. The twopointopians don't have any founding documents worth returning to, so they wander in the desert trying to make sense of what they feel must be a worthwhile cult. Ugh.
The fact that this post has been picked up by so many other blogs helps me identify the dissatisfied twopointopians, those hoping to renew the faith. The twopointopians only listen to their own. I've been saying for a year and a half that Library 2.0 is a stupid term and a silly fad, but that just gets me attacks for not being user-centered or being technophobic or whatever it is the twopointopians say about their critics. Quite happily, I'm despised by the Pollyannas out there in libraryland, the ones who think we should all band together singing "Kumbaya" while thoughtlessly sacrificing ourselves for the greater good of humanity. (I always crack up at the responses to the AL that don't understand why anyone would even read this blog because I'm so mean and allegedly self-loathing.) And now some of the early sheep--the high priests and priestesses of twopointopia--are growing uneasy at the perversion of their faith by the hapless masses.
And now to you, hapless masses, also known as the late sheep. You think none of this is your fault, don't you? You think it's all the early sheep thrusting themselves upon you. To some extent that's true. It's difficult to resist the propaganda when you hear it chanted from every blog and article and conference session, but you can resist. Some of us manage to. But not you, late sheep. You're all the ones who go to any talk or workshop with "2.0" in the title, the ones who get all excited by workshops where you set up a blog that you will never post to, a wiki that you will never update, or a feed reader you will never visit again. The ones who are more puzzled than inspired by the insipid rhetoric of the twopointopians and other faddists but nevertheless don't have the fortitude to resist the fads. You have only yourselves to blame. The cult members are happy chattering away to themselves and having no impact whatsoever on the outer world, but you're so enticed by the appeal of being in the know that you listen to their empty messages. The priests and priestesses themselves might know the cult is void of ideas, but the major appeal of a cult is being an insider. But you late sheep want to be insiders, too. You want to know what all the excitement is about.
They're both part of the problem, but the early sheep don't like the late sheep very much. Without the late sheep, the early sheep wouldn't have anybody to feel superior to, but the late sheep have this bad habit of "debasing" the pure faith. The late sheep don't make much of the supposed ideas behind the fad, and they just focus on alleged incidentals like the technology. There aren't any coherent ideas behind the 2.0 fad, so it's no wonder the late sheep have debased the faith. And now the early sheep are upset, and insist upon a return to fundamentals.
The rest of us, perhaps the vast majority, can watch from the heights while the early sheep flock toward their new fads in search of hope and belonging, and the late sheep come along and spoil the celebration for everyone by focusing too much upon the rituals and not enough on the purity of the faith.
The high priests and priestesses of the Cult of Twopointopia insist that their flocks return to fundamentals, that they don't just mutter in darkened corners counting feed subscriptions like so many rosary beads and thinking they know something about Library 2.0. The great thing about this racket for the cultists themselves is the way they can always feel superior, if only because they know that the faith has a fundamental purity and they can spend a couple more years pretending that they're on to something while they give talks and workshops and laughingly survey the late sheep mucking about with execrable blogs and barren wikis. A couple of years ago Blyberg wrote: "If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know I believe L2 is a vital and very real movement. You’ll also know that I think it is an ever-changing amalgam of ideas, dreams, and visions." It's vital and real, but fortunately ever changing so the twopointopians always have a new dream or vision to chase.
So the call has gone out to renew the pure faith of this tiresome fad, but there is one consolation. If it wasn't for Library 2.0 and the twopointopians, it would just be some other fad, one that might actually have consequences outside the fevered minds and blogs of the cultists, and that might be much worse for us all.