I've criticized the twopointopians many times, especially their Stuart Smalley gobbledygook as well as their similarity to a cult always looking for the pure faith. Like every other topic on the AL it dies out as I get bored with it, but once in a while I run across a claim about something else being "2.0," and I just can't help but comment on it.
This one also came while I was springbreaking, in my favorite twopointopian blog David Lee King. You can read the post, but the basic scenario is that the library director lets some old folks use the CD-ROM drive on her work computer to view some slides because none of the public workstations had CD drives. Okay. That's great. It seems hardly earthshattering to me, just librarians making up for the inadequacy of their public machines and being helpful. King calls this "above-and-beyond customer service." Well, okay, maybe. It was definitely an appropriate and helpful thing to do, but it's not like it put the librarian out that much. She didn't spend hours working to solve some research problem or stay for a long time after a desk shift because she was in the middle of reference transaction. Still, I'll be happy to note that it's excellent "customer service," and based on the post it would seem this sort of help hasn't usually been available in their library.
All in all, it was a dull but perfectly respectable affirmational post providing a specific example of good "customer service." But then it had to be ruined by this little "2.0" exchange.
"When they were done, I walked back to Gina. She looked at me, pointed a finger at me, and said 'that’s 2.0, David.'
And I’d agree. No, it’s not really about technology. It’s not about using RSS feeds. But it DOES display the type of above-and-beyond customer focus that my library is developing. For us, that’s a 2.0 change for the better."What? Does this make any sense at all? I'll save you the trouble of answering. No, it doesn't. This is just another example of twopointopians having a phrase they like and using it to describe anything they like. Librarians helping patrons. Wow, this certainly never happened in a library before the twopointopians started their cult. We've discovered a totally new thing called "customer service," and have acknowledged the shocking truth that before something called "2.0" came along no librarians ever went out of their way to help patrons. It sure is nice of these twopointopians to show us the light and the error of our past ways, when all librarians everywhere went out of their way not to help patrons.
I don't know how they do it out in Kansas, but in plenty of other libraries librarians have been perfectly happy to help patrons for a very long time, not only before the twopointopian technocult evolved, but even before there were computers in libraries. Just because your own librarians have never been very helpful for patrons (which is the implication of the quote above) doesn't mean that librarians elsewhere haven't been trying. Saying this has anything to do with some inchoate verbiage called "2.0" shows ignorance of and disrespect toward the many librarians over the past few decades who have done exactly this sort of thing, and probably without thinking they were some sort of heroic vanguard of a library cult for doing it. From the time of Dewey on, we've even had an entire field within the profession dedicated to helping patrons. It's called reference, in case you've never heard of it. Sometimes it might have been badly done, as everything involving humans often is, but to say that before the cult of twopointopia arose there were no reference librarians working hard to help patrons is just ridiculous.
This episode does show cultic tendencies, especially the tendency to interpret everything you like as part of your little movement to the point where to any disinterested observer it becomes clear that there's nothing coherent about your interpretations. If "2.0" is something new and means anything at all, then it has something to do with Web 2.0 technology. If it's not about the technology, then there's nothing new about it. If it's about the technology, but not really about the technology, then it's just gibberish. This shows that "2.0" has either no meaning at all or too many meanings (some contradictory), and thus should be abandoned by anyone with any interest in communicating with other people. But, as we all know, people using the term "2.0" don't necessarily want to use language to communicate, but instead to use language for another of its purposes. Faiths and cults need ritual chants, and the cult of twopointopia is no different from any other cult. Communicating with the heretics outside the cult is difficult if one insists on using meaningless terms, but chanting the ritual terms is a great way to ensure a sense of belonging in the cult members.
"2.0, 2.0, 2.0, 2.0...." Keep chanting until your mind is cleared of all rational thought and you join the happy cult. As with any other word, if you chant it long enough, it seems to lose all meaning. The great thing about this term is that based on what the twopointopians say themselves, it doesn't have any meaning to begin with. That just makes the whole thing easier.