I’ll add to the buzz that is making this library promotion video go viral because I think it is actually far more interesting and clever than the commercial it is spoofing.  And the actor has more “stage presence” than the original on the horse.  I hope that this gig turns into a well-paying job for him. Although I have to point out that his face has already been seen more than that of many professional actors (over a million hits as of today and counting).

I mentioned video to a colleague, who happens to be a librarian himself, and he rattled off a number of videos similar to this one.  All produced college media centers, going for that not quite pro feeling that characterizes YouTube these days.  All trying, by the way, to use the web tools to get students off the web an into the physical space of the library itself.  Ironic, no?

So, what is happening?

In part, the professionals are trying to catch up to the amateurs.  Young people seem to enjoy the shaky, poor quality productions of their peers, often over the slick message-pushing videos calculated to catch their interest.  For those of us trying to get them to adopt habits (such as going to the library or check their disks for viruses), this pro-am production level is tantalizing.  What I’m curious about (seriously!) is … do these attempts have any effect on the target audience?  Or are we actually annoying them, ineffectually, by trying to co-op their turf?

When I sit on the sidelines to take a breather, I am sometimes struck by the way the youth is constantly code-switching and changing preferred media in what seems an unconscious (or maybe conscious) attempt to keep the adults in the dark.  Like prisoners constantly changing their jail-house code so that they can have private conversations, youth seem to be on the move with what is really “in” today.  Much to the frustration of adults who are trying to ramp up their skills so that they can also participate in the conversation.

What I would like to know is this – are the efforts worth it?  Do we get more students into the library or to run virus scans or whatever?  Or are they already onto the next thing while we are blissfully congratulating ourselves on “reaching them”?  If you have data or literature to share, please do!

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