Web 2.0 is the craze these days. We like to keep up with the latest tools and toys and try to use them in our professional lives. But how do you measure the impact of your hard work? This is something that I struggle with so I signed up for this roundtable sharing session: “Measuring Success with Web 2.0 Tools.” We talked about blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Yahoo Pipes, and many others. I was amazed at some of the work these librarians were doing, especially with Yahoo Pipes. However, we had one common gripe: we can’t get our people (staff and/or patrons) to use these tools. I think most of us are still at the implementation stage; measuring the impact of web 2.0 is not really on our radar yet. But this discussion proved that we need to think about implementation and impact simultaneously.

When I created a Twitter account for my library not too long ago, measuring impact was not something I thought about a lot. I figured having a reasonable number of followers would indicate success. However, for those of you who are on Twitter, you know that amassing a huge following doesn’t mean that you’ve somehow made it. It is the interactions that count. But how do you measure such interactions on Twitter? By the number of retweets? By the number of direct replies? By the number of direct messages? All valid questions I should’ve asked before I created the account!

There are too many dead blogs, abandoned Twitter accounts, and unfinished wikis by librarians. We have good intentions but get frustrated when others don’t share our enthusiasm for web 2.0 tools. I think that having an end goal in mind is a good start (sounds contradictory, I know!) So the question to ask your boss (or yourself!) is not whether you can/should have X (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc), but how will having X impact your library’s bottom line!

Shamsha

P.S. If you guys have some success stories about web 2.0 implementation or impact, please do share!