At the end of August Hungary, the small country I live in, became front and center on the world’s stag as thousands of migrants flooded our border and were stranded in our train stations. World history was happening right here!
Although, the daily alerts from the New York Times telling me Hungary is in the news have stopped the migrant crisis is not over. How do I know? From Facebook.
Look right here at the photo of the piece of fence waiting to fill in the gap between the Hungarian-Croatian border (just like the one between Hungary-Serbia a few weeks ago) my colleague posted on Satuday (used with permission):
This colleagues has posted many more, along with other people I know. There pictures are popping up all over Facebook.
**Update: Hungary is back in the main stream news is piece of fence went into place about 9 hours ago as of writing this http://nyti.ms/1LoBo9t**
Many of people, my guess hundreds or even thousands, have banned together online over the crisis. The group Migrant Aid, which was formed in response to the crisis, uses Facebook daily to update regular folks just like you and me on how we can help. The responses at one point was so big that they asked people to stoping giving bottled water and other food items, because there was too much.
As I was reading Clay Shirky’s (2008) Here Comes Eveybody a few weeks ago I came to realize he was describing the same phenomenon in relation to flash mobs in Belarus and the outing of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. People are using the power of the social media to form communities and movements faster and different ways than we have ever experienced before. And here I was experiencing it in my own back yard.
You maybe asking what this means for us as hyperlinked librarians? Firstly, we need to realize that we do not need to feel threatened by the power of the Internet. Yes, people are no longer going to traditional sources, such as newspapers and libraries, for information, but think of we can take the mass broadcast power of social media to spread our messages. Just look at Pam Sandlian Smith’s TED Talk it has over 49,000 views. Using our makers spaces we can assist out users create and send out their own personal ideas.
Librarians are no longer the key to information, but that does not stop us from sending out information to the world.
Shirky, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody. New York: Penguin Books.