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Rewriting your job description?

16 Jan

The new media will rewrite your job description before your boss does. That’s the reality of many professions, particularly those connected to or dependent on information industries –and which aren’t?

Change is hard, and threatening. Digital culture is fraught with problems as I noted in my assessment of The Cult of the Amateur, but that does not mean we ought to fear or reject it.

Jeff Jarvis, a professor in journalism makes an interesting point (Fighting the future) about naive and dangerous thinking within J-schools right now, about the kind of experimentation newsrooms in print and electronic media need to indulge in to participate in the era of democratized content.

Most jobs today require collaboration and sharing, but digital culture is making us do it in newer ways. Almost every meeting I sit in includes a discussion about setting up a wiki. Photo sharing isn’t just for amateurs or for building albums to share with grandma. Many of the Pros are on to this. I found this picture (on the left) covering the recent California fires. It’s from a collection of images by Alex Miroshnichenko, a freelance photographer based in Southern California, who’s made them available on Flickr. In case you cannot recognize it, it’s a melted stop sign.

Speaking of sharing, Christopher Sessums director of the office of distance education at the University of Florida is someone who blogs on EduSpaces, a social networking site around education. His job description goes as: “Coordinating resources for faculty & administrators to produce online degree programs & courses.” But he refers to himself by two words: “change agent.” His thinking is indeed all about adapting to change, writing on topics such as the future of knowledge portals - how library web sites need to be a cross between Wikipedia and Amazon.

“Imagine a space where librarians upload mp3s, pictures (png, jpg), text (links to texts, outside sources/links), movies (mpg, mov, wmv). Associated with each file “pile” is a place for users/librarians to add comments, additional links, photos, user feedback/conversation.”

More like chief disruptor.

What does your job title say about you? Seat warmer or change agent?

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