Virtual Members Actualized @ Midwinter

This document produced by the Task Force on Electronic Member Participation was discussed by Council at last month’s Midwinter Meeting and recommendations set forth were tentatively accepted. Most significant, perhaps, was #4: “Phase out the category of Virtual Member as non-voting: Agreed that the recommendation is for approval in principle of elimination of Policy 16.5 (Virtual members) so that members who could participate only electronically would have the full array of rights and responsibilities of all committee members.” This is going to require a lot more work and study by a new task force on implementing these recommendations. Those of you who participated in MW’s MIG meeting should definitely look for admission to this group and lend your expertise to this significant turn of events. The VCL MIG is the rallying point for creating your own niche in ALA as well as advising any upcoming task forces on how virtual particpation in ALA activities can be actualized.

I learned about this at a recent ITTS Update meeting at ALA where Jenny Levine presented an amazing report on the prevalence (and impact) of Twitter use during MW. It’s very possible that a tipping point on the blurring between actual and virtual participation has occurred. Levine cited several instances where people at different meetings at MW connected via Twitter caused changes to take place because of their electronic connections. As well, people who were only at MW via Twitter were also able to “be heard” at Council as well as the Web Advisory Committee.

I wish I could point to more detailed documentation of these instances but maybe participants or witnesses might come forward to comment or share their experiences.

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