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Chatroulette Reference: the New New Thing

Lately I’ve been very disappointed with the twopointopians, the boardslammers, and all the other earnest librarians claiming to reach out to the public and giving them help wherever they might be, from malls to toilet stalls. Normally they go all giddy over every new gadget and service because they like to "connect" to people.

And yet, I haven’t heard anything from the usual suspects about Chatroulette. Untold dozens of librarians broadcast their latest inane thoughts via Twitter or their blogs, but none of them as far as I know have taken their earnest librarian case to Chatroulette. The boardslammers like to slam the boards at online answering services, but I haven’t heard of branching out to the latest fad. Even the fad followers who normally drool over this sort of thing haven’t been mentioning it.

Being the helpful and curious librarian you all know me to be, I decided to fill the gap left by my more timid colleagues and slam Chatroulette. I figuratively dusted off my once mighty reference skills, literally dusted off my collection of reference books, and clicked to find a new person to whom I could offer reference assistance.

My first chatter was a teenage boy from Pakistan. I’m not sure if he was actually in Pakistan at the moment, but he started chatting to me in Urdu. I’m glad he had his microphone working, because I didn’t have Urdu fonts installed on my laptop (an oversight since corrected!). I asked him if perhaps he needed some homework help, since I assume children in Pakistan have homework, too. "Jee nahin," he replied, so I clicked Next.

I couldn’t tell for sure the age or sex of my next chatter, but I assume he was a man, even with the breasts. Only men are pathetic enough to cover their head with a gigantic sock puppet and sit naked in front of a computer fondling their enormous hairy chests. He didn’t even need to speak for me to know his information need, so I immediately recommended a gymnasium and a dietitian before clicking Next.

My third and final chatter (I don’t have as much time to waste as some of my fellow librarians) had a definite information need, among other obvious needs. In fact, he began the chat with a direct question, "Do you know what this is?" I was pretty sure of the answer, but a reference librarian needs an authoritative source. After thumbing quickly through my copy of Gray’s, I finally had my answer: "It looks like a penis, only smaller."

And there you have it, my effort to leap into the twopointopian gap left by my so-called peers. They didn’t have the foresight or courage to venture on Chatroulette to answer the reference questions of people so desperate for attention and self-exposure that even Twitter let them down. Now that I’ve broken the barrier, lesser librarians can follow.

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Comments

  1. Tailgunner Joe says:

    Twopointopian — A fancy word for socialist.

  2. yuck says:

    Based on your description, it sounds like Dial-a-Porn with a video component. If that is what it is I commend the twopointopians & co. from avoiding it.

  3. Yuck-O says:

    Good research, yuck. Believe what an anonymous blogger says about a site without checking it out yourself.

    I bet you believe everything you read on Wikipedia too.

  4. George says:

    I think you’re right, AL. The twopointers have really dropped the ball on this one.

  5. Librarian says:

    George, you’re right. I think the AL hit the nail on the head.

  6. Ernesta says:

    I have to agree with yuck on this one.

  7. Archlibrarian says:

    “And there you have it, my effort to leap into the twopointopian gap left by my so-called peers.”

    I’m glad someone had the courage to do this, AL!

  8. George says:

    Totally, archlibrarian! You have to wonder why the library dweebs like David Lee King haven’t jumped all over this.

  9. Old Reader says:

    It’s sad.

    This blog is just a shadow of what it used to be, especially when you were independent. You should have gone out when you were on top. When Bivens wrote that really good essay about you. When you were truly a fresh voice among the otherwise banal and delusional library blogs that filled cyberspace with nonsense and embarrasment, e.g., Library 101.

    Now, you’ve been reduced to a haunting of trolls and librarians who love to hate you. Or, else, you have your cheerleading squad who pretty much agree with everything you say. There is little if any substantial talk here. Your points seem rehased and predictable. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much of the old AL left.

    Others have commented that it’s not even the original AL, but a “corporate journalist.” Is this true? If not, you’ve lost some of your wit and spunk.

    So, what’s the point of all this, AL? Sorry to be a downer…but like Strindberg and Helium: I want to be your Helium.

  10. Wild Thing says:

    We will eat you up, we love you so, AL.

  11. AlwaysWanted2B says:

    I have to agree with Old Timer. i used to read this column thoroughly, and thought it was thought provoking. Now I just scan it and say – so what!

  12. AL=RK says:

    I think that the AL has gone the Mad-Lib way of blogging.

    You scan the news for the word library.

    You scan the news for new trends in technology.

    Then you combine the two and complain how things are horrible these days and up and coming librarians are scum who just want to take your job away with some new fangled toy.

    A hundred years ago, these kinds of people railed against the typewriter and telegraph because they were instruments of the devil and would bring down Western civilization as we know it.

    Ah, those were the days before socialized hippies took over.

  13. Old Reader says:

    Why do some commenters have to relate EVERYTHING to socialism these days? I mean, seriously! it is beyond annoying and now banal. And yes, I know this is the Annoyed Librarian’s blog, but lord almighty.

    The only good I see in using the term “socialism” for every single ill one perceives in society is that one day, very soon, it will become so diluted in meaning that no one will really know exactly what it is supposed to be criticizing.

    Otherwise, it is lazy.

  14. New Reader says:

    Spoken like a true capitalist.

  15. Old Reader says:

    Close, I’m a supporter of feudalism.

  16. merricat says:

    just want to see if you’ll delete my comment again.

  17. New Reader says:

    Good thing you went into librarianship.

    Nothing could be more futile.

  18. Annoyed Librarian's Serf says:

    Look at you! you’re hair’s all up in a pun again.

  19. Waikiki says:

    AL likes the water.

    Serf’s up.

  20. No. 6 says:

    I think that people have forgotten that the AL did have humorous, satirical posts before joining LJ. She certainly wasn;t always serious (or even satirical and serious). In case you missed it, this post is satire. Laugh a little. I did.

  21. sidney says:

    This has got to be one of the most misunderstood library blogs around. Obviously this post is satire. I even got a chuckle out of it, though I definitely didn’t expect a penis joke on the AL. All the earnest trolls in librarianship are why I still read the blog but don’t comment much anymore.

  22. Miss Prim says:

    Satire, like Facebook and Twitter and anything electronicy or Internety, does NOT belong in any library setting.

    Do you ever wonder why librarians are looked upon as clerks and idiots and paid accordingly? Look no further than the drivel here that calls itself a blog.

    Good day.

  23. Thirsty Thurston says:

    http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20100330&name=Hi_and_Lois

    I don’t know how to do link things, but if you can cut and paste you will find out how socialism is defeating capatalism as show in this riveting comic.

  24. Raynor says:

    “Why do some commenters have to relate EVERYTHING to socialism these days?”

    Ah, I miss the good old days when everything turned into a Christian/atheist trollfest.

  25. Happy Patron says:

    I am so glad this group did become Christian and dropped the atheist/Muslim/Jewish trolling.

    Now if we could just get rid of the Godless Socialist comments, this will be Nirvana.

    God Bless You!!!!!!

  26. PBR Librarian says:

    Wow, can’t believe my comment got deleted even though I didn’t even say anything remotely offensive other than this was a terrible excuse for a post.

    Once again it is shown that AL wants to pretend she dishes it out like a truth talkin’ library hardass, but can’t take a little criticism.

    *yawn*

  27. Goat Roper says:

    If you ride the bulls, the AL doesn’t want to hear from you.

    You just have to know how to toss the bull$hit to be included.

    That keeps the AL (and the bean counters at the Library Journal) happy.

  28. merricat says:

    PBR, my post was deleted numerous times. The AL only wants robot AL-love drones and librarians-who-love-to-hate-the-AL as commenters now I suppose.

    Shut it down!

  29. Happy Patron says:

    Sorry PBR and mericat for your troubles.

    Maybe if you prayed more, the AL would put your posts up intact.

    It couldn’t hurt!

    God Bless!!!!!

  30. vv.richard6 says:

    sangambayard-c-m.com