Sunday, September 21, 2008

No one will check the internet

I volunteered at Doors Open London yesterday. Doors Open is held one weekend a year; various sites around town, including museums, historic homes and churches open their doors to the public, free of charge. My job was to help people who came to the London Tourism Bureau by giving them a map and telling them about any of the sites they were curious about.

One of the sites had recently pulled out of Doors Open, but unfortunately the brochures and maps had already been printed. No big deal, I just made sure I told everyone who took a map to cross that one off.

Then, one man asked why they didn't reprint the thousands of brochures to prevent confusion; if he hadn't come to ask me, he never would have known the problem. I explained that it wasn't economically feasible to reprint them so late and that the change had been noted on the internet so he could get the latest information.

"Yeah, but nobody will check there" he says.

The generational line has been drawn.

I live in a world where I stopped reading my local newspaper because they redesigned their website and I dislike the result. Where the bus schedule is found with mouse clicks, and all answers can be Googled.

He lives in a world of paper and face to face contact in which the bus schedule is kept in a drawer, not a cookie.

This is not meant as a criticism towards this man. It just surprised me how different his worldview was on this particular issue. Maybe I need to get out more. And important to remember when working in public history. Not everyone will check the internet.

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