I don't Digg, Reddit, Mixx, or read Newsvine (although it was easily my favorite of the tools). No, I FARK. Fark is a site to which users submit links to news stories, tagging them with their own headlines (often way better than the actual headlines), and then others comment on. I admit, the humor, heavy on sarcasm and wit, may not be everyone's thing, but I love it. Sometimes the debates get heated, but for the most part, it stays relatively civil. The site has different tabs into which the stories are sorted, so if I only want to read about Entertainment, I can just go to that section, rather than have to sort though a bunch of stories. If I want to read about what's going on politically, I can go to the Politics tab.
How do you think you can use these tools in your library or at home? At home, I can just read the stories I want to read, from a variety of sources. At the library, the same could be done...each patron could set up an individual profile, or login to what the library's profile provides. I'm not so sure Fark would be a well-rounded choice for a library, but I wasn't impressed by any of the others except Newsvine. I thought Mixx, Digg, and Reddit were all one big jumble. Maybe if I used them more I'd think differently, but I also know if a user doesn't connect with a Web 2.0 tool, well, there are plenty of others to go try. It's not like it used to be, to paraphrase Henry Ford, "You can [use any online technology], as long as it's [insert name of web 2.0 application here]."
Do these tools seem to be a productivity enhancer or a productivity detractor? Um, I'd have to say, both! A productivity enhancer because the news I'm interested in is all brought together in one place...a productivity detractor because there have been numerous occasions during which I find myself reading articles/comments instead of doing whatever it was I'd originally needed to be doing. Yep, both. Any kind of Web 2.0 application such as these invite comments from the users--and oftentimes it's the comments and resulting debates that leave me with something to think about, rather than the original news stories.
Have you ever read a story/item as a result of seeing it on one of these sites? Yes, yes I have. And sometimes I wish I hadn't... there've been some doozies that I wish I hadn't clicked on. Mostly, though, I skim the headlines, and see what interests me on that particular day.
Although, as I said, oftentimes it's the ensuing debates between the users that provides food for thought, especially in the Politics section. For instance, even though I have always voted since turning 18, it wasn't until this past year that I really would consider myself to have really thought about the issues at hand...even though I don't post comments myself, there's something to be said for a 'town hall' kind of atmosphere.
Oh, and as for what I recommended...it's on the winstedlibrary29 delicious page!