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... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Power of Three

Marydee Ojala @ 6:59 am

I’ve had some responses from my editorial about the power of three in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of ONLINE, but I thought posting it here might generate a few more responses.

Oh, and 3 words appropriate to the season: Happy New Year!

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The Power of Three

When my son turned three, he became fascinated with all things three. “I’m thwee,” he’d say, not being terribly good at pronouncing the r. It’s a good thing he’d hold up three fingers, since it sounded like he was saying, “I’m free,” a rather curious statement from a young child. He also had 3 friends, 3 favorite games, 3 stuffed animals, and probably some threes he didn’t share with me.

This came to mind recently when Colin Beverage posted a challenge on a LinkedIn group—describe what you do in 3 words. Now I took Latin in secondary school. I know Gaul was divided into 3 parts. My Latin teacher declaimed, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” as she acted out the part of Julius Caesar (I came, I saw, I conquered, which is 6 words in English, but only 3 in Latin).

Some people, who answered Colin, took the Caesar approach, using three disparate words separated by commas. “Eat, sleep, drink” was the least professional. I said, “Think, research, write.” Others came up with “define, create, refine,” which sounds a bit shampooish (lather, rinse, repeat). “Converse, plan, deliver” caught my eye, as did “communicate, negotiate, collaborate.” Some of these phrases implied a process: First I think, then I research, finally I write. Others reflected three separate activities. If it was a solo librarian, I can imagine “research, collect, manage,” which could be in any order.

The non-Caesarian approach was to write a 3-word sentence that bordered on a tag line. David Gurteen, known for his Knowledge Cafes, said, “I have conversations.” An independent information professional expressed the essence of consulting when she said, “Informing client decisions.” The person who said “Fight the Hydra” may have been having a bad day. “Reduce legal risk” is an extraordinarily powerful 3-word statement. I’m hoping it was from a law librarian.

It’s a fun challenge and if you share your powerful three words with me, I’ll share them with other readers of ONLINE, attributed or not, your choice.

1 Comment

  1. Really great. I’ve been pondering but am never satisfied with what I produce.
    “Offer informed options.”
    “I open dialogue.”

    But I’m inclined towards: “Provide many paths.”

    Eh, I stink at this! :)

    Comment by Kungfulibrarian — January 19, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

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