Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

Following the Computers in Libraries Conference Online

March 21, 2011 Comments off

Computers in Libraries 2011Once again, this year, I will not be attending the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference in D.C. Bummer for me, really, because it is such a great conference for libraryland.

For those who may not be familiar with the Computers in Libraries conference, the website describes it this way:

The conference program is filled with ideas, innovative practices, tips, and techniques for identifying community needs and opportunities as well as designing and delivering strategic and creative services that are of primary importance to our communities. The emphasis is on creating strategic value for our user communities and using new web tools to build innovative and priority services.

CIL 2011 kicked off this morning. If you are like me and (1) are not at CIL 2011 and (2) wish you were, there is hope thanks to online connections. Here’s a quick rundown of 4 ways that we can follow CIL 2011 online:

  1. – A very handy blog provided by Information Today (who organizes the conference). It provides access to a lot of great information and resources about/from the conference (especially in the Computers in Libraries section). Some of the goodies you will find there are listed below.
  2. Twitter – Following tweets with the hashtag #cil11. This can be done several ways. You can follow the tweets feeds at or TweetChat.
  3. USTREAM Computers in Libraries Channel – Live streaming (complete with live chat) of the 3 keynote addresses. If you miss the live streams, the videos are usually archived at USTREAM for later viewing. I imagine that will be the case for CIL 2011 live streams. (Note: The Monday morning keynote speaker, James Crawford from Google Books, is MIA due to a flight delay. However, Information Today stepped up and did a great job of putting together an impromptu panel, and it is being live streamed.)
  4. Blogs – Quite a number of librarians in attendance at CIL 2011 will be blogging from the conference.

These are some good ways to begin connecting online with the conference. (The nice thing is that a number of these resources move beyond simply stalking the conference to interacting with those in attendance.) Other ways will surely surface as the conference continues. Many presenters, for example, will likely post their presentation slide decks at SlideShare.

Go quickly and enjoy. The conference is already underway!


Leveraging Location-Based Social Apps: A Foursquare Example

August 3, 2010 Comments off

I play around with a personal Foursquare account–partly because I enjoy experimenting with tech toys, partly because it is game-like (and I have fun with that), and partly in order to understand something about the service. I would like to be able to have an (at least somewhat) intelligent conversation should it ever come up in my information-consultant role as a librarian.

The other day I was checking-in on Foursquare at a business establishment in the city where I live and noticed an icon pointing me to a “nearby special offer.” I clicked the link to discover the following…

Here is a real-life example of a business where I live that is leveraging their presence on Foursquare to connect with existing/potential customers and draw their business. (For those who are not familiar with Foursquare, users check-in at venues with their mobile device and are awarded points and sometimes “badges” for reaching certain levels of activity. The person with the most check-ins at a venue at any given time is dubbed the “Mayor” of that location.)

So it goes like this: Visit McAlister’s (and enjoy a great meal) as many times as possible, check-in with Foursquare more than anyone else, and enjoy one of those great meals on the house. It’s incentive-filled. Friendly competitive. Simple.

Location-based social networking applications–like Foursquare, Gowalla, BrightKite, and Loopt–are seeing a growth in popularity. (RJMetrics tracks usage data for Foursquare and Gowalla.) Some in the business world have recognized this begun exploring ways to incorporate these social networking tools into their advertising strategy. Likewise, some of us in the library world are asking ourselves, “How can we use applications like Foursquare to connect with our users who are sporting mobile devices and enjoying a bent for social networking?” It’s not necessarily about new resources and services. It’s not even about the social networking app. It’s entirely about making connections–making our libraries relevant to users.

This topic has been discussed for some time and at some length among librarians. Cecily Walker (Vancouver Public Library) blogged about Foursquare and libraries. David Lee King (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library) wrote a post on the subject and then a follow-up post. Kyle Jones (contributor to the Tame the Web website) told of the Darien Library experiment with Foursquare and their library users. And Jenny Levine (The Shifted Librarian) shared her Foursquare “a-ha” moment with us. These are just a few examples.

Take a look at these two libraries on Foursquare:

Librarians, is your library using any of the location-based social networking sites to connect with your users? What kind of things are you doing? Are your efforts strengthening, enhancing, growing, etc. your connections to your users?

Library users, are you using location-based social networking sites like Foursquare? How would you like to see your library using these social networking sites to make special offers to you and have some fun along the way?


Adding Value to Social Networking

June 30, 2010 Comments off

Yesterday I was checking my email and found a message from one of our library vendors, Gaylord Brothers, in my inbox. Nothing unusual. We get those all the time. It was for a sale promotion. Again, no surprises here. However, this particular email caught my attention because it was pointing me to the Gaylord Facebook fan page and a discount offer that is directly tied to their Facebook presence.

Become a fan and reap the benefits of an exclusive offer. That is building connections that can be fostered and enhanced. That is adding value.

Social networking, particularly Facebook, now permeates our everyday lives. (I know this is true because even my mother now has a Facebook account.) For anyone with a service to offer–a company, an organization, a library–social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are ripe platforms for bringing what you have to offer to customers, users, patrons, etc. We connect. We market. We bring value. We service. We all win.

If you are part of an organization and have something to offer, are you regularly using or experimenting with social networking sites to connect with people? If not, there is no better time than the present. Look at what others like you are doing with social networking. Create your own organizational account on one or two popular social networking sites and test the waters. If you are already using social networking, are you moving beyond connections to find ways of adding value to those connections? How can we not only stay in touch with people, letting them know what we have to offer, but also give them actual opportunities to make those connections worthwhile?

A few ideas:

  • A giveaway for retweeting one of your tweets
  • A special offer for the person with the most check-ins at your site with one of the location-based social networks
  • Promoting your Facebook fan page as a place to ask questions on the spot
  • For libraries: Sending a status update on Facebook or Twitter that offers a “library fine forgiveness” to the first X number of people who visit the library and mention the status update

Adding value to our social networking efforts. It’s in the game plan for our library this coming academic year.


What’s in a Name?

May 4, 2010 1 comment

Shakespeare’s Juliet asked it, and I pose the same question.

What value do we place in our name? What meaning does it convey? How does it represent us? Juliet saw it as an artificial convention. I have some Cherokee blood, so I tend to believe there is a bond between the person and the name. However you might respond to such questions, I think we can all agree that they are questions worth asking.

Actually, what is really on my mind is a variation of the famous question that more pointedly asks, What’s in a social name?

By “social name” I am referring to those aliases that we create for our social networking profiles. We have our given names, but beyond that we sport our usernames, handles, and avatar names across multiple social networks. In some cases those social names are identical to our given names, and there is an identifiable correlation between the two. Facebook and LinkedIn come to mind (though there may possibly be fewer examples with Facebook in the near future). In many other instances, however, those social names do not match up with our given names. Sometimes they even are so unrelated that any attempt to try and match a real name with the corresponding social name could only be described as the stuff of Vegas. Drop a coin and pull the lever. And this can be further compounded when an individual’s social handles are not identical across his or her social network profiles. The Twitter handle may be one thing; the Foursquare username something else; and the SecondLife and World of Warcraft avatar names altogether different. Granted, many people do use the same social name on multiple social networks in an effort to brand themselves, but even then, differences can and do exist between the given name and the social name.

I am not trying to make an argument that it is bad to have usernames on social networking sites that are different from an individual’s given name. I am simply pointing to reality. Generally speaking, we have given names, and we have social names.

Some of my connections with others are entirely (or at least primarily) through Twitter, so I most naturally recognize those individuals under their Twitter name. And even in the cases where those Twitter connections have grown to include encounters in other venues (i.e. reading their blogs, face-to-face meetings at conferences), I still identify strongly with their Twitter presence. That Twitter handle is just as significant as their first name. It seems that I am not alone. I am noticing conference attendees agreeing to “pen in” their Twitter handles on their conference badges. This year’s Connecticut Library Association Conference went a step further by incorporating a space for Twitter handles into the design of their conference badges.

We continue to build, shape, absorb, and project our various social network identities–personal and professional–under the labels of our social names. As we do so, will we reach a point where it will be insufficient or difficult to fully associate with others under our given names only? Will our social usernames increasingly become more than something we type into a required field to create a profile? I don’t know. Just a thought that has been on my mind.

At the very least, I believe this topic is worth including among discussion of “social awareness” in digital literacy instruction efforts. The role of our social networking names will likely increase as the identities behind them continue to grow and evolve.


Categories: Social Networking Tags: ,

6 Ways I’m Following CIL2010 Online

April 13, 2010 8 comments

For the last three years, I have enjoyed a trip to Arlington, VA about this time for the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference. Alas, CIL2010 began yesterday, and here I remain on the homefront. I was not able to attend this year due to library budget restraints, but I have tried not to let that fact dampen my spirits. No standing in the corner pouting for me. Rather, I have chosen to use this as an opportunity to reach for the silver lining. I can’t be there in person, but (thanks to today’s technology) I can be there–to a large extent–virtually.

So I did some homework last week, and here are 6 ways I am following CIL2010 online:

  1. – This website/blog, provided by Information Today (who organizes the conference), serves as a grand central station of sorts. From here, you can access Resources@CIL2010 (including such things as the conference agenda, program, and wiki), CILLive (for live streaming of the 3 keynote addresses and an additional Tuesday morning session), follow a nearly real-time stream of tweets coming from conference attendees with Twitter@CIL2010, see a list of Bloggers@CIL2010, and more.
  2. Twitter – Following tweets with the hashtag #CIL2010. This can be done several ways. You can follow the tweets feeds at Twitter@CIL2010 or What the HashTag?!, use Twitter Search to search for the hashtag #CIL2010 (which regularly prompts you to refresh the search), or build a custom Twitter search column in TweetDeck or HootSuite to monitor tweets that include #CIL2010. (I am experimenting with all these approaches, but my favorite is the feed at What the HashTag?!.) Following the Twitter activity from CIL has been an interesting, close-to-real-time exercise. It was informative and down right fun to watch, for example, the tweets that were rolling during a session on transliteracy by Bobby Newman, Matt Hamilton, and Buffy Hamilton. You could sense the connection being made between the session’s audience and the presenters.
  3. USTREAM Computers in Libraries Channel – Live streaming (complete with live chat) of the 3 keynote addresses as well as Michael Edson’s Tuesday morning session “Strategic Planning & Encouraging Change” at 10:30am. Thanks to the live streaming, I was able to watch Lee Rainie, director of Pew Internet & American Life Project, give the opening keynote address on Monday. I always enjoying hearing him speak. (Thanks to David Lee King for operating the live stream!) The next keynote is Tuesday (that’s this morning!) at 9:00am if you’re interested. If you miss the live streams, no worries. The videos are archived at USTREAM for later viewing.
  4. SlideShare – Here you will find session slideshows uploaded by session speakers. Only a few slideshows are currently available, but over time, I expect the number to grow.
  5. Blogs – Quite a number of librarians in attendance at CIL2010 are blogging from the conference. I already follow many of these blogs with Google Reader, but CIL has also created a handy-dandy list of Bloggers@CIL2010 which has proven useful as well. The nice thing about blog posts is that they can be read over time.
  6. Delicious – A number of folks are bookmarking links to web resources mentioned at CIL2010. This allows for some interesting browsing.

So there you have it. Yesterday I began immersing myself as much as possible in “virtual conference attendance”–something that will continue for the next couple of days and beyond. This is my first foray into this type of exercise, and yesterday’s experience went well. While it is not quite the same as being there, I look forward to the rest of my online monitoring of CIL2010.

Barring any major setbacks, I hope to be able to make the physical trip to CIL2011 in about 12 months. In the meantime, allow me to offer a heart-felt thanks to all those who have contributed to making as much of the CIL2010 experience available online for those of us unable to be there. Conference planners, presenters, and attendees who are collectively posting, tweeting, streaming, and blogging–thank you all!

Pic credit: NASA via WikiMedia



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Social Exhaustion

April 9, 2010 2 comments

For some reason, I have been in a social networking slump this week. My typical, regular activity on Facebook, Twitter (including TweetDeck and HootSuite), Delicious, Flickr, Google Reader, this blog, and so on simply hasn’t been there. I have been out of the zone.

Unusual? No. Slumps are a part of life. Just ask any athlete or gamer. Explainable? Sometimes, but not always. There can be times when extraneous circumstances of life can effect your ability to function normally, but sometimes slumps occur for no good reason. Predictable? A resounding ‘no’. They sneak up on you–usually when you least expect it. Vacations or breaks from the regular routine can be re-energizing, beneficial, and even healthy. But vacations are usually planned events. You put it on the calendar and build a countdown widget. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I am so looking forward to my slump next week!”

I guess my biggest concern is the effect that my social networking slump has had on my library’s social connections. As a result of The Slump, I haven’t been doing such a good job of keeping content on the library’s Facebook fan page as fresh at it could be. I haven’t been keeping the library’s Twitter conversations active or monitoring the twittersphere for potential opportunities to help someone. [Andy Burkhardt (Information Tyrannosaur blog) has a great post on how to set up ways to monitor Twitter using Twitter’s advanced search to create alerts.]

What about you? Have you experienced a social networking slump? How do you handle it? How did it affect your personal and professional connections? How did you snap out of it?

I think I am coming out of the slump. My most obvious clue is the fact that I decided to write this post. That’s a good sign. So to those who may have noticed my absence from the social cloud this week (Did anyone even notice? LOL), I’m back! And this is a good thing given the fact that next week is both National Library Week and CIL2010–two events that I plan to track and interact with through social media.


A List for Social Networking with SC Libraries

April 3, 2010 Comments off

Are you connecting with libraries? Using their facilities for research and recreation? Making use of the free wi-fi that most provide? Checking out books? Using electronic resources not easily purchased by individuals? Getting expert advice from trained information professionals? Participating in planned events? Staying informed about resources, services, and community news that can benefit you?

The library is for YOU, but it is difficult to take full advantage of what libraries have to offer if you are not connected. Many libraries are making it easier for you to interact with them by having a presence on many of today’s popular social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr to name a few.

I want to point you to a valuable list of South Carolina libraries on popular social networking sites. This list (constantly being updated) was put together by the South Carolina State Library as part of their South Carolina Library Network (SCLN) wiki. The social networking library directory will help you identify ways that you can connect with, “friend,” “follow,” become a “fan” of, and interact with libraries in South Carolina. The listings are broken down by the following categories:

  • SC libraries that blog
  • SC libraries using chat
  • SC libraries in MySpace
  • SC libraries in Facebook
  • SC libraries that Twitter
  • SC libraries in Flickr
  • SC librarian blogs
  • SC libraries with Delicious bookmarks

See a SC library in the directory listing with which you can associate? If so, connect with them, stay informed, and reap the benefits. They would love to interact with you online! I know because I am from one of them.

If you know of a SC library NOT listed here that is on Facebook, Twitter, etc., let me encourage you to contact Curtis Rogers at the State Library.

Happy social networking!

Pic Credit: “Handy” icon set from Webdesigner Depot


Why Do You Want to Put Stuff There?

February 20, 2010 Comments off

I once had someone ask me, “Why would your library want to bother with activity on those social networking sites? I mean, you’re an academic library. What’s the point?” I should also point out that this person was from an academic community. This person saw such activities as (1) steering the attention of our users (mainly students and faculty) away from meaningful content towards superficial status updates, tweets, captioned pics, and the like and (2) taking time away from populating, maintaining, and improving the library’s primary online presence (library website, online catalog, electronic resource offerings, etc.). This person was thinking that–for the library–anything worth using or making available online should be built into the library’s own research-oriented website–not cast out like pearls before swine on the recreational internet platforms of others. Bottom line: This person did not see the value.

I was reminded of that encounter last week while reading the book, Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, by Ken Auletta. In the book, Auletta “uses the story of Google’s rise to explore the inner workings of the company and the future of the media at large” (book jacket). The book frequently addresses the effect that the new media (digital, internet-centric) is having on the old media (TV, radio, all things print: newspapers/magazines/books, movie & music studios). At one point, Auletta quotes Quincy Smith of CBS speaking about the survival of old media:

“All of us–broadcasters, cable networks, Hollywood studios–have to display our content on multiple platforms, be it YouTube,, Hulu, MySpace, or iTunes. We need to use these platforms to promote our content and drive audiences, particularly younger audiences, to our primary platform. [emphasis mine]

Smith was speaking of media companies, but this quote could just as easily be addressing today’s libraries. A library’s use of a Facebook fan page or Twitter account is not intended to replace the “traditional” library website or devalue it. On the contrary, it is meant to increase the library’s presence on the web, make connections with existing (and potential) library users, raise awareness of library resources and services, and–just perhaps–put some of those resources and services into play by drawing users to where they are.

Being social is a natural tendency for people. As a rule of thumb, people are drawn to social spaces–both physical and virtual. Why not libraries? Why not put stuff out there to connect with people, promote what we have to offer, and lead people to some of those delicious treats on our library website platter?

Gotta go. It’s time for me to tweet about a news story announcing a new electronic resource we provide on our library website.

Pic by 10ch


Categories: Social Networking