FB’s New Timeline

I’ve been looking at FB’s new timeline feature today and something I noticed was that it pulls up information from before FB existed. Case in point – if I scroll back to 1995, I see the latest pic of my son and an announcement that he was born.

 Interesting stuff, really…



And then you have stuff that happened before the World Wide Web was even a twinkly in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye…




 Announcements of my birth as well as my brother’s, 6 years later. This really is a full timeline of your life, huh?

socialmedia thinking

My much delayed treatise on G+

So, I’ve been on G+ since June 29th and have had a chance to interact, join a hangout or two and generally play around with it as it’s grown. My general impressions are that it is a happening place – 10 million users in the first month or so of life indicates that it had some initial traction, though as more people use it and become familiar with it, those numbers have leveled off a bit (more about that later, I promise). As with most new social networking sites, the initial phase was all about G+ all the time – people were figuring it out, trying to find ways to make it useful to them and generally kicking the tires a bit. As it has gotten older and more settled, the posts are less about G+ and the features people love/hate/want and more about life and sharing bits of it with people in your circles.

While I appreciate the ease of the circle implementation on G+, I’m still spending too much time rearranging and reconfiguring my own circles. Heirarchical circles (the ability to place a circle of close friends into a circle of “general” friends so that all friends posts go to everyone, but I can choose to send only close friends the really personal posts, for example) would be nice, as would a way to permanently choose a “default” posting configuration. Most of my posts should be classed as “public” and I’d prefer to be able to set the public circle as my default, changing it to a more limited circle as needed. Others, of course, would prefer the most limited range to be their default – either way, we should be able to set that kind of thing easily and I haven’t found a way to do it yet.

Though I haven’t spent much time on it yet, the Hangout feature is by far my favorite – just in terms of sheer possibilities. My favorite use of a hangout so far has been an interactive cooking demonstration. All the ingredients were posted ahead of time, a time was set and the hangout was started. As people gathered in the hangout (and their kitchens), the “lesson” began and everyone started cooking together. The hangout continued through the cooking stage and into the eating and enjoying a bit of converation after dinner stage. Those who joined the hangout learned a new recipe, maybe some new cooking techniques and had a social experience while still having all the comforts of home. I’ve also heard of people having jam sessions over G+ hangouts. I’m sure I’ve missed other hangouts that were just as creative and interesting, too…

Of course, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the way in which Google is choosing to run its service. Google has a real/common names policy – you must use either your real, legal name or the name you are commonly known by, which may be why the numbers of new users have been leveling off lately. I’ve seen it explained both ways and it’s not really clear which one Google is actually enforcing – but they are enforcing something, that is for sure. Many people have been critical of the decision and are choosing not to use G+ until they allow pseudonyms and being able to hide behind “fake” names. This is, of course, their right to do so – and there are good and valid reasons why someone would decide to never use their real name on the Internet. That doesn’t change the fact that Google pays the bills and Google gets to make the rules. I read an explanation of the reasoning behind the rules the other day and they make sense, to me at least… 😉 Google knows that keeping people’s privacy on the Internet is a near impossibility – they cannot guarantee without a shadow of a doubt that if you post something to G+ under a pseudonym that they can keep it from ever being traced back to your real name, so they choose not to pretend that they can. They are being up front and realistic about the Internet today – it’s pretty crazy out there (see BART vs. Anonymous for more on that one…) and they have chosen to go the way of full disclosure. Of course, the way it’s being handled and the way Google is responding to feedback is occasionally clumsy, but this is a beta product and they are feeling their way along, just as we are. One of the reasons they give (besides the inability to guarantee privacy) for requiring real names is to put a stop (or at least a pause…) to spammers. This is pretty much failing – spammers are there, they just use plausible sounding names and create an account. They may eventually be found and deleted, but for a while they are going to be a problem for everyone – real names requirement or not.

Libraries have much to consider when contemplating using this service for anything – we have to decide if we want to “endorse” the real names requirement and make it mandatory for our patrons to sign up with a real name on an Internet site to interact with us (of course, Twitter still allows psuedonyms, so there are options…). We need to consider whether offering hangout-enabled programming or classes will be of any use to our patrons – and will be doable by our staff. I’m personally a bit reluctant to make it a *requirement* to join a class or attend a program (no G+ only classes at my library – at least for a while), though making it an alternate way to attend might be acceptable. Each library is going to have to consider the pros and cons and make those decisions for themselves. Until then, though, I still have a bunch of G+ invites if anyone wants to give the service a try – just shoot me your Google email address at!

Personal socialmedia

Catch-up Post

1) We survived the trip from NOLA with only a small detour through the Ozarks. It did get us to the cheapest gas of the trip (3.14/gal in Lebanon, MO), but caused us to use more, so the net effect was probably 0.

2) Google+. It happened. I’ve had my account since 6/29 and I’m kinda liking it. I plan to do more of a post later, when I have a better feel for the service (and more people are there). Stay tuned.

3) Spotify in the US. I have it. I like it. I’m not using the sharing parts of it so much (yet?), but the ability to extend my personal collection of music is pretty cool. I’m using the free version for now – we’ll see if I use it enough to make the paid version worth it.

More to come later, when I have time to write (yes, my “I’m going to get up early to write” has gone all to hell this summer, with the 16 year old child coming in at all hours of the night and interrupting my beauty sleep…).

conference socialmedia

Exploring policy, privacy and compliance issues when using social media: an IT perspective

Mark Monroe, from UMSL, started with a discussion of what social media is. He started with Tufts University using YouTube videos as a replacement for application essays – the dean of undergrad admissions didn’t realize how public and followed these applications would be. He talked about other social media missteps, then went into TOS’s of Facebook and Twitter. He then talked about FB’s ownership grab of user photos over 2009’s Valentines day.
He discussed the idea of cyber-bullying and policies – his school has no specific policies, but the activities are covered by code of conduct policies.
Much of the discussion was very educational institution oriented, so I’m skipping a lot…
The upshot of the discussion was that teachers are asking students to post homework assignments on Facebook and this is probably a bad idea. I’m in agreement, but not for the same reasons – Mark said that students uploading writing or photos to FB as part of an assignment are giving up their copyrights to that work. This is not exactly true – but they are putting that stuff up in a much more public place than their teacher’s desk, so there may be issues with privacy that are more pressing than IP issues, really. There were several questions from the crowd about impersonation accounts, but not a lot of advice – FB is notoriously bad about getting back to folks about issues, though they are getting better at getting rid of accounts that impersonate someone.

blogging business socialmedia

Content strategies

My previous post about the editorial calendar is sort of related to something I read last week about developing a content strategy. The information wasn’t really suited to libraries, but there are some points that I felt I could take and run with, even at a non-profit, B2C sort of place.

1) Identify trending topics
2) Meet with marketing regularly
3) Evaluate and refine

1) I keep a pretty close eye on our web/social sites stats. I’ve noticed, over the course of the last month or so, that mentioning any sort of e-materials (our Overdrive service, e-books, iPad and Nook tutorials, etc.) makes the stats for our blog jump pretty significantly. I’ve also tried to keep an eye on what people are searching for when they come to our site. This can show me what people are interested in right now so that I can go out and solicit content from our staff on that topic. That’s how I do the identification part.

2) I work just a few feet from our PR person and we have a pretty good working relationship – so she feels free to come to me with stuff she wants emphasized on the social sites and I have no problems going to her for help with promotion of the sites themselves. It’s a symbiotic relationship – and we work on keeping those lines of communication open so that I know what is important to her and she knows what is important to me – and we can each try to focus on those things.

3) This is where I fall down – like I said, I spend a lot of time perusing stats and I use them to inform my content decisions, but I don’t do so well at going back after the fact and determining what wording worked for what program. This is something that I need to work on in the coming year. I’d like to start out by actually creating *purposefully* different texts for Twitter/Facebook/Blog posts and see which ones get more responses. That would help me create more effective posts for everything, I’m sure. It’ll go on the list of “stuff to do”…

I have a social media strategy that includes some content strategizing within it for my library, but we could use a better articulation of what sort of content we’ll be promoting as well as what kind of content we’ll be asking for from our patrons (Flickr pictures of the library and/or library events, just as an example). This is something I’ll be working on – have any of you done anything like a formal content strategy for your sites? Wanna share?? 😉

socialmedia Web 2.0

Recent Webinars

I’ve helped to present two webinars in the past couple of months with some pretty amazing co-presenters. First was the “Using Tech To Move Your Small/Rural Library Forward” webinar (link goes to free archive) that I did with Maurice Coleman. That one was all about small and free tech that could be used by libraries with little to no technology budgets or personnel – and of course, even libraries that have money or IT personnel would get some value from saving their dollars for other things, right?
The second one I did was for ALA Techsource with David Lee King and is not (yet?) available as a (paid) archive – I believe they are planning to do this, but I’m not 100% sure. You can get links to readings, slides, documents and other information from the blog linked above, though. That one covered the use of social media in libraries – I talked about collaboration and marketing and David talked about the nitty gritty of using social sites to connect with patrons and communities.
Both webinars were great fun and are, at least partially, available for you to check out!

Cloud Computing collaboration 2.0 presentations socialmedia Training Web 2.0

ALA Techsource Webinar

I, along with the ever-cool David Lee King, will be presenting a 2-part webinar for ALA Techsource on the 1st and 8th of December (both at 2:30 EST aka 1:30 CST (I just put that last Central time reminder in there for me, honestly…)). We’ll be talking about:

  • Collaboration with libraries and patrons using YouTube, Flickr and Dropbox
  • Marketing your library with Facebook and Twitter
  • 4 things your library MUST do when signing up for ANY social media tool
  • Time-savers and tools for maximizing your library’s social media reach
  • And much more!

The cost for both workshops is $85 and you can register at the ALA store. As with all ALA Techsource workshops, you will get some reading material, worksheets for you to use at your library and LOTS of information about collaboration, Web 2.0, social networking and whatever else comes up in the question and answer part of the sessions! Join David and I as we dump out all the accumulated knowledge we’ve gotten from our experiences in social networking at our libraries and bypass all that messy trial and error stuff yourself!

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