Category Archives: Content (is Conversation)

“It always has content I care about.” Flipboard for iPad Personal Magazine

I downloaded the app but trying to add my accounts yields a “server busy” message. Must be a lot of folks trying to get set up. I’m intrigued by this though and look forward to plating with it. Can you imagine where this might lead? Not only can individuals have a social magazine constantly updating at their fingertips, but groups could someday have tailor made versions of Flipboard for their own content – think a class of students or a certain community. Then, add in channels of content supplied by libraries – local info, user-generated digital collections and news. Wow. I’ll wait a bit and keep trying.

Embrace Your Tribe – A Discussion & Interview with Seth Godin

Note from Michael: This article & interview was originally published last year in Digitale Biblioteek.

Seth Godin has been writing and speaking about marketing, the new landscape of the Web paired with emerging social media and the increasing power of consumer “word of mouth.” His books include The Big Red Fez: How to make Any Web Site Better, Permission Marketing, The Purple Cow, Small is the New Big, The Dip and most recently Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

I’ve been drawn to his ideas and insights for a long time, while working in public libraries to teaching library school. Librarians, library school students, information architects and anyone working to create online community around digital collections and digital library service will find useful strategies and paradigm shifting insights into what works and what doesn’t in a connected society.

Ideas have to Remarkable

In The Purple Cow, Godin argues that ideas have to be memorable and engaging to grow. Businesses have to stand out from the rest. This thinking is easily applied to libraries and the services they offer: what makes a library unique? What does the library have that no one else does?

One answer might be the strength of digital collections and the brains behind them. Localized or otherwise unique digital collections where the curious might explore and leave comments/interact certainly could make a library stand apart. Library staff professionals are also a unique feature of libraries – knowledge, insight and curiosity are traits of some of the best library workers. Sharing oneself online – via Facebook profiles, answering questions on Twitter, or the like is one way to promote and give presence to our jobs and profession.

What else is unique and remarkable about your library?

Be Authentic

In Godin’s work, I also find sage advice for how we present ourselves as information professionals in the networked world. In a time when snark is so easy, Godin urges readers throughout his works and blogging to be authentic – stressing quality over quantity. “There’s no limit now. No limit to how many clicks, readers, followers and friends you can acquire,” he wrote recently at his blog. “Instead of getting better, you focus obsessively on getting bigger.”

We’re representing our profession – and ourselves in everything we do: participating in social networks, building library presence online and in the physical world at events and meetings. Godin notes what happens to some in the quest to have more: “You’re at a conference, talking to someone who matters to you. Over their shoulder, you see a new, bigger, better networking possibility. So you scamper away. It’s about getting bigger.”

Instead, build a trusted network of colleagues and contacts in the digital library world. Share. Cite them when they inspire you. Pay it forward. The wonderful thing is now, these people can reside all over the world. It’s not unusual to have support from The Netherlands, Australia, the United Sates or England with the click clack of a few keys. Be real in these dealings. Be honest. Be yourself.

Leverage the Online World for Promotion

The online tools offer much opportunity and promise. In Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Godin notes that “Internet companies have taken the original idea behind blogs and amplified it into a set of tools that anyone can use to tighten a tribe.” Facebook, Twitter and others allow interaction and information sharing – with replies built in.

“The biggest shift is going to be that organizations that could never have afforded a national campaign will suddenly have one,” Godin writes in a recent blog post. “The same way that there’s very little correlation between popular websites and big companies, we’ll see that the most popular commercials get done by little shops that have nothing to lose.”

The same could be said about libraries – all shapes, sizes and types. We can take promotion online – make it viral. Recent online initiatives such as the New Jersey State Library’s campaign to share users’ video stories about the transformational qualities of libraries are ways to create low-cost, human, authentic marketing campaigns.

Gather Your Tribe

The most recent book takes a big picture view of the possibilities of social media and gathering people together. Godin argues that businesses fail because “they forgot to embrace their tribe”  and offers a roadmap for creating a tribe, which he defines as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”

All it takes for a tribe to form, Godin writes, “is a shared interest and a way to communicate.” Social Web sites break down geographic  barriers. A tribe can be global or simply based in your community. Godin warns, however, that some organizations are stuck: bound by archaic rules or not only avoiding change but fighting against it.

Fear is also a driving factor: what will boss say? Will everyone get in trouble?

In this Facebooked, Twiiter-ized, RSS-fed world, Godin notes, individuals have more leverage than ever before to create change and build inter-connected groups of supporters around a common idea or cause. Godin offers principles and steps to create a movement – publish a manifesto, make it easy for followers to connect, track progress based on transparency, nurture the group along the way and be mindful not to tear others down in the process.

The promise of gathering your tribe – for your library, your community, your online collection presence? Godin notes that everyone in an organization can lead. The market rewards those organizations that change things.

Godin says: “People are waiting for you to connect them.”  How will you lead?


The Interview


Michael Stephens: I read Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us with great interest and with a focus on libraries, the people they serve, and what librarians might learn about shaping future services to involve users online and in physical spaces. What would you want library people to take away from Tribes?

Seth Godin: Libraries are no longer places for obscure books. The web is that. Libraries are places to organize the community.

MS: Your recent works have addressed marketing, message, and media.  You also write about true fans and the “depth of commitment and interconnection that true fans deliver.” As libraries go forward with broadening the library brand – “Books” to most folks – how should we be crafting the message about libraries? How can we reach our true fans?

SG: Your true fans, I think, are the curious. The library is the house for the curious. And I want to meet other curious people.

MS: You write about curiosity. I’ve used your quote in my talks for some time: “To be curious means to explore first.” What’s to be gained from exploring? Have you known librarians to be explorers?

SG: A few, but not many. Not that librarians aren’t good at seeking things out… they are. They’re great at it. I am talking about finding things you weren’t look for in the first place. What a skill that is. Teaching it to kids is essential.

MS: You write that “the timid leave a vacuum” in Tribes. I worry that our profession has been too timid for too long. How can we overcome timidity and be more visible?

SG: Once you become a leader, you will cease to be invisible, I promise.

MS: I asked my followers on Twitter if they had any questions for you as well. One person asked: What’s the best way to market change to those who are resistant to it or too comfortable in what they do?

SG: By leading. By doing. Start making waves and watch what happens!

Article Sidebar: Michael’s Ten Ways to Encourage the Tribe

  • Connect around a cause, a community or a concept.
  • Use Stories
  • Be Transparent
  • Leverage the Social Tools
  • Remember the Mission
  • The Little Things count…a lot
  • Listen & Talk (like a human)
  • Create a Culture of Caring
  • Trust them
  • Value EVERY Member

See the full post at http://tametheweb.com/2009/05/17/ten-ways-to-encourage-the-tribe/

Citations:

Infinity, They Keep Making More of It: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/04/infinitythey-keep-making-more-of-it.html

Making Commercials for the Web: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/04/making-commercials-for-the-web.html

New Jersey Transforming Lives Site: www.tellusyourstory.org.

Links:

Set’s Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com

Seth Godin’s Books: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/books.asp

Seth Godin at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_Godin

Photo of Seth Godin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/4035933108/ (Creative Commons)

Music Like Water: A TTW Guest Post by Katy Hite

It is not hard to see that technology has been changing the way we access music.  In The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution, David Kusek and Gerd Leonard propose a world where music is delivered wirelessly, based on music preferences, for a fee (similar to paying for electricity, gas, or cable television).  With the growing popularity of the iPod, the prevalence of WiFi, and peer to peer MP3 file sharing of music, access to digital and internet technologies is necessary to stay current with popular music culture.  For those communities and individuals with limited to no access to computers, a significant divide is likely; libraries need to explore digital trends in music and allow access to these services in order to curb the digital music divide.

Libraries have historically offered the chance for self-education and attempt to preserve the whole of the human record while also acting as community center, gathering place, education center, and ‘hangout.’  As digital information has become more prevalent and online presence is part of everyday social interaction and communication, libraries are providing patrons with access to Internet and computer technologies to stay “in the loop.”  By providing computers, connectivity, and user instruction, libraries are (almost by default) charged with bridging the digital divide.  Unfortunately, there is a lack of literacy and provision when it comes to digital music because copyright and digital rights management (DRM) restrictions on music recordings have made library services in digital music difficult.

We seem to be moving in the right direction, as illustrated at the 2010 Public Library Association Conference:  some public libraries are exploring DRM-Free downloadable music using the “Freegal” music service, which offers library patrons access to hundreds of thousands of songs in the Sony library.  It is a good sign that Sony is willing to work with libraries to begin providing accessible, downloadable music, and that libraries are in turn consistently looking to improve services.  By promoting Web 2.0 technologies in the library, offering extended music downloading and streaming capabilities and teaching literacies in these areas, libraries will help patrons stay connected when music is truly “like water.”

Note from Michael: Katy wrote a wonderful paper on the book for LIS768. This post is an edited down version. It amazes how the future model Kusek and Leonard presented in their book has become so real.

Michael Edson, the Smithsonian Commons, & Web Tech Guy & Angry Staff Person

One of the many delights of U Game U Learn 10 was meeting Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian Institution.

His brilliant talk on the the Smithsonian Commons project really got me thinking about museums, content and participation. In fact, in Berlin one of the most notable conversations I had about social engagement was with a museum employee struggling with creating a memorable experience for museum visitors. That synchronicity is notable. Museums are facing many of the same challenges that confront libraries.

Michael’s work speaks to this and outlines a bright future for interacting with collections. Take a look at his slides and watch for more information about the project soon:

Also, do not miss this animation he made for the 2009 Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Webwise conference. His blog post about it is here:

http://usingdata.typepad.com/usingdata/2009/03/web.html

A full screen version is here:

http://usingdata.typepad.com/files/IMLS%20Webwise%202009_edson_v02.swf

Have you ever encountered similar sentiments at your institution?

Red Box Rights & Wrongs from Brian Herzog

http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/2010/02/23/redbox-rights-and-wrongs

Brian Herzog writes:

I had heard of libraries using both Redbox and Netflix, but never really gave it too much though. So I was kind of surprised at my response to my director:

Maybe this is just a reaction based on the kind of day this has been, but I have mostly negative feelings about this. Based on http://tametheweb.com/2009/07/01/red-box-rentals-at-princeton-public-library/ is seems any money we get is minimal, and I’m always reluctant to give
businesses a green light to target library patrons.

If we did put one of these in, I sincerely hope it wouldn’t mean we’d be buying fewer DVDs and rely on this as a crutch, because just like Rosetta Stone, they can pull out at any time and we’d be left
scrambling to fill the holes in our collection.

Its biggest benefit would be providing patrons access to DVDs 24 hours a day, but it also means patrons have a reason to be at the front door 24 hours a day, doing who knows what – the police department might not like that idea. Then there’s also the patrons who return the RedBox
DVDs in our dropbox, those who put ours into the RedBox, patrons demanding refunds and tech support from the circ desk, blah blah blah.

More reading on this:

I know Conway makes money off our printers and the FaxVend people do too, but RedBox feels way more commercial – like letting a dealership put used cars in our parking lot to make it easier for patrons to shop for cars. Or letting a bookstore set up a table of bestsellers in the lobby and sell books so patrons don’t have to wait on a long reserve list.

I don’t know exactly why I don’t like it, but right now I’m leaning against it – but again, it might just my mood. Blah.

So my question is this: why I am wrong?

I don’t feel like I’m right, because I can see positive aspects to a Redbox being in front of the library (especially for libraries that already charge $1/DVD), and it’s usual for me to be this negative. I don’t think that every new idea or technology has a place in every library, but still, my answer on this surprised me.

So I thought I’d ask the wider library world for your opinions on Redboxes and libraries. Lots of good comments were posted on Tame the Web when Michael talked about this last year, but I’m still not entirely convinced. What do you think?

I’d be very interested in what comments Brian gets as well as hearing from the good folks at PPL – how is it going?

Leslie berger’s comment last year was great:

The decision to go with the RedBox pilot was not driven by the promise of revenue, although any additional revenue these days is a good thing! Offering multiple copies of popular DVDs in an outdoor location, at a low cost (PPL charges for our DVD rentals@ $1/night) means that our customers will have a convenient source of entertainment 24/7. Add to that the ability to re-purpose scarce collection funds to enhance the collection, reduce labor costs in purchasing, processing and handling DVDs, less theft on popular titles and the convenience of returning a movie to any RedBox location and it looks like this could be a winner for everyone. We’re in a six month trial so only time will tell. We’ll keep you posted.

Perpetual Beta

Don’t miss this new blog from American Libraries & Jason Griffey:

http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/perpetualbeta (Hey – is there a feed for this blog available? Am I missing it?)

Jason writes:

This space will be a place where you will be able to find the very edge of new technologies, as well as tips and tricks about how you can do interesting things with existing technologies. I’m going to try and introduce technologies that libraries and librarians should be paying attention to, and at the same time give you tips and tricks to make better use of the technologies that you may already be playing with.

A few examples of the sorts of things that I’ll be covering in this space: How to get any piece of text you want onto your eReader, How to automate delivery of information to your staff and patrons, setting up your own Media Server for your library, and much, much more.

In addition to these sorts of “Lifehacker for Libraries” posts, I’ll also be posting interesting things that I find around the Library and Technology infosphere, and I’ll be producing some video podcasts as well. Expect the first of these very soon, as I am even as I type this on my way to the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show. I’ll be reporting over the next several weeks about my discoveries there, and will include audio and video interviews, demos, and anything else I can think of that might be interesting.

Of course, this brief post sent me over the moon:

Spoke with an unnamed source last night that gave me the following: Tablet is based around a 9.67 inch LCD, not an OLED. Definitely launching early in year, possibly even immediately after January 27th announcement.

Exciting for libraries: deals coming with LOTS of content providers, print content mainly magazines, not newspapers. Start thinking about a “magazine” with embedded video, inline social features, and more.

This will be very interesting to see how a media-rich tablet-embedded magazine will find a place in library service. Remember this?: http://tametheweb.com/2009/12/08/view-it-any-way-youd-like/

LIS768 Group Projects Day 1

It’s that time again! The semester in LIS768 always ends with group projects. The students self-select their topics and groups and design a presentation or prototype.

Exploring Second Life

Two students who had never visited Second Life explored and created a presentation on their findings.

2ndlife768

http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=0ATscYyaHH3riZGM0NGhrM2tfMjBnczJrZDNmMw&hl=en

Privacy and the Internet

This group presented an overview of privacy issues and social networking.

First, an Animoto on privacy:

Library & Business 2.0

This group examined ways that business are using 2.0 tools and thinking and applied them to libraries.

libbiz

Group blog is here: http://classes.tametheweb.com/libbiz

Media and Information Literacy/Education

Created as a presentation for school librarians, this presentation explores the importance of media literacy:

Quoted by this group: “The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn.” – Alvin Toffler

http://caudill-riffic.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html

They made this Animoto for the Caudill Nominees

View it any way you’d like…

Via all sorts of wonderful bloggers comes this video prototyping the future of Sports Illustrated. Karl Fisch had this to say:

More evidence that the way we interact with “text” is changing. To combine and paraphrase something I’ve heard David Warlick say more than once with something Jason Ohler says:

We need to stop paper training our students. We should spend less time training our students how to use paper, and more time helping them use digital tools to interact in meaningful and productive ways with the media forms of the day.

Also reminds me of this post:

Note that this is additive – no one is suggesting that words don’t matter, that what we traditionally think of as “writing” is no longer important, but that the very nature of composition is more complex now, and that our instruction, our pedagogy, our learning spaces need to reflect that.

. . . Writing (composing) is no longer exclusively a solitary activity. And we need to expand our definition of composition beyond only text and beyond only a specific medium (book, research paper, academic journal).

“Text” is changing. Is your classroom?

I would add: Text is changing. Is your library?

This speaks to me on so many levels. Core curriculum in LIS will shift to more of an emphasis on media creation and consumption as well as classification in a time when the new issue of Time may be delivered wirelessly to the device of the moment. I’m reminded of something my colleague Warren Cheetham said in Australia about new formats and new media: “Staff are wondering: where does the barcode go??”

I have no idea what will happen. Watch the Apple tablet hype machine in the next few months and monitor the endless supply of new stories about the death of old meadia – if the rumours are true, the video above could be closer to fact than to fiction.

However will we catalog and barcode that?