≡ Menu
David Lee King

The Actionable Blog



I’m reading Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Wb 2.0 Technologies to Recruit, Organize, and Engage Youth, by Ben Rigby. Page 20 talks about Amnesty International starting a blog, and says this:

“One of Amnesty’s key objectives is to encourage offline action, which the blog achieves. On the day [the author] visited [the website], a recent post in the “Student Activism” area called for students to spend some of their summer vacation sending postcards … Amnesty’s blog both asks for participation and shows results from past involvement, a method of engagement often called “closing the feedback loop.” The loop begins when a supporter takes action and closes when the organization shows the results of that action.”

That quote, along with my continued thinking and working on implementing the GTD method of personal organization and management, made me wonder what an “actionable” blog would look like in our libraries. Yes, I think it’s a spin-off of my earlier idea of inviting participation, so I’m either still stuck in that mode or I’m still developing the idea… you decide.

Back to my actionable blog idea – I think an actionable blog would not simply announce upcoming events or new purchases at the library. It wouldn’t even simply invite readers to come to the event or check out the book.

Instead, the content of an actionable blog post would require an action. It would be active rather than passive. Our public library’s summer reading program is an example of that. We give kids a sheet to work on – they have to read so many books. It’s an actionable thing for them to do (read the books, fill out the sheet). If they do, they get a prize.

Can’t our blog posts be a little more like that, too? How would that look in a library setting? I think we would ask for an action to be done. Just like in email, when you really need soemthing to be done, you might say this in the subject heading of the email – response required…  then you might follow up in a week or so.

I guess one example would be to ask a question. We’re doing that in our posts titled “What’s in Your Top 5?” We name our top 5 movies, music, etc… and then ask our readers what are their top five? That’s actionable, because it’s asking for a response.

Can we do this in the social networking services we’re starting to use? I think so. Try it out, see what happens. Ask for some participation of your customers, and you just might be surprised.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.wibw.com/ Jim Ogle

    This sounds like an interesting book. Except my Kindle won’t connect here in the hotel in Dodge City for me to see if it has a “Kindle” edition.

    Are there any other books or monographs you’ve found engaging about social media/web 2.0?

    Jim

  • http://www.wibw.com Jim Ogle

    This sounds like an interesting book. Except my Kindle won’t connect here in the hotel in Dodge City for me to see if it has a “Kindle” edition.

    Are there any other books or monographs you’ve found engaging about social media/web 2.0?

    Jim

  • davidleeking

    Hi, Jim! I’ve mostly read things more library-related, like a book on blogging for libraries. And of course I’ll plug my non-library-specific book that’s coming out this fall :-)

    Otherwise, go to amazon.com, search for things like “social media” or “social networking” or “web 2.0″ and you’ll have a great list of books to start off with.

  • davidleeking

    Hi, Jim! I’ve mostly read things more library-related, like a book on blogging for libraries. And of course I’ll plug my non-library-specific book that’s coming out this fall :-)

    Otherwise, go to amazon.com, search for things like “social media” or “social networking” or “web 2.0″ and you’ll have a great list of books to start off with.

  • http://blog.mobilevoter.org/ ben rigby

    Hi Jim. Thanks for the references to my book (very flattering). Have been reading through your thread here – and love the idea of asking customers to take action.

    Riffing on that idea… I starting thinking about some recent stories I’ve come across about game mechanics driving data collection (see this post: http://blog.mobilevoter.org/2008/05/using-games-to.html).

    What if you tied the library related action to the gathering of data that was, itself, actionable by the library… and then added a game mechanic (such as competition), so that young people would be more incentivized to participate?

    In one of the examples mentioned in the above post, they’ve created a game where two people try to type the same word to describe a given photo. The two people play a game, but the organizer gets human-powered image recognition… and with lots of people playing the game, they get a valuable database for free!

    So thinking (now very roughly) about libraries, I’m wondering a) what kind of data a library needs… and b) what kind of data library patrons might be able to develop.

    I’m sure you can answer (a) better than I. For (b), I started wondering if there might be an opporunity to build out Semantic Web ontologies and data to support them. Although I’m sure there’s a raging debate about the usefulness of the Semantic Web approach in the librarian community, there may be some interesting/useful connections here. At a library, people are already thinking about how one chunk of information relates to another… there might be some simple way to harvest the value in this thought process to build up a dataset that improves understanding of information on the WWW.

    Rough thoughts… thanks for firing a spark… has been interesting to think through…

  • http://blog.mobilevoter.org ben rigby

    Hi Jim. Thanks for the references to my book (very flattering). Have been reading through your thread here – and love the idea of asking customers to take action.

    Riffing on that idea… I starting thinking about some recent stories I’ve come across about game mechanics driving data collection (see this post: http://blog.mobilevoter.org/2008/05/using-games-to.html).

    What if you tied the library related action to the gathering of data that was, itself, actionable by the library… and then added a game mechanic (such as competition), so that young people would be more incentivized to participate?

    In one of the examples mentioned in the above post, they’ve created a game where two people try to type the same word to describe a given photo. The two people play a game, but the organizer gets human-powered image recognition… and with lots of people playing the game, they get a valuable database for free!

    So thinking (now very roughly) about libraries, I’m wondering a) what kind of data a library needs… and b) what kind of data library patrons might be able to develop.

    I’m sure you can answer (a) better than I. For (b), I started wondering if there might be an opporunity to build out Semantic Web ontologies and data to support them. Although I’m sure there’s a raging debate about the usefulness of the Semantic Web approach in the librarian community, there may be some interesting/useful connections here. At a library, people are already thinking about how one chunk of information relates to another… there might be some simple way to harvest the value in this thought process to build up a dataset that improves understanding of information on the WWW.

    Rough thoughts… thanks for firing a spark… has been interesting to think through…

  • http://blog.mobilevoter.org/ ben rigby

    Ooops! Sorry, I meant to address the comment to “David” … I read “Jim” above and retyped automatically…

  • http://blog.mobilevoter.org ben rigby

    Ooops! Sorry, I meant to address the comment to “David” … I read “Jim” above and retyped automatically…

  • davidleeking

    Wow – great idea, Ben! Good question – we’re collecting data of all types right now, actually. Not sure the data we’re gathering would work in this setting – it’s stuff like where our users live, where growth is in the area, why certain segments of our county don’t use us, where wifi access is, etc – lots coming off of a GIS study we’re doing.

    But mainly, we need to know who our patrons are, where they live, and what they use… and where our non-users are, etc…

    Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!

  • davidleeking

    Wow – great idea, Ben! Good question – we’re collecting data of all types right now, actually. Not sure the data we’re gathering would work in this setting – it’s stuff like where our users live, where growth is in the area, why certain segments of our county don’t use us, where wifi access is, etc – lots coming off of a GIS study we’re doing.

    But mainly, we need to know who our patrons are, where they live, and what they use… and where our non-users are, etc…

    Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!

  • Pingback: Library & Literary Miscellany Links of the Week » Library & Literary Miscellany()