Patrons Use Social Media Tools, Part 2 – The Rotary Club

The Rotary Club of Topeka on Ustream.TVI love finding emerging tools and services in use outside of the library. Why? Some librarians I’ve met aren’t sure if “normal people” use these things… they tend to think that only techie types use them.

Pointing these uses out also helps libraries see 1. what our customers are using, and 2. provide ideas for how WE as libraries can reach out to our communities, using tools and services the community is already using.

So what’s our local Rotary Club doing? They are live streaming their events, using – how cool is that?

FYI – they also have a twitter account.

Libraries – anyone live streaming events using tools like or Let us know!

Why Did I Start Blogging?

Meredith included me in a cool meme – How I got started blogging. I thought I’d answer… and looking back, I just realized it’s my 5 year Blogiversary! I’ve been blogging for 5 whole years… wow!

Onto Meredith’s questions:

1. How did you get into blogging?

It’s Gary Price‘s fault, ultimately. On May 6, 2003, I moderated Gary Price’s session on “Blogging for the Greater Good of Researchers” at the InfoToday 2003 (National Online 2003) conference. Gary used Blogger to create his presentation. At the time, what Gary was doing honestly didn’t make much sense to me. I remember thinking “why would I use Blogger when my web developer just built a CMS from scratch?” But I thought I should try out the new interesting tool to see what it could do for me and my library.

Sometime after that presentation, I started reading a couple of blogs, and started using some social tools like Bloglines and IM.

I also started fooling around with Blogger. I wasn’t about to start a personal blog – I’m just not that interesting! However, I realized that I wasn’t seeing much in the way of library website-focused blogs, and thought I might be able to pull that topic off… so I started tentatively posting stuff. My first “real” post was on September 12, 2003 (I think I deleted some older “just testing this stupid blog thing out” posts).

By October 2004, I had fallen into my “what’s in David’s head” groove, writing about stuff that was… well… floating around in my head. Ideas I decided to develop “out loud,” so to speak – in front of you – in a blog format.

And by February 2005, I had started videoblogging, too. Again, primarily because I needed a way to test new ideas, and couldn’t test them off my library’s website.

2. How did you gain an audience?

Hmm… Ultimately, I think my audience grew because of three things:

  • good content (y’all read it, anyway :-)
  • networking – At Computers in Libraries 2004, I met Jenny Levine, Steven Cohen, and Michael Stephens. This was my first “try not to be a complete wallflower” conference – and I eventually worked up the courage to comment on their blogs, and share my blog with them in the process.
  • marketing – I’m no marketer, but I’m no dummy either. At every speaking and writing gig, I started mentioning my blog. I can vividly remember when Bloglines told me there were a whopping 30 people subscribed to my blog :-)

3. What advice would you give to new bloggers who want to make a name for themselves in the biblioblogosphere?

First off, don’t try to “make a name for yourselves.” That’s the wrong approach (I’ll delete your email and ignore your blog, anyway). Instead, do this:

  • Start a blog, and write good content. Figure out what other “popular” bloggers are writing about, and write about the same thing. Add your own spin to it.
  • Or, write about innovative or new things your library is doing.
  • make sure to link to other blogger’s posts when writing your own post (making sure the link is actually relevant, of course) … cause we’ll notice. Most of us have vanity feeds set up to monitor what others say about us.
  • start commenting on blog posts (and leave your blog URL in the comments). That gets you noticed in two ways: 1. if you comment on my blog, I’ll notice (well, duh David) and 2. people interested in the topic will notice – they’ll comment, they’ll see your comment, and they’ll very likely check your blog post out, as well.
  • Speaking or writing anywhere? Make sure to mention your blog.
  • And then keep it up. Again – I’ve been doing it for 5 years. Building up an audience takes time.

that’s it. That’s my secret sauce… and now… who to pick next? How about Jessamyn, Jenny, Steven, and Michael?

Tech Tuesdays Webinars at the Education Institute

Check out the fall lineup of online courses and Tech Tuesday webinars for the Education Institute:

Online Courses:

Technology Tuesday Series:


Continental Airlines Wants More Money

Gotta love airlines. Take Continental, for example. They’ve decided (along with a few others) to start charging people for checked luggage. Here’s what they say: “Continental has implemented a $15 fee for a customer’s first checked bag when traveling on Economy fare tickets…”

And then, this: “The service fee will not apply to EliteAccess customers, including those seated in First or BusinessFirst, OnePass Elite and SkyTeam Elite members, customers traveling on full-fare economy (Y) class tickets, or active military personnel traveling on official orders.”

Translation – rich people and businesses, we won’t stiff you the $15 bucks (even though you can afford it). We’re only going to stiff THE MAJORITY OF OUR CUSTOMERS.”

But remember… they really do think we’re important – they say so: “Our OnePass® members are important to us” (from the email they sent me).

Really? Then I’d think they would tell me WHY they decided to charge more. They DO have a FAQ – but it didn’t address the first two questions that popped into my head (why did they decide to charge for luggage? and Why not EliteAccess and First Class customers? Why make the Econo types pay?”).

If you don’t like paying more for luggage, check out airfarewatchdog’s checked bag fees chart.

Presentation Tips

My intro notesBrenda Hough asked me to come up with some presentation tips for online and “normal” presentations… and I decided to post them! So…

When I’m planning out a presentation, here’s what I generally do:

  • Use a mind mapping program to outline the presentation. I use MindJet’s MindManager Pro, but any will do. I like the more “visual” way mind maps work – I can randomly come up with ideas around a topic, then easily arrange those ideas into points and sections as needed.
  • Turn the mind map into slides. Most of what I have on the mind map ends up being dumped into the presenter notes of Keynote.
  • Customize the slides. I’ll find a slide template I like, then hack away at it – usually, the default bullet points/text/ sizes/etc don’t match what’s in my head, so I pretty much make each slide from scratch, moving text around, adding images, etc until I like what I see.
  • Make sure I have strong intros, transitions, and an ending.
  • By this point, the topic is stuck in my head, so I don’t rehearse much at all. Usually the night before my presentation, I’ll run through it once – and customize if I need to (ie., “dang! It’s WAY TOO LONG – I’d better cut stuff”).

Other tips:

For any presentation:

  • Don’t read your outline – your audience can do that! Instead, talk around the outline
  • tell stories to make a point
  • use graphics that enhance that story or point
  • if you can, use the presenter notes part of Powerpoint or Keynote. This helps you still “feel” like you’re reading from a script (if you need the safety net or have specific points to remember), while at the same time not having that “I’m reading my outline to you” sound.
  • Transitions are important! So – make sure to have a strong intro, a strong finish, and make transitions between segments obvious.
  • If you can be humorous, do it. If you aren’t that humorous, DON’T TRY.
  • Nerves – everyone gets nervous before a presentation. Remember – attendees did not come to critique you or laugh at your choice of clothes. They are attending your session because they thought the topic sounded interesting, and want (or hope) to learn something.
  • Spell check! Remember – we’re speaking to librarians. They will notice. I know… I once left out the “L” in “Public.” I was told. <how embarrasing>
  • Make sure your talk covers whatever was listed in the presentation description.
  • speak clearly. Slow down.

For online, “webinar” presentations:

  • All the stuff above still applies
  • test out all the technology the day before! You need to make sure that you can actually deliver the presentation.
  • If using a microphone instead of the telephone to deliver audio, if you can, invest in a better-quality USB mic. You will sound better.
  • Pace yourself! When you’re presenting by yourself, in an empty room, it can feel weird – like you’re practicing instead of actually presenting.
  • Turn your phone, email alerts, twitter alerts, etc off if they make noise – your microphone will hear it!
  • Shut your door, if you have one. If not, use a meeting room with a door if possible.
  • Pretend that you’re speaking to someone who is captivated by your presentation. You most likely really are… but you can’t see them, so it helps to visualize the person.
  • if you can use interactive components, like a polling system, a raising hands system, or even a Q&A at the end, do it.

For training sessions:

  • make sure attendees know they can ask questions. I usually pause between each major section and ask “any questions?” Then pause. For what seems like a long time.
  • let people interrupt you – and tell them it’s ok to do it. They’re attending to learn – not to hear you speak.
  • at the same time, if you have a “needy” trainee who just isn’t getting it, you might have to tell that person to hold off on more questions, so you can finish a section on time – then get with him/her on break or after the session to go more in-depth.

Anyone else have thoughts? Add ’em in the comments!