The Edge – Our New Teen Center

Check out my library’s new Teen Center! A little more about it: “The Edge, our new Teen Center, has opened! What can you do at The Edge? Well… lots: meet with friends, play games, read, study, do stuff on the web, watch movies, and listen to music. We also hope to have live performances by garage bands, Guitar Hero competitions and crazy karaoke.”

Read more about it here. Kudos to my library for building something that’s pretty cool.

More on Friending

i just bought a macOne of my last posts, Don’t Friend Me, discussed my thoughts on libraries friending other libraries. A couple of commenters didn’t agree, and said so in my comments – which is cool – in fact, you might want to check out the discussion and chime in yourself, if you haven’t yet.

Instead of answering individual comments with another comment, I thought I’d lump a couple of comments/questions together and make another post out of it. See what you think, and feel free to comment, as always.

But first, you have some required reading. Go read Darren Rowse’s (the problogger guy) post, Defining Twitter Goals: A Tip for Successful Use of Twitter (on his new twitip blog). A quote: “Being successful at something is very hard if you don’t know what you want to achieve. It’s much easier to hit your target… if you know what it is.” He goes on to explain how goals are needed in the use of social networking sites. So… go read it … I’m waiting …

OK then. Here’s where I’m going … I think that many libraries haven’t really figured out goals for their shiny, new social networking sites/tools. When they start collecting friends, they immediately pick the safe route – friending primarily other libraries that are doing the same thing.

And that’s great for learning the new tool. But at some point, it’s a good thing to figure out what you really want out of the SN site, and then start pursuing that. My guess is this: the goal in friending isn’t to gather other libraries – it’s to gather patrons as friends.

Now, on to the comments:

Bobbi said:

“By nature people are joiners”

Have you read Groundswell? It purports that only a percentage of people are joiners. Check out their profile tool – for example, I put myself into it (42 year old US-based male), and here’s what their research shows: only 34% of my age group are joiners. More in the next quote…

“I’m not sure they do look to see who else is friends unless they are looking for people they know…”

Speaking for myself, I always look – I don’t want to friend a spam site, a person more interested in selling me something, etc… And I’ve read danah boyd, who says “… that “public displays of connection” serve as important identity signals that help people navigate the networked social world, in that an extended network may serve to validate identity information presented in profiles.” danah’s research implies that they do, in fact, look.

Kelly:

“If a patron wants to use a library Facebook or MySpace page, they will, if it works for them and fills a need they have”

Agreed – I have no beef with that. I think that’s putting all the responsibility on the patron, though. Libraries can do their part, too – by creating goals for a social networking site, and then working to meet those goals.

Susan:

“Why tell libraries/librarians that they are … friending all wrong?”

Because I have a lot of libraries asking me why they aren’t getting any friends, or complaining that their friends are all from other libraries … they see that, then assume “it must not be working, right?” Those libraries have already noticed that they aren’t connecting with their local communities (that’s what they tell me they want to do), and are wondering what to do about it. So I’m trying to help.

“Fear of change” and “not being perfect” as I recall are factors that we are encouraging librarians not to be.”

Exactly. That’s why I write – to throw out ideas. Hopefully some of them work for some people. No one’s perfect – but we can all improve, right?

“Why not talk about this issue the other way around, perhaps a post about the hierarchy of friending?”

I’m planning on that in a future post…

John:

“Then I began thinking about the great opportunity missed out by not intermingling here”

Right – that’s why we have a library/organizational account, and I have my personal account.

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Libraries do indeed exist to connect with their local communities – we’ve done this way before the web was around! A digital social network like Facebook or Twitter is no different. Our goals should still include connecting with and serving our patrons.

Update: This is part of my slowly-growing series on organization-based friending in social networks. Here’s what I have so far:

SocialMinder – your thoughts?

Three people asked me to try SocialMinder, so I did. SocialMinder “is an online assistant that helps you maintain relationships with your LinkedIn network” (from their website).

Here’s what I saw – I was asked to add in my LinkedIn contacts, and then I was emailed a report telling me which relationships “should be strengthened” – meaning people I haven’t connected with on LinkedIn for the longest.

What’s wrong with that? The six people SocialMinder told me I’d needed to connect with … I have. Five of them I saw last month at a conference, 3-4 of them I see daily on Twitter. One of them I’ve connected with through Facebook.

So for me, SocialMinder is a cool idea, but didn’t work. And I wanted to share that with them, so I clicked on their feedback link… which took me to some Digg-like “vote for the best improvement” thingie.

Moving on… :-)

Don’t Friend Me!

do your library friends look like this?Libraries… stop friending me! What???

I’m noticing that when a library decides to start a flickr account, a twitter feed, or create a Facebook page, they naturally want to start “making friends.” So what do they do? They friend me. Or you. Or they friend other libraries.

This is bad.

Why?

Social networks exist to connect with other people, right? When your organization decides, say, to create a Facebook page … who are you trying to connect with? Me? I don’t live in your neighborhood. Another library on the other side of the world? They’re not going to use your services.

Who are you trying to connect with? If you can’t answer this question, take a breather from the web for a couple of days and figure out your answer. Think about it for a sec – you wouldn’t open a new branch if you didn’t know your target audience, would you? Do you invite people to a book group with no idea of what book to read or who the target audience is? I hope not.

It’s the same with social network sites – you need to establish a target audience, and then work on finding that audience. Once you do that, my guess is this – the friends you want to attract probably don’t include me or a library from the other side of the country!

Another way to look at this is from your customers’ point of view. If I use [fill in your favorite social tool here], and I discover your page, one of the first things I might do is check out who your friends are. If they are mainly other libraries, I might decide it’s a librarian thing, and not for me. I’m gone!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to get ideas from other libraries, and to spy on their social media tools to see what they’re doing. But if you can, try not to accept too many friend requests from other libraries … or your friend page will look more like an ALA reunion rather than a true reflection of your local community.

Update: This is part of my slowly-growing series on organization-based friending in social networks. Here’s what I have so far:

Planning for Success Cookbook from MaintainIT

From Brenda Hough at MaintainIT:

“The MaintainIT Project is happy to announce the latest Cookbook!
“Planning for Success”
http://www.maintainitproject.org/cookbooks/planning-for-success

It’s a free online resource with current ideas and best practices for
planning, building, and managing your library’s computer technology.
Librarians around the country have contributed their knowledge on
topics ranging from security solutions and strategic maintenance
practices to community building experiences involving Web 2.0 tools
and vital partnerships. And the Cookbook is FREE.

Cookbook topics include:
–       Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
–       Evaluations and Metrics
–       Talking with non-techies
–       Standardizing your IT infrastructure
–       Leasing computers
–       Disk-cloning in libraries
–       Remote desktop software
–       Hiring the right techs
–       Selecting and configuring a firewall
–       Gaming in Libraries
–       What to Consider When Evaluating and Implementing Web 2.0 Tools in
Your Library
–       And more!!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to all three Cookbooks. These
resources reflect the impressive work you all do, and we’re so happy
to share them with everyone.

Don’t forget to check out the FREE webinars MaintainIT offers, too:
http://www.maintainitproject.org/events)”

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Go check it out – there’s lots of good stuff here!