What’s a Content Curator?

good bookRohit Bhargava, blogger at the Influential Marketing Blog and author of Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity And How Great Brands Get it Back, just posted Manifesto For The Content Curator: The Next Big Social Media Job Of The Future? You should go read it.

Rohit explains that a “Content Curator is someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online.” OK – you and I both know these exist already, right? That’s what librarians do … especially special librarians in corporations (well, those that have them, anyway). But do they really?

Read Rohit’s job description for this person – it’s a bit different than your ordinary librarian job:

In the near future, experts predict that content on the web will double every 72 hours. The detached analysis of an algorithm will no longer be enough to find what we are looking for. To satisfy the people’s hunger for great content on any topic imaginable, there will need to be a new category of individual working online. Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward. The people who choose to take on this role will be known as Content Curators. The future of the social web will be driven by these Content Curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online for others to consume and take on the role of citizen editors, publishing highly valuable compilations of content created by others. In time, these curators will bring more utility and order to the social web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers – creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.

What do you think? Are librarians doing this now? Yes, we are for print stuff – we have that down pretty well. But how about for online & social media content? I don’t think so. I don’t think ANYONE has this nailed yet!

Thoughts? Share on my blog or on Rohit’s way-cool blog.

Rethinking the 3rd Place

I had a conversation with my supervisor (Rob Banks, Deputy Director of Operations at the library) a couple days ago, and thought it was worth sharing with y’all.

We were talking about our impending website redesign (yes, we’re at it again). I had sent him a rough draft of my redesign plan, and we were talking through it. He had been reading my book on digital experiences, and that had fired off some really cool thoughts about the concept of 3rd place for him… here’s what he said that made us start thinking:

“It’s not 3rd place – it’s The Place:”

  • Typically, Rob has maybe 6 windows open on his computer while at work – email,   a couple of work documents he’s working on, TweetDeck (ok – does YOUR deputy director have TweetDeck open constantly? Just sayin), and a couple of websites – usually including Facebook.
  • He’s doing several things at the same time … but Facebook is always on, and he’s always connected to his Facebook friends.
  • When he’s not at work, Rob has a Blackberry with a Facebook app – so Facebook is always on there, too. He can connect to Facebook whenever he wants to, no matter where he is.
  • Rob can still be in his physical “3rd place” and (important point) STILL BE CONNECTED to Facebook and his friends.
  • And that’s the idea that needs to be translated over to our library’s digital branch.

Our library websites/digital branches will probably never be a real 3rd place to people – and that’s ok. Instead of working towards that, let’s work harder to make this now-old phrase, “be where the patrons are,” a bit more seamless.

good bookRob can be in his 3rd place – but he is also constantly connected to friends/colleagues/family in Facebook at the same time. Facebook, in a way, has transcended the 3rd place to be “The Place.” It’s always on, always available to him, when he wants to be there.

Our library websites/digital branches can be like this, too! So… still developing, but this is definitely going in the redesign plan.

Thoughts? How are you “always there, always on” when patrons want to reach you?

Photo by javaturtle

Organizing a Podcamp

This past Saturday, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library co-hosted (with WIBW Studios) our first Podcamp  – Podcamp Topeka. Don’t know what a podcamp is? It’s an unconference dedicated to web 2.0 tools and social media (read more about them here). It was a blast! You can some of my notes from the day here, watch my video about it above, and you can read Brandon Sheley’s notes here (he attended and lead a session or two), and even watch a quick video from channel 49 news.

So – how did I organize this thing?

OK – first things first. It’s a podcamp – there’s really not much conference planning to do. The details revolve around meeting rooms, food, and potential schwag – not the actual conference schedule. The important planning revolves around how many people you hope to attract – you have to have enough space to accomodate them. Also how long each session should be – and be able to accomodate that. Then, it runs itself (more on that in a minute).

Use your contacts for help. I poked around a bit on the interwebs, and found out Ryan Deschamps, cool librarian and blogger at The Other Librarian,  had organized some very successful podcamps. So I asked him for tips, and he emailed me some great advice on how to run a podcamp.

Sponsorships – the library provided meeting rooms and our other sponsor, WIBW, paid for food and t-shirts. How’d that happen? In this case, I know Jim Ogle, the general manager of WIBW, and also know he’s excited as I am about social media and 2.0 stuff. So I asked him if he wanted to help plan the podcamp, and he did … and he ended up being a sponsor, too. For future events, I’m told that some local organizations might potentially be interested in sponsoring the event.

Ask for Specifics. Know how much money you need up-front, then ask specifically for your needs! Much better to have a plan for what you need (and what they’ll get out of a sponsorship) than to vaguely ask for “a sponsorship” hoping someone will provide what you need.

Registration: it was a free event, but I asked everyone to register, since a head-count was involved for t-shirts and food. Eventbrite worked GREAT for this! Free and easy to use – we had over 100 registrations. I was able to email a reminder to all attendees 3-4 days before the event through Eventbrite’s admin side. They actually sent me a couple of pre-event emails making suggestions on how to run an event (ie., do you have nametags?), too.

What actually happened?

People goal: our goal was up to 150. We had over 100 people register, and approx 50-75 people actually attend. Not bad for a first time.

Interestingly, we had an odd but fun mix of people. We had a variety of skill levels from experienced user of 2.0 tools to extreme novices and an age spread from probably age 20 -85 (someone actually came up afterwards and told me how old she and her friend were). So we improvised a “Basics of Social media” session that turned into one of our larger sessions.

Food and t-shirts: I went ahead and ordered t-shirts and food for 150, not knowing how many would really show up. So we had … a LOT of food. And I have a box of Podcamp Topeka T-Shirts in my office…

Schedule: You can see it here – we ended up with quite a few great topics and sessions!

Planning details: PBWorks (used to be PBWiki) worked great. Here’s our Podcamp Topeka Wiki.

Advertising: This is interesting. We advertised in our library newsletter, in 2.0 tools (twitter, facebook), on our website, at a social media group’s Ning site, and were lucky enough to get a TV spot or two (since WIBW was a co-sponsor). We asked attendees to fill out a “how you heard about this” flyer – only 22 people filled it out. But look at their responses to where they heard about our podcamp:

TV – 4
friends – 2
twitter – 2
facebook – 2
our website – 2
didn’t say – 2
social media KC Ning group – 2
online – 2
invite – 2
Google – 1
tscpl email – 1 (guessing it was our enewsletter)

That’s a pretty large spread of responses!

And finally, Feedback. What did attendees think of the day? Honestly, most of the feedback I received was some form of this – “What a GREAT day! When’s the next one?”

So – we’ll have to start planning the next Podcamp Topeka, I guess!

Notes from Podcamp Topeka

Yesterday, I spent most of my day at Podcamp Topeka – the first event I have ever organized. Judging by the comments, tweets, etc … it was a success!

If you want to read reactions from people who attended, search for #podcamptopeka on Twitter (ok – or just click this link).

I’ll post something next week about planning this type of event and what we could have done better. But for now, here’s a run-down of the sessions I attended – sorta sparse notes, but it’ll give you an idea of the day:

Session 1: Balancing Personal/Business Use of Twitter

  • you have ability to destroy yourself online
  • One guy doesn’t cuss in Twitter because it turns some people off
  • TV News guy – doesn’t say some stuff that he wants to
  • talking back & forth – sharing yourself is important
  • remembers he represents a company – always has that in the back of his mind
  • News guy again – because of sharing themselves on Twitter, they get news tips from people
  • Helps get stories written because he’s connected to twitter – because of the relationships they’ve developed
  • TV News guy again – they are talking to other local TV stations! Very different than five years ago
  • discussion about community/following people locally vs anyone for business

Session 2 – Comment Boxes and Community

  • I shared about the library
  • anonymous or profile?
  • Local newspaper tends to have crazies – not much registration/monitoring there
  • getting people to register – are there any non-bribery ways to get people to register? One idea – Business gave away free stuff to get sign-ups
  • other ways to share? Comment box, polls, ratings, etc  – without just sharing in a text box
  • viral marketing campaign (I think she was from a radio station) – had some hateful comments – ended up having to block someone’s IP address
  • how to get more comments? Ask questions, ask what do you think
  • separate actual story from comments
  • part of your job should be commenting on other people’s sites
  • personal responses are great – gave example of that
  • personal is the new hand-written note
  • marketing is conversation now
  • deleting one comment vs turning off whole thread – which works best? We generally agreed that turning off the whole thread (like Flickr sometimes does) seems like punishing others for one person’s mistakes
  • twitter is instant gratification

T-rave talking about blogging #podcamptopekaSession 3: Selling Yourself in 30 Frames per Second

  • T-Rave presented from t-rave.com – He’s very passionate about videoblogging!
  • trying to sell your brand – many times, that means selling yourself
  • when you were a baby trying to get attention and affection, you were selling yourself – so you do this all the time
  • big fan of gary vaynerckuk of winelibrary.tv
  • Word of mouth – that’s how T-Rave sells his product/himself
  • Using video is a great way to bring in viewers to your website/blog
  • t-rave.com attracts people of all ages (from 13-65), all states, international… check your demographics
  • People of all ages, all nationalities like video
  • You can feel connected by being approachable – on twitter, on video
  • be the same online, in video, in real life
  • passion + drive … interest, consistency, responding back to comments

Session 4: Basics of Videoblogging

  • T-Rave again
  • Went over various software to use
  • talked a little about cameras
  • talking about uploading to a service – how long it takes
  • Talked a bit about copyright and free music – likes jamendo.com for a free music service.
  • Uses Viddler quite a bit. They featured T-Rave the second week after he started making videos.
  • mentioning tubemogul.com – great place to upload video to more than one account automatically
  • Has a variety of cameras from the Flip to a large semi-pro camera
  • Very open to having people contact him with questions, suggestions for cameras, etc.
  • He does 5 videos a week – different theme every day. He did this for 6 months.
  • some discussion of posting video to Facebook vs another video service
  • Live Streaming video: upstream.tv, livestream
  • Good questions/discussion

Session #5: Monetizing a Podcast

  • Rob Walch, Podcast 411 and Wizzard Media spoke about podcasting
  • Come to Jesus – most of us will never really make money on this

Ways to make money with podcasts:

1st way to make money:

  • CPM – typical rate is around $10-15 per thousand downloads
  • More niche = higher CPM, but lower download numbers
  • Video gets a little higher CPM rate than audio alone
  • Not generally “quit your day job” money

2nd way to make money:

  • CPA model – or direct response ads
  • Netflicks – they pay $25 for everyone who signs up for an account that comes from the ad
  • Right audience at the right time can =some good money

3rd way – sponsorship model

  • Must disclose when you are being paid to review something – the FTC actually watches out for that stuff

4th way:

  • Premiumcasts (premiumcast.com)- offer a little bit of content for free, pay for the larger, more complete show

5th way – make an iphone app for the show.

  • Probably half your audience will have an iphone or ipod touch.
  • 10% of those will buy your app

Cool – Rob is describing RSS like a magazine subscription – I use that example too!

iTunes podcasts – shows top podcasts that are popular in the last week or so.

How long to make a podcast?

  • average commute time = 25 minutes
  • average treadmill time = 20 minutes
  • Best length for a podcast – go until you’re done
  • leave people wanting more “is that all?” rather than “boy, when is this over?”

Release every day or week – US is trained for that. be in their routine
Best times – early to mid week