iPad – a Game Changer?

I don’t attempt to predict stuff very often, but I think this one’s safe – I think Apple’s new iPad is most definitely a game changer.

Why? Because it combines so many things into one handy, easy-to-use device. Just watching the video about the iPad and poking around on the website a bit, you find out all that the iPad will supposedly do, including:

  • web browsing
  • email
  • photo viewing
  • watch videos (even YouTube videos)
  • listen to music (it has iTunes built in)
  • buy and read ebooks
  • a cool map
  • note taking
  • a calendar
  • Contacts list
  • iWork (Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office) is rebuilt for the iPad, so you have word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software
  • The App Store works here, too, which opens up 140,000 apps that all do different things

And of course, it’s multi-touch. So instead of having to use a mouse or keyboard shortcuts to operate the thing … you just touch the screen. I’m just amazed that Apple seemingly rolled up a Microsoft Surface, a tablet PC, a video player, a netbook, an iPod, and an ebook reader, and came out with something light, cool, and truly unique. Except maybe the name – sorry Apple, but the iPad is a silly name.

Apple could turn this thing into a student’s best friend. Instead of carrying a heavy backpack around, students could use the iPad to carry all their textbooks (assuming Apple partners with textbook companies), any multimedia they need to watch, their word processor to write papers (or they could just use Google Docs via a wifi connection), multiple ways to take notes, communicate to classmates and teachers via email/IM/Facebook/Skype/etc. And still have their favorite photos, their grand music collection, and a couple of fun games with them, too.

How about for libraries? Think Reference Desk and roving reference here. It’s the same price as a netbook laptop. But probably easier to carry around, easier to show stuff to people, easier to make the text larger for people who need larger text (you just touch and stretch the screen with your fingers to make the text larger – just like an iPhone). And has a 178 degree viewing angle, so it would work well to show stuff to patrons.

Game changer? I think so … or maybe I’m just gushing at the cool new toy. What do you think?

Foursquare and Libraries – Anything There?

Library entry in foursquareFoursquare is a location-based game. From Foursquare’s website: “We’re all about helping you find new ways to explore the city. We’ll help you meet up with your friends and let you earn points and unlock badges for discovering new places, doing new things and meeting new people.”

Basically, Foursquare works like last.fm or librarything, but instead of sharing music you’ve listened to or books you’ve read, you’re sharing places you’re visiting, and aggregating that list out to your friends.

To play, install an app on your phone, via an iPhone or Android app (a Blackberry one is in the works). You can also use the mobile version of their website for other phones that have web access. Then go visit places … like a coffee shop, a restaurant … basically wherever it is that you go. Once there, “check in” with the app. Checking in gives you points and badges. If you visit a place more than anyone else, you become the “mayor” of that place (until your title is swiped by someone else).

Friend people, and see your points tallied with everyone on your friends list. In the process, you can also create to-do lists and tips at each place you visit, and suggest things for your friends to try or do. Every time you do something, it can be shared with your Twitter and Facebook friends.

wifi tag in foursquareSo … how does this relate to libraries again?

Well… here are some ideas for your library or organization on Foursquare:

  1. Add your library as a place, or edit the entry if someone else has already added it. You can enter your street address (Google map is included, phone number, and your library’s Twitter name.
  2. Add tags relevant to the library. For example, I have added the tags library, books, music, movies, and wifi to my library’s Foursquare entry. If you are in the area (Foursquare is a location-based service, so it knows where you are) and search for wifi – guess who’s at the top of the list? Yep – the library.
  3. Add Tips and To Do lists. When you check in to a place, you have the option to add tips of things you can do there, and you can create To-Do lists of things you want to do there. For libraries, both are helpful – it’s a way to broadcast your services to Foursquare players. To Do lists are handy, because you can make the list and other players can add those To Do list items to their lists, too. When they do something on those lists, they gain points. Think of it as a fun way to get people doing stuff at your library! Just think – someone could gain points by getting a library card – how cool is that?
  4. Add your big events. Then, you can have an event check-in with prizes for the first person who checks in, etc.
  5. Shout outs. These are a type of status update, and can be sent to Twitter and Facebook. So do stuff, then shout out that you’ve done them.

Ok – so Foursquare is definitely fadish right now, and is mainly played by Twitter and Facebook users. But it’s also a great way to connect with a very active, involved online mobile community – and pretty much every city and town has that these days.

Here are a couple of other articles on Foursquare:

We’ll see how it goes – if you’re curious, feel free to follow me on Foursquare!

Update – check out my follow-up post, Foursquare and Libraries – Definitely Something There!

UGame – ULearn 2010 Symposium

I’m pretty psyched to be speaking at a number of cool places this year (if you’re really curious about my 2010 schedule, look at my presentations page – I try to keep that up-to-date with upcoming speaking gigs).

One conference I’m pretty psyched to be attending and speaking at is this year’s UGame – ULearn symposium. It will be held on April 1 in Delft, Netherlands.

OK – I admit. I’m geeked out about this one for a number of reasons here:

  1. It’s in the Netherlands! What’s not to like about that?
  2. I get to visit the DOK Library Concept Center, one of the coolest libraries ever
  3. I get to visit with some of my Dutch friends and colleagues who I usually only see online and at a couple of conferences
  4. Because this year’s UGame – ULearn symposium is all about the user experience.

Here’s more about the conference (from Jaap van de Geer):

“This year … UGame Ulearn … is all about the User Experience. Next to the use of gaming in educational programs and in libraries the theme of UGame Ulearn is always Innovation & Inspiration, with the focus on new services and products.

User Experience or UX has to do with the way customers or clients see your company, website and service. Is the experience satisfactory then they will come back, if not you may never see them again. The User Experience starts at home. Internet and the website play an important role, but also mouth to mouth and communication through communities such as Facebook and Twitter. How we can provide the best experience and which products can help us is the essence of UGame Ulearn 2010.

1st April the Auditorium of the TU Delft opens to welcome 700 librarians and educators. International speakers such as Michael Stephens, David Lee King and Gary Vaynerchuk will bring the visitors up to date under excellent supervision of our own world famous pod/vodcasting priest Father Roderick. This year we have decided to make the Exhibit Hall an important and interactive part of the conference with workshops and pitches and we make sure people have enough time in between speakers to visit the stands and listen to presentations on the latest innovations.”

So … if you’re able, come learn about the user experience with me! It should be a great symposium. If you can’t come in person, I promise to take good notes and post those … I might even post some photos and videos, too.

Here’s a video promo for the symposium:

#5000 Tweets: What’s that Done for Me?


I started experimenting with Twitter on March 6, 2007 (I am @davidleeking on Twitter), and I have just posted my 5000th tweet! What’s that gotten me, exactly? Actually quite a few things, including friends, connections to people, and some actual work, too.

First for some normal stat type things. Right now, I have:

  • been included on 250 lists (mostly on librarian, kansas, rockstar, and social media lists)
  • created 4 lists of my own (that 20 people follow)
  • compiled a huge list of favorites
  • Also compiled 417 DMs that I need to delete but haven’t yet – most are other Twitter followers, saying something like “thanks for the follow, please click here” :-) But some are more relevant, like working out details of conferences I helped plan or some more personal conversations that didn’t need to be broadcast.

But how about those connections? Twitter isn’t about stats – it’s all about connecting with people. How has that looked over those 5000 tweets?

I have made some new friends through Twitter, and have kept up connections to people that I’ve met once or twice (like @shelitwits or @ifroggy).

Twitter has also given me connections to some smart “popular” people that I follow elsewhere, and normally wouldn’t have direct access to. People like Chris Brogan, Beth Kanter, and Kathy Sierra. They sometimes reply to my tweets – and in this way, Twitter has leveled out the playing field a bit. For the most part, people I want to talk to are a reply away.

I am also connected to lots of friends and colleagues, librarians, local friends and acquaintances, and other people sharing my love of social media tools.

That “actual work” thing. I have done real work that is connected to Twitter. Work that includes:

  • Overseeing three work-related Twitter accounts
  • Creating some goals for our primary library twitter account
  • I have written and spoken about Twitter. I have given at least three presentations on Twitter, and have written about Twitter in my book and in more than one magazine article.
  • When I have a work-related question? I sometimes go to Twitter first, and get quick, useful responses within minutes.
  • I use Twitter at conferences for discussion, committee planning, and (of course) dinner planning!
  • Remember when my library went through that book challenge last year? I tweeted the public meetings, and even “Twitter trended.”

Other general silliness, from TweetStats:

  • I generally tweet in the mornings and late afternoons
  • I tweeted the most during the library’s book challenge about 1 year ago
  • I average 6.1 tweets a day
  • I use Tweetdeck a lot
  • I have had 21 twooshes (a 140-character tweet, according to Tweetstats)!

So … looking back, has it been a useful 5000 tweets? I think so. I have made some friends via twitter. I have talked to people about projects, worked through ALA stuff, and shared things that interested me. I have shared jokes, sent links to my blog posts … and had fun.

p.s. – did you know that people tweet about their 5000th tweet? I sure didn’t… !

Twitter wordle screenshot


Why do Librarians use Facebook?

I’m sometimes asked why librarians should be interested in Facebook. Here’s a great answer to that question, via other librarians!

This video is one of a series of videos I’ve been creating for our library, called Tech Tuesdays. Tech Tuesdays is a weekly video series that focuses on emerging technology, library technology, etc – and focused on our patrons (find more of them in Topeka Library’s YouTube channel).

For this particular Tech Tuesdays video, I interviewed four of my colleagues at work, and asked them why THEY use Facebook. The answers are great:

Jeff, Adult Services:

  • keep track of friends
  • invited author to speak at library

Anne, Adult Services:

  • keep track of friends
  • teaching a facebook class for senior citizens on how to connect with family through facebook

Kyler, Youth Services:

  • keep track of friends
  • posts his upcoming music gigs (for himself and for library storytimes) on facebook

Gina, Library Director:

  • keep track of friends
  • shares info about the library and personal life

Interestingly, all four answers include a mix of personal connections and actual library work. Social media is still a pretty gray area – is it work? Is it play? Is it both? I think it’s definitely both… but that’s for another post.