Social Media as Place

My last post about those billboards reminded me about the difference between a library’s normal forms of content (books, DVDs, music CDs, etc) and social media.

What’s that difference?

  • Content – a book, a video, etc – is something you DO. You read a book, you watch a movie.
  • Social Media is a place you visit in order to DO. You visit Facebook in order to share something with your mom.

Think of social media as a crowded room in a pretty social setting. A bar, a party, hanging out with friends, etc. You go there to talk, to share, to listen. It’s a place you visit so that you can do something.

There are a couple of cool intersections though. Things like this:

  • Go to Twitter (a place) to talk (something to do) about a book that everyone’s reading (content).
  • Visiting the library (a place) to use the computer to access Facebook to reconnect with a friend (something to do).

So librarians … use your mad powers of social media to connect with your customers to talk about your content. Then see what happens.

image by Bigstock

Hey Milwaukee, You’re Doing it Wrong!

Milwaukee Public Library billboard

Milwaukee Public Library is running an interesting billboard campaign right now. See the image above – that’s the billboard – it’s being displayed on digital billboards “throughout Milwaukee County at no cost” (from their press release).

My three thoughts upon seeing this:

Thought #1: “Yikes! They’re showing their print book bias.”

Thought #2: Looks to me like the public library is telling Milwaukee social media users that they’re doing it wrong. In essence, they’re saying “reading books is better than what you’re doing.” It’s sort of a negative message.

Thought #3 (a bit more here): Two of the three messages don’t really make sense, and one seems format-specific. Here’s what I mean:

  • Putyourfaceinabook and 140 characters? try millions (book vs. Facebook/Twitter): these two don’t really work for me. Twitter and Facebook are online social communication tools; books are, well … things you tend to read by yourself. It’s an apples to oranges comparison. Reading a book is great – but not if I want to chat with a friend, or do some work, or, say, run a revolution in the middle east (all things that people do via Twitter and/or Facebook).
  • You Could Be Reading (book vs. Youtube): To me, this message makes the claim that one form of content is better than another – i.e., books are better than video-based content. Books certainly work well for some content, but a book isn’t always the best choice! For example, books aren’t the best choice when I want to watch the new Van Halen video, figure out how to install a storm door, or watch a full-length movie (all things I can easily do via Youtube).

I get that the billboards are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and that many online types think they’re witty and clever. And I think books are wonderful – no problems there. But I also see a lot of libraries taking wistful looks into the past, rather than actively planning to navigate our emerging digital content future. To me, these billboards are looking into the past.

Things aren’t going to go back to the way they were, no matter how many times we tell people they should be reading a book instead of watching a Youtube video or hanging out on Facebook. Is this the message you want to send to your community? I’m not convinced it is.

Then again, I could be way off my rocker. What do YOU think about these billboards?

Update – Check out Will Manley’s post for a historical perspective on a very similar issue … with the same library, no less (ok, and I’m blushing a bit, too – thanks for the kind words, Will!).

Twitter Apps for the iPhone

I have been using Twitter’s iPhone app for iPhone tweeting … but since their recent update, the app hasn’t worked well for me. I just tested it – it took 5-6 seconds to open, then when I clicked on Connect, it took about 1 minute to actually show me any tweet replies. Every page of the app has been irritating that way.

So a couple nights ago, I asked some Twitter peeps what their favorite iPhone Twitter apps were … and received some great responses, including:

  • Tweetbot – this is the one I settled on for now. Why? The layout works for me, and Tweetbot does one thing I’ve wanted for awhile – have the main screen default to a list (see the accompanying screenshot) instead of the full timeline. I rarely follow the timeline feed. Instead, I created a shorter list of people I want to follow (ok – actually a few different lists), then follow that list. Makes twitter much easier to handle.
  • Echofon – I have used this early on. It’s still a really nice Twitter app.
  • Hootsuite for iPhone – I have this, but haven’t used it much. As far as I can tell, there is no Push setting. So, to see new Twitter replies using Hootsuite, you would need to open up Hootsuite and refresh to see if you received anything new (rather than just letting the Twitter app handle this via a Push). Not useful to me!
  • Osfoora – heard of it, never used it.
  • Twitter – the app made by Twitter that I just complained about…
  • Seesmic – never used the iPhone app.
  • Tweetdeck – I have it, but it’s been pretty buggy for me so I rarely use the iPhone version.
  • Tweetings – never heard of it.
  • … and the Twitter app for android, with a smiley face attached. I’m sure it’s dandy for all you Android users :-)

Is your Twitter app working for you? If not, try out one of these, and share what you like/don’t like about them!

Digital Music Sales tops Physical Music Sales

acoustic guitarDid you catch this article last week on CNN? Digital Music tops Physical Music Sales. Here’s a couple of quotes from the article:

“According to a Nielsen and Billboard report, digital music purchases accounted for 50.3% of music sales in 2011. Digital sales were up 8.4% from the previous year, while physical album sales declined 5%.”

“While services like Napster blazed the trail for online music consumption, offerings like Apple’s 99-cents-a-song iTunes catalog as well as those from a host of startups have broken down traditional music-purchasing barriers. Most customers now prefer shopping online to buying in a store.”

For that matter, you don’t even have to buy music to enjoy it anymore. We finally took down our Christmas decorations last weekend. While doing that, we listened to some classic jazz via Pandora. Obviously, a radio would work here too … but not for the type of music I was listening to!

So … libraries and music. My public library has a pretty large CD collection. We also subscribe to Freegal (a library-oriented service that basically gives patrons 3 free music downloads a week). We have also seen a demo for the library version of Rdio (not impressed yet).

In five year’s time, what will we be doing? How will we be collecting music? Will music still be listed for checkout in our library catalogs? Or will we point patrons to Spotify/Pandora/Rdio/etc?

I’m not sure … what do you think?

guitar pic by Bigstock

Photojojo Lenses on an iPhone

I recently purchased some iPhone photo/video lenses from Photojojo, and wanted to show you what they do to iPhone video.

I bought the 3 lens bundle, which includes a wide angle/macro lens, a telephoto lens, and a fisheye lens. They actually work pretty well. Watch my video to see the three lenses in action (along with my trusty iMicrophone).

Do you use your smart phone to take videos or photos? Check the lenses out.