It’s Been 10 Years!

Wait. What? I just hit my 10 year blogging anniversary! Yessirree, 10 solid years of writing blog posts!

What has happened in 10 years? Well … social media happened. Web 2.0 (and library 2.0) came and went (I think we’re on 4.7 now :-) ). Easy online video happened. Making physical and digital connections happened, for me anyway – I certainly have more librarian friends, colleagues, and acquaintances than I did 10 years ago!

How about 10 years in numbers?

  • I have written 1289 posts (counting this one)
  • … and received 7379 comments
  • Google Analytics goes back to Jan 1 2005 for me (missing the first couple of years). But since 2005, I’ve had 831,614 visits to my website
  • … and 1,274,517 page views! Amazing.

Looking at the map in this post (from Google Analytics), I have readers in most countries (Not so much in Greenland or the middle of Africa. What’s up with that?).

In social media, I have 8767 Twitter friends and 1331 Facebook friends. Also bunches of friends in places like Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Youtube, and Flickr.

So why did I start blogging? Well … I like to write. Weird, I know. I also like testing things out, pushing myself, and thinking “out loud.” I also wanted a way to remember stuff, like links to good tools, or a repository of “stuff in David’s head.” Then I discovered blogs, and putting those things in a blog format, and letting people read if they wanted, made sense.

Then people actually started subscribing and reading and commenting. I very distinctly remember hitting a whopping 30  subscribers, and thinking “no way!” That was thrilling to me! Before Feedburner wigged out their subscriber counts six or so months ago, I was running 7-8000 subscribers. That’s HUGE (to me, anyway).

What has all this gotten me? A management job where I get to do cool stuff. I actually get to DO the things I write about here. And actually, they make me do it. I have heard “David, we read about this on your blog. Why isn’t it happening here?” more than once!

Also, lots of speaking gigs. Some international travel, even (more of that, please!). A part time speaking/writing/consulting gig. Two books – I’m an author!

And lots of time to think, process, and expand on how websites and social media and other digital do-dads are used to connect with libraries and customers.

Best of all, I’ve gotten … you guys! People who read my blog posts. You guys are awesome!

And … what do you get out of this? Hopefully something that makes you think, something that helps you next week at your job, or something that helps you successfully argue for an expanded digital presence. Maybe a stepping stone to a better idea that works for you.

Thank you So MUCH for reading, for interacting, for listening to me speak. You guys ROCK, and I’m truly honored that you spend even a small amount of your busy day reading my ramblings at davidleeking.com. 

10 more years, here we come!

Google Reader is Going Away – We Will Survive!

Google just announced the demise of Google Reader – a tool I use to read RSS feeds with, and am in pretty much every single day. That’s probably how many of you guys read my blog, too – darn that Google!

But never fear – Stephen Abram is here to help! He has gathered some relevant stories, blog posts, and alternatives together, so you and I don’t have to – go read his post. Looks like I’ll be checking out Feedly, NewsBlur, and The Old Reader for sure.

Here are some other ideas for subscribing to my blog and others:

  • Get a new feed reader (see above).
  • Subscribe with email – great if you don’t subscribe to too many blogs and news sites.
  • Subscribe with Twitter or Facebook. Many blogs and news sites (mine included) post a link to Twitter when a new article is posted. Sort those into a “geek library” list, then go visit it once a day or once a week. Problem solved!

Other options? Let me know in the comments. And – thank you for reading! You’re awesome!

Pic found at Silicon Valley Business Journal

Be Business Casual

In a previous post, I said I’d talk more about being “business casual.” What exactly does being business casual mean?

First off, I have a whole chapter devoted to this idea in my new book, Face2Face (and I’d love it if you bought a copy!). If you want more detail, it’s in the book.

Here are some thoughts on how to be business casual in your interactions. These ideas work for blog posts, status updates, and even in videos:

Write Like You Talk. Most of us were taught that writing was a very formal, proper thing. We were taught to write business letters and academic papers. Guess what? Don’t write like that (Karol, guest blogger over at ProBlogger, agrees). Forget some of those rules, right now. It’s a more formal writing style, and it makes you sound more formal and less approachable.

Instead of a formal writing style, just write like you talk. This is very hard for some people to do! They’ve been trained to write a certain way, and suddenly writing in a different way doesn’t come naturally. If writing like you talk doesn’t come naturally, you can …

Say it out loud. If writing like you talk is hard for you, here’s a simple trick: Simply say it out loud. Read, out loud, what you just typed. Does it sound like you? If not, then rewrite your text so it sounds like something you’d actually say.

Write to your friend. Another trick – pretend you’re writing to your best friend, or a sibling. When you’re writing an email or a Facebook message to a friend, you probably write a bit more casually, as if you were standing there, talking to your friend. You’re familiar with that person, so you are using casual, friendly language with them.

That’s the voice you need to use (minus the inside jokes and potentially off-color language) when writing to customers.

My new book - Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer ConnectionsWear fun clothes – not a suit and tie. If you’re a visual person, here’s another way to think about this concept (and this is why I say to write “business casual”). Picture yourself wearing casual clothes when you write, rather than a tuxedo. It’s another trick to help remove formal language from your writing. Write like it’s “casual Friday” rather than “meeting Monday.”

Use language your customers use. In a library setting, we have to really work at this one – and most businesses are in the same predicament because of industry jargon. Remove all instances of technical language and jargon on your site. An easy way to do this is to simply ask your customers what they’d call something. For example, we removed one bit of jargon at my library by asking our customers what they would call “the room where we put a book they reserved to be checked out.” We actually stationed one of our Marketing interns by our check out line for a day, and had her poll the people waiting in line. We received some great feedback – the room is now called the “Holds Pickup Room” and it works great. Our customers know what to look for, because we named it using our customers’ language. You can do a similar thing with your organization’s products and services. Pick something your customers do, and simply ask them what they’d call it.

Do some behind-the-scenes videos. Show what goes on in the office or behind-the-scenes. This type of video captures workers in their element (at the office, doing their work), rather than artificially standing in front of a backdrop, with lights shining on them, talking to a camera. You can even interview them. Blip.tv does a great job of this with their Blip on Blip video series. They walk around their workplace, taking videos of staff and and sharing those videos with the Blip.tv community. This type of video shows real people at work, having fun. Getting to know someone by watching them in a video helps customers. When a customer has to call in for support, for example, they might just “know” who they’re talking to – because they just watched that customer service rep in a video.

Represent Your Organization, not Yourself. Finally, remember this: when you share that slightly casual, personal voice, and you’re doing it for your organization … you are essentially representing that organization. You become the voice for your organization or business. Your website, your content, and your employees have unique personalities. This uniqueness will come out. Your brochures were written by people who have a voice, and some personality comes from those, too. All that adds up to an organizational personality. Even your physical building (if you have one) has a feel or personality. The challenge is to make these match so you can present a uniform image. Sit down, do some planning, and map out each aspect of your organization – the building, the marketing, the website, the staff. Plan the voice of your organization.

These are some ideas of how to be business casual online – do you have others? I’d love to hear them!

Business casual image by Bigstock

Salem Library Blog Awards – Honorable Mention!

Cool – I received an honorable mention in the Salem Press Library Blog Awards for 2012! They put me in the “Public Libraries” category, which works fine (since I work at one, after all). Apparently Bobbi Newman and I were neck and neck in that category (just between you and me, I’d probably vote for her too, ’cause she rocks the blog!).

Thank you to Salem Press, to the judges, and to anyone who voted. It’s pretty cool to be mentioned in such good company, I have to say!

It’s cool to be recognized for good work. But you know what? There are a LOT of amazingly great blogs listed on the blog awards page, and I think ALL of them are winners. You guys – you other library blog writers. You put in a huge amount of work, some of you multiple times a week. And here’s the thing – your blog isn’t part of your job. It’s something you do on the side. For kicks (yep – we’re weird that way).

You might do it for fun, or to be “published,” or to share thoughts with others. Some of you might think of it as a second job. I’d guess that some of you really haven’t thought much about your blog at all, other than getting that nagging … “wow. This is cool. I must share it!” feeling that comes right before hitting the publish button.

In my book, you guys ALL get awards. If you’re listed on the Salem Press Blog Awards site, you get an award. If you just started a blog and you’re pumping out great content – you get an award too! So here’s the DLK You Rock the Blog Award (link is here) – Take it. Use it. You deserve it. Be proud of what you do!

And make sure to check out all the Salem Press list of award winners. Every one of those blogs is worth reading. Thanks, Salem Press!

 

All my Notes from BlogWorld Expo #bweny #BEA #beabloggercon

New York CityFor those interested, here’s a list of all my notes from Blogworld Expo, BookExpo America, and the BEA Bloggers conference in one handy place.

There’s some really good stuff here – but it’s a LOT to go through, too. I know I will be going through these, sharing some at work, and pondering others for my own blog. Enjoy!

Blogworld sessions:

BEA Sessions:

BEA Blogger’s Conference sessions: