Failure Leads to Success

Here’s a photo I took a few days ago (bigger photo here). I wanted to play with my new olloclip lens.

Olloclip makes really cool lenses that clip on to an iPhone. Mine includes two macro lenses, a wide angle lens, and a fisheye lens. You can buy one here, if you’re interested (they’re pretty cheap).

Anyway, this photo. I took the photo, then realized something looked … funny. I thought there was a smudge on the lens, so I turned the phone around to look at it … and discovered that I had left the lens cap on.

So this is a fisheye lens photo … looking through my olloclip lens cover. Big fail!

And that’s ok. In fact, if you look through my older videos and photos (and website designs, and articles, and project plans, and music projects, etc), you will find lots of experimentation. Some improvements, some trials-and-errors, and yes – some fails.

That’s how I learn – that’s how I improve. I need time to play with a new tool. To figure it out, to make it work, to read about it and try what I just learned.

For me anyway, failure eventually = success. Because every failure leads me a little closer to where I hope to be.

Experimentation is a great way to learn social media, too. For example, if someone doesn’t have a Twitter account, doesn’t understand it, and wants to learn, I’ll suggest these steps:

  1. Set up a Twitter account.
  2. Follow 50-100 people. These can be friends, colleagues, or people you share a common interest with (i.e., hobbies, career track, etc).
  3. Hang out on Twitter for 10 minutes each day. Read the posts, add your thoughts. Share your own posts, focused on your interests.
  4. Do this for a month.

At the end of the month, I’ll guarantee the person will have a better understanding of Twitter. They might not like it, but they will “get it.”

Hence my photo experiment with the olloclip lens (and lens cap). Experiment, fail, experiment some more, and improve.

How about you? How do you learn and improve?

App Advisory at the Library

my first screen of appsLibraries have recommended stuff to customers for years. Reader’s advisory. Video suggestions. New music to listen to. Ways to start a research project.

Why not app advisory?

Think about it. What do over half of your customers have? Smartphones. And easy access to the app store. What they don’t have is a trusted app “curator” – someone who can recommend the best apps.

What would that look like? I’ll start us off:

  • Best new apps of the month
  • Popular apps
  • Apps connected to a season (i.e., it’s summer, so apps with grilling suggestions. Yes, they exist).
  • Suggestions on how to use an app
  • And of course, you’d mention library-related apps. Ebook apps. Your ILS app, if you have one. etc.

This also means that we would need to have easy access to apps, and have a small app budget. And a variety of smartphones and tablets – both iOS and Android – to play with.

App recommendation for your community. Could be cool. What do you think?

Tips for Making Square Videos

If you’re making video for social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, or Vine, you might think about using a square format, rather than the usual 16:9 aspect ratio.

Why? Because square format videos work great on a mobile device – which is probably what your viewers will be using. And both Instagram and Vine use the square format for videos.

Here are some tips to make your square videos awesome:

  • Fill the frame. Get up close to your subject. If your viewer is watching on a smartphone, that square video will be pretty tiny! Make sure your viewer can see your video.
  • Center the content. Don’t worry so much about that Rule of Thirds here. Go ahead and put your subject in the middle of the frame.
  • Leave space on the edges. If you hold your smartphone vertically while creating your video, leave space at the top or bottom, so you can center in on the action that will show up in a square format. Same thing if you hold the phone horizontally – leave space at the edges, so your subject fills the frame but doesn’t get edited out in a square format.
  • Get to the Point. Really important for Instagram or Vine videos – you only have 15 or 6 seconds, so you will need to start right in on the action and your point!

More Square Format Video Tips here:

Instagram video from my library’s Instagram Account

Library Facebook Images Dropbox is Moving!

First off – you guys have heard about Ben Bizzle and Jeannie Allen’s Library Facebook Images Dropbox thing, right? Right?

In case you haven’t, here’s what you’ve been missing: free images that work well on library Facebook Pages. Made by librarians, for librarians. For free!!

At this point, there are over 1000 images, and over 800 members who use the service.

Now that you’re up to speed, here’s the second part – It’s moving. Here’s what Ben says:

“Having grown frustrated with all the duplications, deletions, and people’s resumes getting uploaded to the Dropbox, I have moved the collection to a far more suitable web-based platform, hosted and supported by Library Market. Sign up at www.librarymarket.com/dropbox and make sure to bookmark the page for quick and easy access.”

Sign up and use it – I just did!

Image from the Library Facebook Images Dropbox Memes Page

Check out The Cybrarian’s Web 2

bookCheryl Ann Peltier-Davis has a new book out called The Cybrarian’s Web 2: An A-Z Guide to FREE Social Media Tools, Apps, and Other Resources.

I wrote the forward to the book because I think The Cybrarian’s Web 2 is full of really useful stuff. The book covers everything from Adobe productivity and creativity tools to Zinio.

Here’s what Information Today says about The Cybrarian’s Web 2: “Volume 2 of Peltier-Davis’s popular guide presents 61 more free tech tools and shows how they can be successfully applied in libraries and information centers. Written for info pros who want to innovate, improve, and create new library services, Volume 2 combines real-world examples with practical insights and out-of-the-box thinking.

You’ll discover an array of great web resources and mobile apps supporting the latest trends in cloud storage, crowdfunding, ebooks, makerspaces, MOOCs, news aggregation, self-publishing, social bookmarking, video conferencing, visualization, wearable technology, and more – all tailored to the needs of libraries and the communities they serve.

If you’re looking for expert guidance on using free content, tools, and apps to help your library shine, The Cybrarian’s Web and The Cybrarian’s Web 2 are for you.”

Interested? Get it now!