How Engaging is Your Website?

I just read Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, by the Aspen Institute.

On page 15, they talked about the library as place. I was struck by this:

The library as it exists within virtual space must be considered as a wholly independent but highly integrated experience; that is, the library’s virtual presence must be as engaging as its physical space and fully serve the library’s mission built around equitable access, learning and civic development.

Wow. Did you catch that? ” … as engaging as its physical space…” and “fully serve the library’s mission …”

Are we there yet? Look around your building, your service points, your programs. Your most popular stuff. Then look at your digital spaces.

Are we there yet? I don’t think so.

Pic by Quinn Dombrowski

What did we do before the Web?

Google Hangout with people from SpainOn Wednesday, I was at Rutgers University for the day, visiting with LIS students and giving an evening presentation on makerspaces. The presentation went great – here’s a link to my slides.

That afternoon, I had the privilege of visiting Joyce Valenza‘s LIS class. Her class is focused on social media, and the students discussed QR codes and AR (augmented reality).

Most of the students had smartphones, so they were able to test out some AR apps, like Layar and ChromVille, during the class. I even helped a bit, by answering questions and showing how the app connected to the book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore works.

But this is 2014, so Joyce also called the ChromVille developers (who live in Spain) using Google Hangouts, and the LIS students were able to have a really cool conversation with them (and with Shannon Miller, who also visited via the hangout).

The photo in this post shows the developers previewing their not-yet-released updated version of ChromVille to the students.

Just sorta mind-boggling to me. I graduated from Library School in 1995 (University of Tennessee). Technology things like LCD projectors existed, but were hard to deal with. Video conferencing was around, but didn’t work all that great. Most of my classes involving that type of technology were spent, quite honestly, watching the professors trying to make things work.

Today however, that stuff is so much easier. If you have adequate wifi, you can connect to practically anyone in the world. Wow.

Besides Google Hangouts, Joyce was using some online content curation tools, some Ed Tech stuff I’d never heard of, and Dropbox as part of her class. And probably a whole bunch of other handy online tools, too. All of which help make her class easy to deal with – collaboration and connecting with her and other students (and app developers in Spain) is a breeze.

The coolest thing? All of this technology helps make the face-to-face class time that much more enriching.

We’ve come a long way, huh?

 

If it’s on Your website – is it your opinion?

Close_The_Libraries_And_Buy_Everyone_An_Amazon_Kindle_Unlimited_SubscriptionIn my last post, I purposefully title it “Forbes Wants to Close Libraries.” Why?

Well – I was critiquing an article on Forbes website.

The article is written by a “contributor.” Apparently, you can fill out a form (and probably do a lot more stuff) to be able to post as a contributor at Forbes.

And guess what? Forbes wants you to write for them, but doesn’t want to necessarily be associated with the content that contributors write.

Under the contributor’s names and photos is a tiny statement that says: “Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.”

Well yeah. It’s an opinion piece, after all.

Here’s my problem with that idea:

  1. It’s on Forbes website. Look at the image in this post – Even though Forbes wants to make sure you know that it’s not THEIR opinion that’s being expressed … it sure does look like it’s coming from Forbes to me!
  2. When the opinion piece gets cited … it will be cited as coming from Forbes.

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck …

I know – magazines and newspapers have always had opinion pieces, letters to the editor, and love using that “opinions expressed are not held by the organization” statement.

I’m just not sure it works all that well in an online setting. Either own the content on your site (like Techcrunch, Mashable, etc do) or don’t post it.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Ideas from Platform – the wrap-up

My last three posts have been about Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Great book! Go read it.

There were a TON of great ideas on how to build a platform in the book – well worthy of reading, digesting, then figuring out how to adapt those ideas into an organizational, library setting. It can be done!

Here’s what I wrote about:

  1. Building a Wall of Fame
  2. Content is Not About You. Ever.
  3. Is Privacy Really Dead?

Have you read the book? I’ve love to hear what you found interesting. Please share!

Image from Michael Hyatt’s website

Is Privacy Really Dead?

Yes, I’m still focused on Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Great book! Go read it.

This wasn’t really a huge point in Michael’s book, but he did mention privacy (and I saw a Twitter discussion about privacy in recent weeks, so it’s something I had been thinking about).

Here’s what Michael said, on page 166:

“For all practical purposes, privacy is dead … You might as well intelligently feed the Google search engines with what you want people to know about you. You need to be smart about it, but you are in control.”

I don’t think privacy is really dead – and I don’t think Michael Hyatt really thinks that either, based on what he said at the end of that quote – “you are in control.”

I think that’s an important point to make – you are in control of what you share. Yes, if you do a Google search on me, you can find my address (even an aerial shot of my house), a bunch of pictures of me, some pictures of my family, a photo or two of me when I was younger, where I’ve worked since college, a list of (some) books I’ve read, etc.

Then, if you start reading my posts, especially my social media posts, you might find out a few more personal details about me.

But guess what? That’s all info that I’m ok sharing. I have chosen to share most of that stuff. Yes, this is a weird time – so things like my annual salary or an aerial photo of my house are publicly available, and there’s not a lot I can do about that (and I really don’t care about those things).

But the stuff I think of as private – really personal details about my family, for example – I don’t share online. Religious beliefs? I have ‘em. I share a little bit on social media, mostly via photos (I lead worship at my church – whoops! I just shared something!), so you might see a photo of my guitar at church. To me, those are more “let’s grab some coffee and chat” types of things.

But my point – there is still info about me that I control. How? Simple – those things don’t get put online.

Is privacy dead? Nope. Is it easier to accidentally share globally? Yes. Do we need to figure out our social media privacy settings? Yes. Do we need to figure out our “publicly shared comfort level?” Probably so.

Lots to think about, huh?

Funny Venn diagram from Rob Jewitt