Presentations at Computers in Libraries 2015

I just got back from a full week of learning and sharing at Computers in Libraries. Great conference, as usual!

Here are links to the presentations I gave:

Enjoy!

6 Tips on Going Viral

Last week, my library posted a Youtube video for National Library Week that went “viral.” No, not millions of views viral, but over 100,000 views in a week viral. Which is pretty big for us!

That’s not our most watched video ever … yet. I’m pretty sure it will make that in a week or two. But it is our most viral video to date, meaning that it spread around the web pretty fast, and was reposted in quite a few places with larger audiences.

How did we do it? That’s a good question, and ultimately it’s hard to predict what will “go viral” and what won’t. That said, there are definitely some ways to make your videos better, which will help get your video viewed by more people.

6 Tips on Going Viral:

  1. Start with great content. You have to start with the content. It has to be well-done and interesting enough for people to watch for 1-3 minutes, and then want to share with their social media friends.
  2. Create something that makes sense to your viewers. Our video was written from the customer’s point of view, which helped it be interesting to more than just a librarian audience. This isn’t always the case for truly viral videos (triple rainbow, anyone?), but it certainly can’t hurt!
  3. Have a hook. Or 2. Or 3. By “hook,” I mean have something in the video that catches people’s attention. This video had several: It was done for National Library Week (captured a library industry audience); we used people in our community (captured a local audience); and we inserted a ton of Taylor Swift “easter eggs” in the video (captured Taylor Swift fans).
  4. Give extra attention to audio and lighting. Again, the goal is not Hollywood quality – we are a library, after all! But to the best of your ability, make sure your audio, lighting, and video is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the content of the video.
  5. Use people who don’t mind being “in front of the camera.” We’re libraries, so we’ll probably use library staff in the video, which is great! However – have you ever watched a library video that was sorta painful? Bad singing, obviously reading a script, very nervous, etc? Believe me, I know – I’ve made some of those myself! There’s an easy way to fix that. I’ll bet you have some library staff who do better behind the camera (writing, filming, helping out), and some who do well in front of the camera. Use appropriately! Also think about training staff to be in front of the camera, or maybe partner with a local theater group.
  6. Push it everywhere. We published our video on Monday morning. Then we posted it to our website and pushed it hard on Facebook and Twitter pretty much the rest of the week. We even used a couple of hashtags (#NLW15, #swifties, and #taylorswift) to attract more viewers. All that sharing helped a lot.

If you follow these 6 simple tips, will this guarantee your video will go viral? No. It’s hard to say what will capture the attention of a bunch of people for 2 minutes!

But if you follow these six simple tips, you will definitely improve your videos. That’s always a good thing.

Image by John Harwood

#checkitout, Taylor Swift, & National Library Week

Guess what? It’s National Library Week! To celebrate, some really creative staff and customers at my library have made a fun, creative, and AWESOME parody video of Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off.

Yes, ours is called Check It Out. Please watch the video (pretty sure you guys will like it).

We have a goal: we want to encourage library advocacy, and get people to check out the library!

We also want this video shared as widely as possible. So, I have a request or two:

  • Please share the video in your favorite social media channels – the Youtube Video link is here.
  • Use these hashtags everywhere you share the video: #checkitout #NLW15 #taylorswift #swifties
  • Let Taylor Swift know about the video – she’s on Twitter and Facebook (we’d LOVE it if she saw it).

While you’re at it, see if you can find all the “easter eggs” in the video. There are a TON of Taylor Swift references hidden in the video.

Either way – this week is a good week to remind people how important libraries are to our communities. So please remind them!

Instagram at the Library

Awhile back, I mentioned that my library has an Instagram account, and talked about managing multiple Instagram accounts.

Here’s what we’re actually doing with our Instagram account. I’d love to hear your library’s plans and goal for your own Instagram accounts – so please share them!

For starters, we’re using Instagram because people in Topeka are using Instagram. An easy way to discover this is to notice what local businesses are doing.

For example, if you enter a local restaurant, or get a flyer in the mail advertising a local business, Instagram will probably be one of the social media icons they will mention. That always tells me that locals are using it. I figure if local businesses are pushing it, that means their customers are using it … which means my library’s customers are using it too!

Right now, we have about 8 people on our Instagram team, and 2 loose goals:

  1. Show off the library as cool, helpful, and inspired
  2. Inspire customers to use the library

What do we post?

  • What’s happening at the library right now
    • i.e., it’s snowing, crowded rooms, people having fun, what are the teens doing, etc.
  • Behind the scenes – photos of staff, working on a new area, etc.
  • Library content – new books, what’s on the shelf, staff book favorites, etc.
  • Fun things, like #bookfacefriday images with our books

Who do we follow?

  • Our customers and local organizations

Do we post every day? No – we post when we find something interesting to take a picture of.

What are you doing with Instagram? Let me know!

Image from Jose Moutinho

Put the iPhone Down

smartphones and feature phonesI just saw this article (via Beth Kanter’s Twitter feed) about the evils of smartphones. In this particular article, Sheldon Yellen talks about being a more effective CEO by continuing to use his old flip phone.

He says this: “… keeping my flip phone and saying “no” to constant interruptions was one of my most profitable business decisions.” He then goes on to talk about all the distractions that a smartphone introduces (like he’d know, since he still uses a flip phone).

He then talks about how distracting smartphones can be: “One of the main factors in my decision was the distraction that smartphones introduce. I’ve seen people stare under the table in meetings, glued to an app rather than contributing.” Yeah. So, when you were noticing your employees checking their email rather than being attentive in your meetings? That means the meeting was boring. Stop holding boring meetings! Problem solved.

Then Sheldon provides four “benefits” to going without a smartphone. Here’s the list of benefits with my comments:

1. Increased efficiency. He thinks that freeing oneself from smartphone apps makes you more productive. Then he talks about how Facebook costs U.S. employers $28 billion in lost productivity annually. First of all, the article Sheldon points to doesn’t mention anything about the Facebook mobile app, so it’s a bad comparison for his article. Secondly, there are quite a few articles that talk about how Facebook makes employees MORE productive at work. And of course, there’s the added irony that his own company has a Facebook Page.

2. Direct Communication. Here, he’s confusing his preferred method of communication (phone calls and taking notes by hand) with something that works for everyone. Simply not true. For example, I type faster than I write, and when I want to remember something, I email it to myself and stick it in a folder for later recall.

3. More mental exercise. Sheldon thinks that doing things like calculating tips makes your brain work better, rather than relying on smartphones. Hmm … have any proof of that? Because there are plenty of articles that claim our digital devices just might be making us smarter.

4. Business diplomacy. Sheldon doesn’t really talk about “business diplomacy” here. He talks about Facebook friends not being real friends, and how it’s better to talk to people offline. Sure. Agreed. But … that doesn’t really have anything whatsoever to do with owning a smartphone. So … ??

I’m pretty sure most of you lovely readers know this – owning a smartphone is not the issue here. Here’s what I’d suggest to Sheldon: get a smartphone and really learn how to use it. Use it for 3-6 months. Have someone help you find some really useful productivity apps.

Then write another article about the experience. Hard to write about the evils of a smartphone if you’ve never owned one!

Phone photo by Thord Daniel Hedengren