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

Social Media Skills for Librarians

Last week, I gave a presentation at McGill’s Web2PointU Symposium – a cool conference run by students of the School of Information Studies at McGill University.

During that presentation (you can find my slides here), I mentioned new skills that information professionals need to successfully run social media for their organization. That list included these things:

  • The normal mad librarian skills (fill in the blank here). Searching, reader’s advisory, research, etc. These “traditional” skills can easily be used in a modern online setting.
  • Web and social media skills. As in, being an expert end user. It’s hard to be an expert in Google searching if you don’t really know all the bells and whistles of Google searching, for example (and yes, I’ve known librarians who really couldn’t use basic online search engines well, let alone a web browser). The same thing goes for social media tools – you won’t be very successful at running the library’s Twitter account if you don’t really “get” Twitter.
  • Writing skills. Most of us learned how to write in school. Unfortunately, we learned how to write business letters and academic papers. Guess what? That’s not how we should write on the web. If you want to start a conversation, you need to use a conversational writing style. If you want readers to quickly grasp your content, use some of those writing tips I mentioned in my article Writing for the Mobile Web.
  • Photo and video skills. Social media is very visual. Take a peek at Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Slideshare, Vine, Flickr, Youtube, Vimeo, etc. All include photos and videos. That means YOU need to be able to create photos and videos that quickly communicate to your organization’s social media crowd.
  • Networking. Social media IS networking. Today’s librarian needs to be good at talking to a crowd – online and in-person.
  • Marketing & promotion. Part of your social media duties include sharing the cool stuff your library is doing.

What would you add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Facebook is 10 Years Old!

Wow – how’d that happen? Facebook is 10 years old today. Happy birthday, Facebook!

Yesterday, I saw some interesting stats about Facebook from the Pew Research Center. Here are some of them, with my thoughts included:

57% of all adults use Facebook. That’s a LOT of people. Think about that statistic locally – it means that over half of YOUR community is using Facebook. That means that your organization should be actively using Facebook, since it’s a primary communication and hangout tool for over half of your community.

64% of Facebook users visit the site daily. That means your organization’s Facebook Page should post daily, too. On Facebook, you’re not seen if you don’t post – so post!

Major reasons to use Facebook – sharing and laughs. Share a mix of fun and useful content, and your network will respond (i.e., comment, like, share, etc). Because they LIKE to respond – that’s what you DO on Facebook.

Half of all adult Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network. If one of them decides to share your content, that content will be seen by people outside your library’s Facebook network. That’s the power of Facebook sharing – it can really stretch beyond your normal Facebook boundaries.

Check out the article – good info there!

Facebook logo by Sharon Mckellar

Four Tips to Make Mobile Video ROCK

In my recent post Online Video for 2013, I mentioned that 91% of American adults owned some kind of cell phone, and 41% of cell phone owners watch video on their phones.

What’s that mean? If you are making videos, they need to look and sound awesome on a smartphone! Here are four tips to make mobile video ROCK:

  1. Keep it short. With online video, the shorter the better. Especially if you’re watching it on your smartphone. A short video will load faster, and fits well with the “short snack” usage of smartphones (that “I’ve got a minute – let’s play with my smartphone” attitude).
  2. Make it loud. Audio is arguably the most important part of a video. Especially for libraries, since we’re most likely sharing some tidbit of information. So crank that volume up! There are a couple of great ways to do that. For starters, definitely get a better microphone for your camera, preferably one with a volume boost. Also, when editing, look for a volume boost setting, and turn it up (but not so far that you start distorting the sound – that’s bad).
  3. Get close. When making your video, get close to your subject. If it’s an interview, make sure the person being interviewed can be clearly seen on your camera’s window. So no “far away, full body” shots. Same with scenery shots – get as close as possible when it makes sense.
  4. Edit that script. For starters, actually HAVE a script of some sort. Not a “memorize these lines, say it exactly this way” type of script. Most of us librarians aren’t actors, after all. But do have an outline of points you want to cover or facts you need to share. Also, make sure to share one idea or thought, rather than 2-4 ideas or thoughts. Instead of one longer 5-6 minute video with ALL the facts, break that video up into a 3-part series of 1-2 minute videos.

Who is successfully making videos out there? Do you have some tips on mobile video that I haven’t mentioned? Please share them in the comments!

Engaging People via Twitter

Twitter recently created a new best practices site – check it out at media.twitter.com. There’s some really useful info there, but you have to wade through it a bit to find the good tidbits.

I did the wading for you – here’s the good stuff!

Best Practices on Engaging people via Twitter:

  • Use @mentions. This makes it more likely that people will find your conversation and join in.
  • Include photos and videos. Inserting media into tweets makes them more likely to get favorited and retweeted. Tweets with photos get 1.5x the number of Retweets compared to the average Tweet, and 2.3x the number of favorites.
  • Tweet regularly. Twitter users like to see conversations. Set a schedule if you need a reminder to Tweet.
  • Hold a Q & A live tweet session. This can be a fun way to involve other Twitter users.
  • Find conversations. Listen for people talking about you, and join in if it makes sense.
  • Use Hashtags. Picking the right hashtag is a great way to reach more readers and make your Tweet a part of a larger conversation. Including a hashtag can double engagement for individual journalists and boost it 1.5x for news organizations, for example. So in our industry, it can’t hurt either, right?
  • Show what happens “behind the scenes.” A fun way to connect with followers is to show them what happens behind the scenes.
  • Use a call to action and a hashtag together. specially for things like live tweeting, events, or a Q&A session
  • Vine videos are useful, too. Vine videos drive high engagement (Retweets and favorites).

And an interesting tip. Are you familiar with this command – .@ (a @reply command with a period?)? I wasn’t. Here’s what it does: Tweets that have a period (.) before the @reply are meant to be seen by all of a user’s followers, not just those who follow both the sender and receiver. Twitter calls a normal @reply narrowcasting, and a .@reply broadcasting. Interesting!

Are you successfully connecting with customers through Twitter? I’d love to hear about it! Share in the comments. Thanks! Oh, and feel free to follow me on Twitter too, while you’re at it :-)

Photo by Maryland GovPics