Oops, What Did I Just Do – and What to Do Next

This afternoon, I checked in to a place on Foursquare that I’d never actually go visit in person. Nothing against interesting establishments … but the problem was, I wasn’t there – I was on a plane.

I had just landed at the Kansas City International Airport. The place I didn’t visit and the airport that I did visit share similar names on Foursquare (Kansas City International Airport, and Kansas City International Airport Glory Hole), and the full name of the second place doesn’t display on the iPhone Foursquare app (see the screenshot in this post). Not paying much attention, I checked into the wrong place (and quickly received multiple Twitter replies and DMs, kindly suggesting that I perhaps checked into the wrong place).

Anyone ever done that before? Signed up for an app on Facebook, only to spam your friends list? Suddenly found your Twitter account asking everyone to “click here” when all you did was try out a new service? Or, like me, click something, and then realize that’s not what you wanted to do … but too late to take it back? This has the potential to be pretty embarrassing (thinking about the time I clicked a link in an email from someone that I had been waiting for an email from, only to watch in horror as my email account started spamming everyone in my contact list … including all library staff email accounts).

Yep. Been there, done that. And it’s bound to happen to some of us with our organizational accounts, too. Many of you no doubt have found tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite extremely useful – you can log into multiple accounts, both personal and organizational, at the same time. It ends up saving a ton of time … until you accidentally forget to turn something off. Then, much embarrassment and backpedaling ensues.

When this inevitably happens… what should you do?

  • First – don’t panic. It was a mistake, and we all make them.
  • Second – simply publicly admit the mistake. Say something like “oops – wrong account.” Or “How did that happen? Sorry about that” or something similar.
  • Third – delete the mistake if you can (I couldn’t until hours later, and I decided to let the accidental check-in stand. I find it mildly humorous)
  • If you sent out something potentially malicious (like one of those rogue spammy Facebook apps), you should send out a message warning your followers/friends to not click the link, it’s spam, and add a quick “sorry about that.” They’ll understand – most likely, they have done it themselves, too.


How can you avoid having this happen to you?

  • Look before you tweet – make sure you are sending what you think you are sending … before you send it!
  • Check for spelling oddities (auto-correct on the iPhone can do strange and amusing things to seemingly innocuous words).
  • If it’s an interesting-sounding app or tool, you might do a quick search in Google or Twitter first, to see what others thought about the app. This can quickly help weed out spammy apps.
  • Think about keeping your work accounts and your personal accounts separate. Meaning don’t put both on the same Tweetdeck install. Maybe use Hootsuite for work and Tweetdeck for personal, for example.

What else should I add here?

Experimenting vs Not Doing

me, experimenting

Recently, I’ve been working on a video project (a not-for-work video project). And it’s been fun. And a little irritating at times, too.

Irritating? Why?

Glad you asked! Because lighting has been a struggle, among other things. I’m creating these videos in my basement, and started out using some umbrella lights and my trusty Sanyo Xacti HD1A video camera.

And in the process, I’ve discovered that I have A LOT to learn about lighting. And sound. And scripting (because I generally have a hard time winging it). And because my trusty Sanyo Xacti video camera has started to act up (whack! There, it’s fixed).

But guess what? Instead of giving up, I decided to experiment a bit and improve my skills. The pic accompanying this post is just that – it’s me in action, playing with a new backdrop and a couple of new lights, and figuring out how to use the white balance on my video camera (as in hey, what’s this thing do?).

My point?

I’ve discovered that a little experimentation goes a long way to improving what I saw as problems. Color problems? Fixed. Weird lighting problems? Getting better. Audio irritations? I fixed those, too. Camera problems? (Whack, whack! Fixed again – ok, more improvements needed there, I think).

These days, most of us are NOT experts. Sometimes, we have to wing it. And we have choices when presented with one of those “oh-shoot-I’m-no-expert” projects:

  1. Don’t do it. You can always say “I can’t do that – I’m no expert.” boo, hiss.
  2. Do it, but don’t learn from the experience. marginally better than boo, hiss.
  3. Do it, learn from the experience, and improve it next time. Yay!

Want to improve something? You HAVE to start. You HAVE to keep on doing it, purposefully experimenting during the process, and learning from those experiences. Simple to say, much harder to do.

That’s all for now (whack. whack, whack, whack. Whew!).

CIL2010 – Gen X Librarians: Leading from the Middle

Notes from a talk I attended …

Speakers: Lisa Carlucci Thomas (Digital Services Librarian), Southern Connecticut State University, Karen Sobel (Web Librarian), and Nina McHale (Reference & Instruction Librarian) – both at the University of Colorado at Denver

Gen X and Tech – Nina

Ha – quote – “I have shoes older than you.”

Generalizations work sometimes, sometimes not so much. ie – there are 20-something digital novices and 80-year old tech gurus.

Defines Gen X at early-mid 1960s to early 1980s. That’s me – born in 1966.

Growing up (along) with technology:

gen x librarians developed technology skills as needed – computers entered our lives during our educations

1970 – mean income, $10,001 – “Kitchen Computer,” $10,600

1984-1993 – computer access doubled for Gen Xers.

Gen X – between two worlds:

typewriters and word processors
card catalogs and opals
print and electronic
DOS and Windows
Analog and Digital
Traditional and Social
Landline and Cell Phone

Parallels in personal lives:
there has always been a generation in the middle – but tech adds a new dimension.

Attitudes toward tech:

we’re proficient with it
accepting of change and desire to improve systems
more likely to bank, shop, and look for health info online – connecting traditional institutions and new modes of communication

Gen X at Work – Karen

Sandwich Generation at work

Good mix of generations, income brackets, and levels of information at the university

She works on bridging the gap in the classroom.

different generations want to know different things.

make sure to personalize the instruction

Gen X skills in the library:

Gen X is bridging the gap – we started out analog, ended up digital. So we can help older people that are just starting out learning the “new stuff” – cause we’ve been there too

“I like technology, but I’m not an addict” – we have a better balance than older and younger generations

What does it mean to say “I’m not a computer person?” – But … they still have a phone…

Many Gen X librarians lean in tech-related taskforces, digitization projects, training programs

Gen X and Leadership – Lisa

Never before – 4 generations int he workplace

Gen X – rising into management positions (that’s me too)

Gen X is the smallest entry wave of managers in leadership roles right now…

Difference – Gen X is loyal to the profession – not to the institution.

Require personal/professional life balance

self-driven and self-motivated

promote innovation, mediate change, mentor people towards that change

Mentioned BIGWIG as a good example of gen x librarians working towards change

Sweet – mentioned mine and Michael Porter’s Library 101 project as something trying to give back to the profession – thanks!

Interesting – are we the self-centered skeptical slackers the media once portrayed us as? Not so much. Instead, we are independent, innovative individuals – who are becoming proficient leaders in our fields.

#genx hashtag…

Personal Accounts, Work Accounts – What To Do?

Sometimes, I get these types of questions:

“I’m learning about social media tools, and a patron saw I was online and asked me a question … but I wasn’t at work! What should I do?”

“I was at work, and a friend saw I was online in Facebook and started asking me about the party last night. What should I do?”

    Here’s my take. I’d love for you to add to the discussion!

    First, for the patron/after-hours question. There are a few different ways to deal with this:

    • Answer the question. Really, this isn’t much different than getting stopped in the store and asked a question (yep – I think I have an “I’m a librarian! Ask me” sticker stuck to my forehead – don’t you?).
    • Alternatively, simply say “I’m off-duty. Email me the question, and I’ll answer it tomorrow.”

    How about the friend-contacting-you-at-work thing? For starters, I’d say chatting with a friend while at work is perfectly fine (as long as you’re getting your work done). You’re learning the tool with someone you trust. That’s a great way to gain new skills.

    What if that staff member is spending too much time in Facebook? Think about your work phone for a sec. In most jobs, it’s fine to get an occasional call from a friend. But if you’re spending 5 hours a day on the phone with that friend, then it’s a problem. And it’s not a problem with the phone – it’s a behavioral issue that the employer needs to deal with. Same thing with Facebook. Deal with the problem (spending too much time talking to friends while at work) – not the symptom (phone/Facebook).

    While I’m on the topic, a related question that I’m also asked is this: “Should I set up separate work and personal accounts in social networks, or set up one for everything?”

    I’m not convinced the question is completely warranted anymore. Some social networks have made this issue pretty easy to figure out without worrying too much about personal/work-related stuff. For example, Facebook has two types of accounts – personal profiles nad organizational Pages. If you set up an organizational library Page, and you set up a personal profile that’s you, the two don’t really cross over.

    There is one kinda tricky part to Facebook Pages. To set up a Facebook Page, you use your personal profile. That organizational Page is connected to, or owned by, whoever originally sets up the Page. This is important to think through! Do you create a “library david” profile, then create the Page (which sorta goes against Facebook’s policy – one profile per person)? Or do you use your real personal profile to set up the page? I know more than one librarian who has gotten another job, moved out of state … and still technically “owns” the Facebook Page from the old job. That can get weird fast!

    There’s also one slightly tricky part with Twitter, too. My library has a library Twitter account. And I have my personal Twitter account. Easy enough. I also do a lot of “listening” via Twitter searches for my library. So, when someone asks a question or says something about the library – even if they don’t use the proper @topekalibrary to do it – I see that comment. I usually reply to them using my @davidleeking account. What do you think – is that ok, or should I use the @topekalibrary account? Not sure.

    S0 – what do you do? Do you find it easy or hard to separate your work life from your personal life online? Let me know – and share what you do!

    photo by anomalily