Topeka Tweetups

Topeka tweetup @ wibw studiosAnyone ever attended a Tweetup? I attended my first, last night. What’s a Tweetup? Simple – a Tweetup is a get-together of people who use Twitter. The tweetup I attended was for Topeka-area people using Twitter, hence it’s called a Topeka Tweetup.

It was fun! This tweetup was hosted by WIBW Studios, a local television station. About 50 or so people attended. And I met some people that I have chatting with on Twitter, but never met in person, so that was cool. And it was fun hanging out at the studio, and seeing what “the other side” of the news cast looks like.

OK – Digital Branch Managers, Digital Initiative Managers, webdudes, marketers… you should be attending this type of gathering. Why?

  • If your library has a Twitter account, these are the people following you. Go meet them!
  • This group tends to be highly active, they get stuff done … you want to hear from them about library initiatives.
  • In Topeka, many of them work in highly connected jobs, i.e., tv stations, newspapers, marketing and advertising firms, political campaigns, etc. It’s always good to make those connections.
  • They all use the web, probably in an advanced way. They are your digital branch users (or at least potential users).
  • They’re just really cool people!

Want to find out more about last night’s Tweetup? We made a couple of news sites:

Question – How are you connecting with your social media users?

ps – I’m @davidleeking on twitter – feel free to follow me!

Tweetworthy Twitter Policy

I just read A Twitterable Twitter Policy, by Jay Shepherd, who writes the Gruntled Employees blog (looks like a great blog for managers).

The article includes a brief intro to Twitter, then Jay talks about employee policies and Twitter use. The best part of the article is this – he created a Twitter policy using only 140 characters (so it’s Twitterable):

Be professional, kind, discreet, authentic. Represent us well. Remember that you can’t control it once you hit “update.”

Good stuff to remember when posting ANYTHING on the web, I think!

Making Connections – the Institutional Version

Last post, I covered things I think about when making personal friend connections in a bunch of social networks I use. I also said “for MPOW, it’s slightly different – I might cover that in another post.” Here’s that other post.

As an institution, who should you friend? Why? This is pretty subjective of course, but here are some general guidelines to get you started:

Friend patrons/customers/members. Friend people living in your service area, or who are likely to use your services. Find them using tools like Twitter’s Find People search or any number of third party search services. Your goal is to share your stuff, your events, and yourselves with other people and organizations who can actually use and benefit your content in  a social network.

If someone friends you, check them out. Look at their posts, look at their bio, and where they’re from. If they live close by, friend them. Then start sharing.

Friend other local organizations. Again, the goal is to share your stuff with other organizations that can potentially partner with you, or otherwise send people your way.

Friend others who are interested in your stuff. Have a local history collection that focuses on a certain individual or era? Friend others who are interested in the same things. This should hold true especially on social networks that focus on multimedia, like Flickr and YouTube.

Other Considerations

Facebook Groups
– these can have a narrower focus, so you might be friending fewer people in a group, especially if it’s more of a niche group. For example, if you have a Facebook Group focused on teens, you’ll want to friend actual teens, rather than just anyone of any age.

YouTube – do your local news media outlets have YouTube accounts? Make sure to friend them, and favorite some of their videos.

Finally, be friend-neutral. Don’t agree with what the person says, or don’t like their content? Remind yourself that this isn’t your personal social network you’re developing, but your organization’s network. And most likeley, you take all shapes and sizes of friend connections.

Further reading: my set of posts on attracting friends, starting with Don’t Friend Me.

What am I missing? Any other groups it might be good to friend? Not to friend?

photo from sausyn

New Media Meets Old Media

David's on the NewsOn Friday afternoon, I was interviewed again about Twitter – this time, by our local NBC affiliate, channel 27 news. They interviewed me, our head of Communications and Marketing, and our Communications Editor (I think that’s her title). It was a fun interview – here are some pics from the interview, and here’s a link to the web version of the interview.

Hannah Wooldridge interviewed us, and during the interview, asked me to ask my Twitter friends some questions. First we said “hi” – and 36 people quickly responded with some form of “hi” back within minutes (interestingly, the first reply came from the Netherlands!).

Then I asked this: “what should our tv reporter ask about twitter? What’s cool“? Here are the replies I received:

Everyone who replied – you rock – thanks! Everyone – make sure to read and think about the ideas in the above responses. Twitter started with a simple question – “what are you doing?” The ideas presented above go WAY beyond that. It touches on the community experience I wrote about in my book!

The Social Web and Libraries: Twitter Alerts

Twitter Search (name recently changed from Summize) is a great tool for listening to your community. Here’s what Twitter says about Twitter Search: “Keeping up with interesting news and people you care about is one dimension of Twitter, but what if you need to find out what’s happening in the world beyond your personal timeline? There is an undeniable need to search, filter, and otherwise interact with the volumes of news and information being transmitted to Twitter every second. Twitter Search helps you filter all the real-time information coursing through our service.”

How do you use alerts to listen to your community?

OK… but how do you listen using Twitter Search? That’s easy. Do a search in Twitter Search… and along with the results page, you get an RSS feed of the search. Voila! You have just created a Twitter Alert for that search.

Here’s what I do, for both my personal blog and for my library, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. For both, I have a number of alerts set up:

David Lee King:

  • David King
  • David Lee King
  • davidleeking
  • dlk (because some of you call me DLK)

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library:

  • topeka library
  • topeka

The library alerts were much harder to set up – not too many people want to type in “Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library” – that uses up most of the 140 characters allowed by twitter! But Topeka Library captures some library-related conversation. Other libraries won’t have the same problem – for example, here’s what people are saying about the Seattle Public Library.

My Topeka alert is much more interesting, because it captures a variety of conversation – what’s happening in Topeka, what people are doing, what they like and don’t like. It’s capturing the general “feel” of the community, which can be useful. I’ve picked up on some pretty interesting thoughts from people this way:

  • (my library in the local news): “local headlines New Phone Book Honors Topeka Library: AT&T unveiled its new phone book cover …”
  • (people sharing their likes/dislikes about Topeka): “dude, what did you expect? it’s Kansas. I have to goto Topeka for biz sometimes. that town creeps me out.”
  • local news can be interesting (quite a few local broadcasters use Twitter): “Melissa_Brunner: topeka police bomb robot is now approaching the suspicious package”
  • This was cool – apparently, local realtors are discussing uses of web 2.0 for their business: “I’m looking forward to lunch with @rebr and @76cad to discuss WEB 2.0 uses in real estate in Topeka, KS”

So… what can you DO with this knowledge?

For some libraries and organizations, you’ll be eavesdropping on conversations about YOU. Respond accordingly. For example, someone had this to say about Kansas City Public Library: “Kansas City Public Library is awesome, and totally right by my house. appears to block im, though. strange.” Easy enough to respond to, right? It’s either a yes/no answer with a bit of explanation. Here’s another one: “Carrying my super-cool Wichita public library tote onto a plane to denver then to seattle.” Thank the person for loving your bag!

For other libraries (like my own), there won’t be too many direct conversations about the library… but you can still use Twitter alerts to:

  • get a general feel for what’s going on in your community
  • to connect with people using twitter (I’m connected to some local media types – those can be valuable connections)
  • use it to push the library’s tech (I could contact those realtors interested in web 2.0 and  discuss 2.0 and topeka with them, for example)

So – lots of value for your organization using Twitter Search!