Freak Out, Geek Out, or Seek Out Presentations

The last couple of weeks, I’ve given my Freak Out, Geek Out, or Seek Out presentation a few times. On May 6, I gave the three-hour version at the “Social Media For the Social Good” event hosted by ohioNET and the Ohio Library Council.

I gave the two-hour version (embedded above) at Omaha Public Library on May 14. Both were fun times – lots of good discussion, and lots of nice people, too.

thanks ohioNET and Omaha Public Library!

Have We Emerged Yet?

budAndy at the Agnostic, Maybe blog (you are reading Andy’s blog, right? Good stuff there) recently posted Deconstructing Library 2.0 – and asked some good questions (I left a couple of comments).

Jenny Levine at The Shifted Librarian responded with a whole blog post (yay! Jenny posted! Jenny posted!). I almost responded in her comments, but needed some more time to process my thoughts. I’m not sure they’re processed yet. But I’ll throw this out – maybe y’all can help, and add to the discussion!

I’ll start us off with some observations from Jenny’s post. She quotes Andrew Burkhardt at the Information Tyrannosaur blog (yet another interesting blog to read) who said “The time has come for libraries to be social on the web. Social is the new normal. It has become mainstream and people expect it. Library 2.0 is not dead, it has just become boring and commonplace. And to quote Clay Shirky, “tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.”

Then Jenny goes on to say this: “The hard part, though, is that Library 2.0 doesn’t really replace anything … the opportunities these new tools afford us are in addition to everything we’re already doing, which causes problems, because we don’t get additional resources to implement them … That means being out in your community physically and digitally …”

My question is – are we there yet? I don’t think so. Remember my recent Facebook post? I pointed out that successful library Facebook Pages have staff members actively pushing out content and participating with their users in Facebook. There were some shining examples, and there were some, for all practical purposes, dead pages, too. Maybe those libraries ran into Jenny’s reality of Facebook being “… in addition to everything we’re already doing, which causes problems, because we don’t get additional resources” … so they dropped they thing they didn’t find to be important.

Or maybe, for those libraries, the technology has not yet “become boring and [more likely] commonplace.”

Here’s what I’m noticing when I speak at a library staff day event. I’m usually brought in to speak about “emerging trends and transformations” (translation – web 2.0 tools, services, and underlying philosophies). At these libraries, there’s usually a small cluster of staff that “get it” and are glad I’m there. There’s also usually a couple of staff that think that I’m somehow ignoring the digital divide, forgetting about people who need reading glasses, or even making library services tough for old and poor people.

Then there’s everyone else. For the most part, this larger group hasn’t really adapted to emerging tools, services, or philosophies (but are very willing to learn and to experiment). This is where the new stuff isn’t yet commonplace. For example, maybe some of them have personal Facebook profiles, and use them to reconnect with high school buddies, or maybe their daughter who lives out of state. But when I introduce them to using an organizational Facebook Page to connect with their community – to “be the library” to those people, in that digital space … well, that’s a whole different enchilada.

It’s the very same reaction that some staff might have if they were told to get out of the building, attend a local community focus group … and represent the library while there. It’s different like that … in the same way.

So, my tally on the good stuff mentioned in those posts:

  • “The time has come for libraries to be social on the web” – Yes, definitely.
  • “Social … has become mainstream and people expect it.” Yes and no. A growing segment of our community DOES expect it – but maybe not our traditional “regulars” who visit our physical spaces.
  • “Library 2.0 doesn’t really replace anything … the opportunities … are in addition to everything we’re already doing” – Yes, definitely.

Emerging = growing pains. For many of us, I think that’s where we are right now. We are emerging in many ways, and will continue to do so. But that emerging thing brings a lot of growing pains with it – new things to learn, new priorities, new philosophies to adapt to our organizations, new jobs being created to meet new needs.

Yay! and Ouch! at the same time. What do you think?

Foursquare and Libraries – Anything There?

Library entry in foursquareFoursquare is a location-based game. From Foursquare’s website: “We’re all about helping you find new ways to explore the city. We’ll help you meet up with your friends and let you earn points and unlock badges for discovering new places, doing new things and meeting new people.”

Basically, Foursquare works like or librarything, but instead of sharing music you’ve listened to or books you’ve read, you’re sharing places you’re visiting, and aggregating that list out to your friends.

To play, install an app on your phone, via an iPhone or Android app (a Blackberry one is in the works). You can also use the mobile version of their website for other phones that have web access. Then go visit places … like a coffee shop, a restaurant … basically wherever it is that you go. Once there, “check in” with the app. Checking in gives you points and badges. If you visit a place more than anyone else, you become the “mayor” of that place (until your title is swiped by someone else).

Friend people, and see your points tallied with everyone on your friends list. In the process, you can also create to-do lists and tips at each place you visit, and suggest things for your friends to try or do. Every time you do something, it can be shared with your Twitter and Facebook friends.

wifi tag in foursquareSo … how does this relate to libraries again?

Well… here are some ideas for your library or organization on Foursquare:

  1. Add your library as a place, or edit the entry if someone else has already added it. You can enter your street address (Google map is included, phone number, and your library’s Twitter name.
  2. Add tags relevant to the library. For example, I have added the tags library, books, music, movies, and wifi to my library’s Foursquare entry. If you are in the area (Foursquare is a location-based service, so it knows where you are) and search for wifi – guess who’s at the top of the list? Yep – the library.
  3. Add Tips and To Do lists. When you check in to a place, you have the option to add tips of things you can do there, and you can create To-Do lists of things you want to do there. For libraries, both are helpful – it’s a way to broadcast your services to Foursquare players. To Do lists are handy, because you can make the list and other players can add those To Do list items to their lists, too. When they do something on those lists, they gain points. Think of it as a fun way to get people doing stuff at your library! Just think – someone could gain points by getting a library card – how cool is that?
  4. Add your big events. Then, you can have an event check-in with prizes for the first person who checks in, etc.
  5. Shout outs. These are a type of status update, and can be sent to Twitter and Facebook. So do stuff, then shout out that you’ve done them.

Ok – so Foursquare is definitely fadish right now, and is mainly played by Twitter and Facebook users. But it’s also a great way to connect with a very active, involved online mobile community – and pretty much every city and town has that these days.

Here are a couple of other articles on Foursquare:

We’ll see how it goes – if you’re curious, feel free to follow me on Foursquare!

Update – check out my follow-up post, Foursquare and Libraries – Definitely Something There!

#5000 Tweets: What’s that Done for Me?


I started experimenting with Twitter on March 6, 2007 (I am @davidleeking on Twitter), and I have just posted my 5000th tweet! What’s that gotten me, exactly? Actually quite a few things, including friends, connections to people, and some actual work, too.

First for some normal stat type things. Right now, I have:

  • been included on 250 lists (mostly on librarian, kansas, rockstar, and social media lists)
  • created 4 lists of my own (that 20 people follow)
  • compiled a huge list of favorites
  • Also compiled 417 DMs that I need to delete but haven’t yet – most are other Twitter followers, saying something like “thanks for the follow, please click here” :-) But some are more relevant, like working out details of conferences I helped plan or some more personal conversations that didn’t need to be broadcast.

But how about those connections? Twitter isn’t about stats – it’s all about connecting with people. How has that looked over those 5000 tweets?

I have made some new friends through Twitter, and have kept up connections to people that I’ve met once or twice (like @shelitwits or @ifroggy).

Twitter has also given me connections to some smart “popular” people that I follow elsewhere, and normally wouldn’t have direct access to. People like Chris Brogan, Beth Kanter, and Kathy Sierra. They sometimes reply to my tweets – and in this way, Twitter has leveled out the playing field a bit. For the most part, people I want to talk to are a reply away.

I am also connected to lots of friends and colleagues, librarians, local friends and acquaintances, and other people sharing my love of social media tools.

That “actual work” thing. I have done real work that is connected to Twitter. Work that includes:

  • Overseeing three work-related Twitter accounts
  • Creating some goals for our primary library twitter account
  • I have written and spoken about Twitter. I have given at least three presentations on Twitter, and have written about Twitter in my book and in more than one magazine article.
  • When I have a work-related question? I sometimes go to Twitter first, and get quick, useful responses within minutes.
  • I use Twitter at conferences for discussion, committee planning, and (of course) dinner planning!
  • Remember when my library went through that book challenge last year? I tweeted the public meetings, and even “Twitter trended.”

Other general silliness, from TweetStats:

  • I generally tweet in the mornings and late afternoons
  • I tweeted the most during the library’s book challenge about 1 year ago
  • I average 6.1 tweets a day
  • I use Tweetdeck a lot
  • I have had 21 twooshes (a 140-character tweet, according to Tweetstats)!

So … looking back, has it been a useful 5000 tweets? I think so. I have made some friends via twitter. I have talked to people about projects, worked through ALA stuff, and shared things that interested me. I have shared jokes, sent links to my blog posts … and had fun.

p.s. – did you know that people tweet about their 5000th tweet? I sure didn’t… !

Twitter wordle screenshot

Designing the Digital Experience Presentation

On Tuesday, I gave a Designing the Digital Experience presentation at Nassau Library System in New York. It was a fun time – lots of good questions and discussion!

So … here are the slides from that talk. Enjoy!