Starbucks Cards and Libraries – Would it Work?

I sometimes pick up those cool Starbuck’s Free App/Free Song/Free Book cards when I’m at Starbucks buying a coffee. I think those cards are pretty cool, and I think they just might work in a library setting, too.

What if libraries did something like this – created some cards, and pointed to free content, like:

  • Project Gutenberg free ebooks
  • Free music via your Freegal account (or fill in the blank if you have another music database)
  • Free event – have the card be the ticket to the event
  • Free game – point to something on the web, or actually make an app-based game and point to that.

This idea is sort of like those signs I saw at the Denver airport awhile back.

So … thoughts? Do you think it would work in a library? I’d love to know!

And an aside – yes, I know the video is sorta jumpy. Sorry about that! I should have used the Focus Lock feature, and didn’t think about it. Next time!

Let’s Make Some Mobile, Mmmkay? #Blogworld

BlogworldPresenter: @SaraSantiago co-owner of @RollMobile

Some stats: US smart phone penetration just hit 50% (Neilsen, 2012).

One in four US mobile phone owners use the mobile web every day (Antenna Software Report).

Gartner predicts more people will be accessing the Internet with mobile devices than with their computers by 2012.

If I access your site, what will I see? If it’s not mobile-friendly, people will go find another site that is.

White space time = commute time, getting ready for work, etc. People digest content during that white space time.

Google – howtogomo.com/en/#gomo-meter – looks at your website and tells you how mobile-friendly it is

Responsive design/Adaptive design – discussion about what they both are.

WordPress – install a mobile theme for your blog. Check out http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-mobile-pack/

Other blog software was covered too, including Movable Type, TypePad, WordPress.com, and Blogger.

http://www.lmgtfy.com – Let Me Google That For You

Once you make a mobile-friendly site, test out everything – make sure it works. Click the links, play the video, scroll through the site, click the navigation, etc.

QR Codes: use a link shortener first, then make your QR Code. Makes the code less dense. IF you use a QR Code, the place that code resolves to HAS TO work on a mobile phone. You KNOW the user is on a phone… so make whatever the QR code is pointing to work on a phone.

Sara’s Rules for Providing an Awesome Mobile Experience:

  1. Think. Plan. Resist “shiny new object syndrome”
  2. Remember, you aren’t creating an experience for yourself. So ask your audience what they want.
  3. Please. Don’t make me feel like you hate me. Make it easy and make it work.
  4. HTML5 is not a verb. Do some planning before you do responsive design, use HTML5, etc.
  5. Be the ball. ME – what in the world does this mean? I’m not sure, and all she said was “this is the best advice that I’ve ever heard.”

Twitter Apps for the iPhone

I have been using Twitter’s iPhone app for iPhone tweeting … but since their recent update, the app hasn’t worked well for me. I just tested it – it took 5-6 seconds to open, then when I clicked on Connect, it took about 1 minute to actually show me any tweet replies. Every page of the app has been irritating that way.

So a couple nights ago, I asked some Twitter peeps what their favorite iPhone Twitter apps were … and received some great responses, including:

  • Tweetbot – this is the one I settled on for now. Why? The layout works for me, and Tweetbot does one thing I’ve wanted for awhile – have the main screen default to a list (see the accompanying screenshot) instead of the full timeline. I rarely follow the timeline feed. Instead, I created a shorter list of people I want to follow (ok – actually a few different lists), then follow that list. Makes twitter much easier to handle.
  • Echofon – I have used this early on. It’s still a really nice Twitter app.
  • Hootsuite for iPhone – I have this, but haven’t used it much. As far as I can tell, there is no Push setting. So, to see new Twitter replies using Hootsuite, you would need to open up Hootsuite and refresh to see if you received anything new (rather than just letting the Twitter app handle this via a Push). Not useful to me!
  • Osfoora – heard of it, never used it.
  • Twitter – the app made by Twitter that I just complained about…
  • Seesmic – never used the iPhone app.
  • Tweetdeck – I have it, but it’s been pretty buggy for me so I rarely use the iPhone version.
  • Tweetings – never heard of it.
  • … and the Twitter app for android, with a smiley face attached. I’m sure it’s dandy for all you Android users :-)

Is your Twitter app working for you? If not, try out one of these, and share what you like/don’t like about them!

My Favorite Apps

AppsWhich apps have I been using enough that I want them on my main iPhone screen? Here’s a rundown (right now, I have two more screens of apps that I don’t use nearly as much, but are pretty handy once in awhile … like a flashlight or the calculator app):

  • Messages – default text messaging app.
  • Calendar – self-explanatory, and used a lot!
  • Clock – I set lots of alarms to remind myself to do stuff (like picking up a child from dance practice). I also use the alarm clock feature when I’m traveling.
  • Camera – self-explanatory. Does video too.
  • Evernote – I use this for random note-taking, jotting down quick ideas, that type of thing. I also keep some lists here (ie., lists of books I want to read)
  • RTM (Remember the Milk) – It’s a to-do list that works well with the Getting Things Done method.
  • reQall – Very cool app that I just discovered. It’s replacing the Jott service I’ve been using, and doing a nice job of it, too. Basically, you can record a 30-second voice memo, and it turns it into text and emails that text to you. You can do a lot more with it … that’s for another post
  • Photography – These are all different cameras, photograph editors, or effects that I’ve been playing with:

    • CameraBag – has some neat filters, like 1962 (looks like an old photo, Fisheye, etc.
    • Darkroom Pro – alternate camera I was playing with, until …
    • Camera+ – I discovered this one! They were kicked out of the iTunes app store for awhile – not sure if they’re back yet. But it’s a great camera app – better than the default one, plus it has some great filters built-in. The only reason I haven’t replaced it with the default app is video (as in, it takes none).
    • CameraPlus – not sure why I still have this here … must play with it again, then probably delete.
    • PS Express – as in Adobe Photoshop Express. Great little app with some handy editing features.
    • Flickr – a flickr browser.
    • TiltShiftGen – makes those funky tiltshift “miniature” style photos. It’s fun!
    • Photos – default iPhone photo browser.
    • Qik Video Pro – this one’s been a disappointment. I bought it because it has some fun video filters (like black & white, frost, etc.). But guess what? It doesn’t do the 16X9 HD video that my iPhone 4 can do (even though the iTunes app store description says “works with iPhone 4!”). So that’s no fun! Otherwise … the app posts live video to Qik, and sends to other places like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.
  • Bibles – a couple different Bibles I use:
    • AcroBible – the NIV version. A classic.
    • Bible (YouVersion) – I use the Bible part of this app, primarily … but it’s really more of a social network with a Bible in it. You can friend people, see any notes they create, set up virtual Bible studies, hook your calendar up with a variety of Bible reading plans, etc. The app comes from lifechurch.tv – a church that makes apps and social networks!
  • TWC – as in The Weather Channel. Hey – I live in Tornado Alley!
  • Wikipanion – a Wikipedia app. I bet I use this app almost every day…
  • Reeder – a Google Reader app. Also used almost every day.
  • Location Stuff – I’ve been experimenting with location-based services, so…
    • Foursquare – you can be the mayor…
    • Gowalla – another cool tool.
    • Brightkite – a third service I play with.
    • Loopt – the first location-based service on the iPhone.
    • check.in – web-based app that lets you checkin to multiple places at once. Right now, I have it hooked into Foursquare, Gowalla, and Brightkite. It’s very beta, so doesn’t always work.
    • Mayorama – lets you see how many checkins you need to be mayor (Foursquare only). Sorta fun playing with this… 31 more checkins until I’m mayor of Lake Shawnee!
    • Whrrl – another location service.
  • Shazam – cool music service. If I hear a song, I can hold it up, press “Tag Now” and find out who it is, and most of the time, it works great. Unfortunately, I’m often listening to weird college radio or a christian station … neither of which are mainstream. So I sometimes get an “unrecognized” out of it.
  • Facebook – self explanatory.
  • Twitter – self explanatory.
  • And of course, my phone/mail/safari/ipod apps that show on every page.

So, that’s what I’m using. What do you have on YOUR smartphone’s main app page? What can’t you live without?

What can you do with a Facebook Page?

My library has a Facebook Page, and I’ve been experimenting with it lately. I have loosely broken down what I’ve done into three sections – Basic Info, Facebook Functionality, and Social Stuff:

Basic Info:

  • photo of the library
  • basic library info, like our address, phone number, and hours of operation
  • shared our website’s URL

Facebook Functionality:

  • YouTube app – showing some recent YouTube videos
  • a couple fan photos of books
  • Facebook fans – 192 of em so far

Social Stuff:

  • RSS feeds – sending my website’s main RSS feed to the Facebook page via Simply RSS (doesn’t appear to be working today – drat)
  • Favorited other Topeka-area Facebook pages (local sports team, the performing arts center, a local church, etc.)
  • I make sure to thank people when they write something on our wall
  • I sent one “Update to Fans” broadcast message – no direct responses, but more people favorited us after the message went out
  • Started one discussion board topic – “What would you like to see here?” (no one has commented on it yet :-)

I also asked my twitter friends for input – what were they doing with Facebook Pages, and what other innovative library Facebook Pages have they found. Here’s what they said:

  • bmljenny – we use the “Blog RSS Feed Reader” app to post our blog feed on our page. Seems to sync OK.
  • sharon370 – I like Purchase College Library’s space on fb – Bookshare, Events, RSS feed from lib blog, OCLC app
  • fabi_k – i like the fb page of the UoM graduate library: http://tinyurl.com/6bw87u – esp. the “ask us” and catalog search feature
  • debrouillard – student program and event advertising mostly
  • amylibrarian – I use facebook to promote the CiteMe application.
  • shelitwits – found it! do you send out event notices or just use the feed to include events? i think sending FB updates to fans helps a bit

Another person said this, via a Facebook message: “One thing I would like to see happen here, is spreading out control of the page. I wish we had someone from each department who would post events and contribute to updating fans. Like, if reference has a new database, they can send out a notice that way … or if reader’s service has a cool new recommendation they can do the same. I would like to see that happen w/ our Myspace page as well. We have WAY more friends on Myspace than FB. We have a bunch of feeds sent to FB, but that only works if our fans are coming to our page.”

Things I still need to add:

  • Library catalog search app (need to talk to my web developer about this)
  • Flickr app – so we can display our Flickr photos in Facebook

What other ideas do you have? Are you doing something cool in Facebook or on a Facebook Page that’s not listed here? Please share!

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