Engaging in Many Ways

Last post from my reading of Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Recruit, Organize, and Engage Youth, by Ben Rigby (you should go read it yourself – it’s a good book!). Rigby talks about George Miller, a Democratic congressman from California, on page 106. Miller used video-based conversation starters and other social networking tools in a fun way:

“In a two-minute YouTube video, [Miller] launched a campaign called “Ask George.” In this handheld video, Miller sat casually in his office chair and asked supporters to engage with him in a dialogue about the Iraq war. He invited participation via numerous avenues:

  • Shoot a video of your question and upload it to YouTube, SplashCat, Blip.tv, or Google video. Tag the video with the phrase “askgeorge.”
  • Post a question on your blog and tag it “askgeorge.”
  • Join the “Ask George” group on Facebook and post your question there.
  • E-mail a question to [email protected] with the subject “Ask George.” “

Nice use of tagging, multimedia, and other emerging services and tools. So – my question to you: Would this work in other settings? Would this work in libraries? What questions could you ask? I can definitely see it working in a YA/Teen setting. How about in grown-up settings?

Here’s an idea – have the library director talk (for a minute or less) about his/her favorite book. Then do what Miller did – ask for tagged responses, and see what happens…

Working Your Community’s Blogosphere

Recently, Darren Rowse at ProBlogger posted Five Reasons Why Mom Blogs Are the Blogs to Watch. Darren says “Mom blogs are poised to become the next big “It” when it comes to the internet–they’re gathering power like no other blogging niche and will only get bigger and better.” Then he lists some reasons why – go read the article to get that list.

And now, a thought (that I’m swiping from more than one presenter at PLA) that continues to swirl through my head weeks after PLA is over: what local community blogs are you reading? Sure – you read 800 library technology blogs, and another 500 non-library tech blogs (no, I don’t read that many blogs). But how about some local blogs?

The gist of what I heard at PLA goes something like this: subscribe to some blogs in your local community and start participating on them via commenting. What does that look like? Here are some initial thoughts:

  • answer questions they ask – even link to library content in your comment
  • answer those questions they needed to ask, but didn’t – you know what I mean…
  • Make normal, interested-sounding comments… that is, if you’re really interested
  • Supply useful additional details when you see them – again, linking to the library’s stuff in the process
  • Friend some locals on twitter/facebook/myspace/etc
  • Set up some vanity searches in technorati and Google alerts, and thank people when they mention your library! How cool would that be?

So yes – this is a bit more “active” than what librarians tend to be used to… but if you want to make an impact in your local [digital] community, you need to be participating. Because if you aren’t participating, you don’t exist.