How Engaging is Your Website?

I just read Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, by the Aspen Institute.

On page 15, they talked about the library as place. I was struck by this:

The library as it exists within virtual space must be considered as a wholly independent but highly integrated experience; that is, the library’s virtual presence must be as engaging as its physical space and fully serve the library’s mission built around equitable access, learning and civic development.

Wow. Did you catch that? ” … as engaging as its physical space…” and “fully serve the library’s mission …”

Are we there yet? Look around your building, your service points, your programs. Your most popular stuff. Then look at your digital spaces.

Are we there yet? I don’t think so.

Pic by Quinn Dombrowski

Social Mentions with socialmention

check out socialmention.com

One social media tracking tool I’ve been using for the library lately is SocialMention, at socialmention.com.

From their about page – “Social Mention … allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.”

So how do I use it? In the search box, I did a search for topeka library – that search catches most of the variations of my library’s name (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library). Most people tend to tweet or Facebook phrases like “headed to Topeka to visit the library” or “Topeka has a great library.” Or they might mention “Topeka Public Library.”

I don’t narrow the search, though you can. If you want, you can create separate searches for blogs, microblogs, networks, bookmarks, comments, etc. And this becomes more important in the next paragraph…

… because each search has an RSS feed and/or an email alert that goes along with it. So what I do is this – I do that topeka library search, then subscribe to the email alerts.

What’s this get me? Every morning, I get an email from Social Mention with a list of mentions of the library with links to the original. I usually get tweets and Facebook status updates, some Foursquare checkins, and some blog mentions. Honestly, there’s a lot of blog spam mentions that appear as well. Also any time we’re mentioned in the media, that comes through, too.

Then I click through each link, answer any questions that appear (not too many), sometimes add a comment to a discussion, and send any interesting media mentions to our marketing manager and maybe our deputy director. I also copy/paste the more interesting mentions into a semi regular staff intranet blog post, so staff can see who’s saying what about us.

So… why am I doing this? I’m a digital branch manager – it helps me keep track of what people are saying about the library via their favorite digital spaces. It also lets me quickly see just what digital spaces people are using (Topekans definitely favor Twitter and Facebook right now).

I recommend checking out socialmention.com – there’s probably a whole lot more you can do with it!