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

Poking Around in YouTube Insights

youtube logoA couple of days ago, I was poking around in my library’s YouTube account – generally tidying up the place, adding some info to video descriptions, etc (more on that in a future post perhaps). While doing that, I started looking at our YouTube Insights (that’s what YouTube calls statistics or analytics), and discovered some neat stuff.

And I thought I’d share. The stats are from Jan 1 , 2011- Oct 23, 2011). I created four “Big Insights” that I noticed, and each insight has a Takeaway. See if you can add some takeaways or insights to my list!

Big insight #1: Most people watching our videos are coming directly from YouTube.

  • 32,929 from youtube – almost 70%
  • embedded player – 8657 – 18%
  • mobile devices – 5223 – 10.9%
  • youtube channel page – 985 – 2%

Takeaway: Youtube is its own community. If we want to grow engagement (ie., get more comments, video views, likes, etc), we need to start interacting there. Only 18% of our total video views come from the “embedded player” – which means people watching our videos from the library’s website.

Big Insight #2: Tags are really important!

Links followed to this video – 28% (13,471). This means that someone was watching a video in Youtube, glanced over at the Related Videos sidebar, and clicked on one of our videos.

Takeaway: fill up the Tags box for each Youtube video (found on the Video Information page), and use very descriptive Keywords. Doing this will help your videos be found.

Big Insight #3: Post videos about what you do.

Most viewed videos for that time range:

  • 60 second book review – meditations for women
  • interview with a photographer
  • local history info
  • our really old mysteries of the book depository
  • The mayor playing his guitar for our Air Guitar event
  • rhyme and bounce, a toddler/baby video

Takeaway: See any similarities with these videos? Me neither. The one similarity is this: all those videos focus, in one way or antoher, on our stuff. So the takeaway here (besides making good, short, watchable videos) is to consistently share what your library does via video. If you can set up a regular schedule, that’s even better.

Big Insight #4: Community exists on Youtube!

Our video viewer demographics:

  • 51% male, 49% female
  • largest age range segments – 35-44, 45-54, 55-64
  • Sharing, ratings, comments, favorites – all very low, even though we have 190 subscribers and 188,140 lifetime video views (since March 6, 2007).

Takeaway #1: Our videos are appealing to adults, so we should consider that as we continue making videos.

Takeaway #2: People are there – in Youtube – watching our videos. We need to start answering comments consistently, subscribing to other local organizations channels, and grow our community base in Youtube (if we want interaction, video views, and sharing of our videos).

What’s my ultimate point here? Use your Youtube insights – there’s some great information there. And start interacting with your Youtube community.

Oh, and make videos, too – that helps :-)

image by ukberri

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…