Is Privacy Really Dead?

Yes, I’m still focused on Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Great book! Go read it.

This wasn’t really a huge point in Michael’s book, but he did mention privacy (and I saw a Twitter discussion about privacy in recent weeks, so it’s something I had been thinking about).

Here’s what Michael said, on page 166:

“For all practical purposes, privacy is dead … You might as well intelligently feed the Google search engines with what you want people to know about you. You need to be smart about it, but you are in control.”

I don’t think privacy is really dead – and I don’t think Michael Hyatt really thinks that either, based on what he said at the end of that quote – “you are in control.”

I think that’s an important point to make – you are in control of what you share. Yes, if you do a Google search on me, you can find my address (even an aerial shot of my house), a bunch of pictures of me, some pictures of my family, a photo or two of me when I was younger, where I’ve worked since college, a list of (some) books I’ve read, etc.

Then, if you start reading my posts, especially my social media posts, you might find out a few more personal details about me.

But guess what? That’s all info that I’m ok sharing. I have chosen to share most of that stuff. Yes, this is a weird time – so things like my annual salary or an aerial photo of my house are publicly available, and there’s not a lot I can do about that (and I really don’t care about those things).

But the stuff I think of as private – really personal details about my family, for example – I don’t share online. Religious beliefs? I have ‘em. I share a little bit on social media, mostly via photos (I lead worship at my church – whoops! I just shared something!), so you might see a photo of my guitar at church. To me, those are more “let’s grab some coffee and chat” types of things.

But my point – there is still info about me that I control. How? Simple – those things don’t get put online.

Is privacy dead? Nope. Is it easier to accidentally share globally? Yes. Do we need to figure out our social media privacy settings? Yes. Do we need to figure out our “publicly shared comfort level?” Probably so.

Lots to think about, huh?

Funny Venn diagram from Rob Jewitt

Four Tips to Make Mobile Video ROCK

In my recent post Online Video for 2013, I mentioned that 91% of American adults owned some kind of cell phone, and 41% of cell phone owners watch video on their phones.

What’s that mean? If you are making videos, they need to look and sound awesome on a smartphone! Here are four tips to make mobile video ROCK:

  1. Keep it short. With online video, the shorter the better. Especially if you’re watching it on your smartphone. A short video will load faster, and fits well with the “short snack” usage of smartphones (that “I’ve got a minute – let’s play with my smartphone” attitude).
  2. Make it loud. Audio is arguably the most important part of a video. Especially for libraries, since we’re most likely sharing some tidbit of information. So crank that volume up! There are a couple of great ways to do that. For starters, definitely get a better microphone for your camera, preferably one with a volume boost. Also, when editing, look for a volume boost setting, and turn it up (but not so far that you start distorting the sound – that’s bad).
  3. Get close. When making your video, get close to your subject. If it’s an interview, make sure the person being interviewed can be clearly seen on your camera’s window. So no “far away, full body” shots. Same with scenery shots – get as close as possible when it makes sense.
  4. Edit that script. For starters, actually HAVE a script of some sort. Not a “memorize these lines, say it exactly this way” type of script. Most of us librarians aren’t actors, after all. But do have an outline of points you want to cover or facts you need to share. Also, make sure to share one idea or thought, rather than 2-4 ideas or thoughts. Instead of one longer 5-6 minute video with ALL the facts, break that video up into a 3-part series of 1-2 minute videos.

Who is successfully making videos out there? Do you have some tips on mobile video that I haven’t mentioned? Please share them in the comments!

Showing Patrons the Door

First, a funny story. When I lived in Nashville, I frequented a cool used record store. During one trip, I was trying to decide whether or not to buy a couple of old jazz cassette tapes (hey – I was on a tight budget).

The tiny shelf these cassette tapes were on was packed WAY too tightly, so when I tried to pull one cassette out to examine it, 2-3 others would fall out at the same time. And make lots of noise as they hit the floor (it was tile, of course). This happened a couple of times … in a row … and was pretty embarrassing!

So – to ease my embarrassment at not being able to figure out how to successfully pull a cassette tape off the shelf, a “helpful” shop security guard came over to me. He stood behind me, stared at me for a second, and said (and I quote) – “you’ve got 10 minutes, then you’d better be out of my store.” Then he walked away.

Boy, that helped. Thanks :-) That day, the store essentially “showed me the door” in no uncertain terms. Even though the problem wasn’t me – it was their tightly-packed shelf.

Now on to the title of this post, and to my point. Showing patrons the door? Yikes – we’d never do that (under normal circumstances, anyway)! Unlike the silly used record shop, librarians would never consciously walk up to a patron and tell them to leave if that patron was having trouble using something in the library … right?

I think we DO sometimes tell our patrons to leave when we make things difficult for them. We might as well be saying “here’s the door, don’t let it hit you on the way out.”

For example, if your library has a blog, do you moderate those comments? Quickly? I know of libraries that can go 1-2 weeks before they get around to moderating comments. In and of itself, moderating a comment is fine, as long as they are moderated fast (like within 1-4 hours). Blog posts are supposed to be the start of a conversation; comments continue that conversation. If those comments aren’t approved at least in the same day, you have essentially killed that conversation. To me, that sounds like showing patrons the door.

Is your website confusing? Do customers have to puzzle out what they need to do next while on your site? If so … your website is showing patrons the door. Same with our catalogs – a confusing catalog might just steer customers away from checking stuff out – and that’s one of our major, must-have services!

Do you let patrons sign up for a library card online (some libraries don’t)? How about having an online sign-up form that asks for WAY too much info? That’s a sure-fire way to show patrons the door.

What labels and naming schemes do you use on your site? Using heavy-duty librarian jargon might just be a great way to usher patrons towards the door.

How about not having a Facebook Page (or even blocking Facebook altogether)? Or simply doubting that your patrons use Facebook (without actually signing up for a Facebook account and checking)? Yet another way to show a group of very active, involved patrons the door.

Other ways to show patrons the door might include hard to find stuff on your website, hidden content, or even library services that aren’t mentioned anywhere on your website.

So – what do you think? What else shows patrons the door, and how can we fix that?

Pic by Cayusa