Setting up a Google Plus Page for your Library is Easy

g+A day or so ago, Google Plus finally opened up organizational Google Plus “Pages” to everyone. These are similar in concept to Facebook Pages: a Google Plus Page is for brands, organizations, and businesses, and a Google Plus Profile is for individuals.

I just set up my library’s Google Plus Page, and it was really easy to do. Here’s what I did:

  1. First, you need a personal Google Plus Profile. Just like Facebook, Google wants you to be a real person (here’s a link to mine if you’re curious).
  2. Go here –https://plus.google.com/u/0/pages/create – to set up the Page
  3. Choose a category for your library. I chose “Company, Institution or Organization” for ours.
  4. Fill in your Institution’s name and URL. I chose to put in our full name (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library) rather than the shortened “topekelibrary” that we often use for social media sites, because our full name shows up on the account.
  5. Select a Category – really, a subcategory of the “Company, Institution or Organization” thing you picked up in #3 above. This gives you a lot of suggestions … none of which are Libraries. I ended up choosing Institution (though Government Agency, Education, or Other would have worked ok too).
  6. Click Create.
  7. Then, you’re given the option to Share your new Google Plus Page with all your Google Plus friends (I did that, but you don’t have to).

After that, I fleshed out our account info a little bit by doing these things:

  • Added a photo for the G+ icon (our library’s logo for now)
  • Asked our Marketing dept for some pictures to add on the Photos tab
  • Created some Circles – I kept the Following circle for random follows, then created these additional Circles: Customers (for library patrons), Staff (for library staff), and Librarians (for librarians who don’t work at my library but want to follow)
  • Added links to our Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Flickr accounts
  • Finally, I sent out our first status update message – “Just setting up Topeka Library’s dandy new Google Plus Page for organizations. Let’s explore it together!”

That’s pretty much it. What will we do with it? For starters, I’ll probably post a couple things a week there, to see if other people in our service area are interested in using Google Plus to connect with the library. After that (I’ll give it 6 months or so) we’ll see.

A couple other examples of Google Plus Library Pages:

updateJoe Murphy has a great post on Google Plus Pages for Libraries. Check it out!

Cool! Now the question is … what will your library DO with a Google Plus Page, now that they are available?

image by Bruce Clay

Meta Social: Online Interactions & how to make them ROCK

Here’s my presentation from today’s Handheld Librarian III web conference. It was a fun talk, and a great conference – lots of good food for thought.

Enjoy!

Follow the Meat Department on Twitter!

Follow the Meat Dept on Twitter!

Would you follow your local grocery store in your favorite social network? The Topeka Hy-Vee is on Twitter and Facebook – and they WANT you to follow them!

Two observations here:

  1. Social networking IS slowly becoming “normal” – I’m seeing similar “follow me on Twitter and Facebook” signs all over the place, at stores, restaurants, hearing it on the radio, etc.
  2. If a grocery store can keep multiple social networking sites fresh (the Topeka Hy-Vee Twitter and Facebook Pages are updated daily) … I’m guessing you can, too.

And a question. Hy-Vee put a sign in the middle of their meat department advertising their social networking sites. Where are your signs? How are you inviting users into your digital spaces?

[David gets busy making signs…]

#5000 Tweets: What’s that Done for Me?

tweetstats

I started experimenting with Twitter on March 6, 2007 (I am @davidleeking on Twitter), and I have just posted my 5000th tweet! What’s that gotten me, exactly? Actually quite a few things, including friends, connections to people, and some actual work, too.

First for some normal stat type things. Right now, I have:

  • 3198 followers
  • been included on 250 lists (mostly on librarian, kansas, rockstar, and social media lists)
  • created 4 lists of my own (that 20 people follow)
  • compiled a huge list of favorites
  • Also compiled 417 DMs that I need to delete but haven’t yet – most are other Twitter followers, saying something like “thanks for the follow, please click here” :-) But some are more relevant, like working out details of conferences I helped plan or some more personal conversations that didn’t need to be broadcast.

But how about those connections? Twitter isn’t about stats – it’s all about connecting with people. How has that looked over those 5000 tweets?

I have made some new friends through Twitter, and have kept up connections to people that I’ve met once or twice (like @shelitwits or @ifroggy).

Twitter has also given me connections to some smart “popular” people that I follow elsewhere, and normally wouldn’t have direct access to. People like Chris Brogan, Beth Kanter, and Kathy Sierra. They sometimes reply to my tweets – and in this way, Twitter has leveled out the playing field a bit. For the most part, people I want to talk to are a reply away.

I am also connected to lots of friends and colleagues, librarians, local friends and acquaintances, and other people sharing my love of social media tools.

That “actual work” thing. I have done real work that is connected to Twitter. Work that includes:

  • Overseeing three work-related Twitter accounts
  • Creating some goals for our primary library twitter account
  • I have written and spoken about Twitter. I have given at least three presentations on Twitter, and have written about Twitter in my book and in more than one magazine article.
  • When I have a work-related question? I sometimes go to Twitter first, and get quick, useful responses within minutes.
  • I use Twitter at conferences for discussion, committee planning, and (of course) dinner planning!
  • Remember when my library went through that book challenge last year? I tweeted the public meetings, and even “Twitter trended.”

Other general silliness, from TweetStats:

  • I generally tweet in the mornings and late afternoons
  • I tweeted the most during the library’s book challenge about 1 year ago
  • I average 6.1 tweets a day
  • I use Tweetdeck a lot
  • I have had 21 twooshes (a 140-character tweet, according to Tweetstats)!

So … looking back, has it been a useful 5000 tweets? I think so. I have made some friends via twitter. I have talked to people about projects, worked through ALA stuff, and shared things that interested me. I have shared jokes, sent links to my blog posts … and had fun.

p.s. – did you know that people tweet about their 5000th tweet? I sure didn’t… !

Twitter wordle screenshot

www.wordle.net

Why do Librarians use Facebook?

I’m sometimes asked why librarians should be interested in Facebook. Here’s a great answer to that question, via other librarians!

This video is one of a series of videos I’ve been creating for our library, called Tech Tuesdays. Tech Tuesdays is a weekly video series that focuses on emerging technology, library technology, etc – and focused on our patrons (find more of them in Topeka Library’s YouTube channel).

For this particular Tech Tuesdays video, I interviewed four of my colleagues at work, and asked them why THEY use Facebook. The answers are great:

Jeff, Adult Services:

  • keep track of friends
  • invited author to speak at library

Anne, Adult Services:

  • keep track of friends
  • teaching a facebook class for senior citizens on how to connect with family through facebook

Kyler, Youth Services:

  • keep track of friends
  • posts his upcoming music gigs (for himself and for library storytimes) on facebook

Gina, Library Director:

  • keep track of friends
  • shares info about the library and personal life

Interestingly, all four answers include a mix of personal connections and actual library work. Social media is still a pretty gray area – is it work? Is it play? Is it both? I think it’s definitely both… but that’s for another post.