Making Connections – the Institutional Version

Last post, I covered things I think about when making personal friend connections in a bunch of social networks I use. I also said “for MPOW, it’s slightly different – I might cover that in another post.” Here’s that other post.

As an institution, who should you friend? Why? This is pretty subjective of course, but here are some general guidelines to get you started:

Friend patrons/customers/members. Friend people living in your service area, or who are likely to use your services. Find them using tools like Twitter’s Find People search or any number of third party search services. Your goal is to share your stuff, your events, and yourselves with other people and organizations who can actually use and benefit your content in  a social network.

If someone friends you, check them out. Look at their posts, look at their bio, and where they’re from. If they live close by, friend them. Then start sharing.

Friend other local organizations. Again, the goal is to share your stuff with other organizations that can potentially partner with you, or otherwise send people your way.

Friend others who are interested in your stuff. Have a local history collection that focuses on a certain individual or era? Friend others who are interested in the same things. This should hold true especially on social networks that focus on multimedia, like Flickr and YouTube.

Other Considerations

Facebook Groups
– these can have a narrower focus, so you might be friending fewer people in a group, especially if it’s more of a niche group. For example, if you have a Facebook Group focused on teens, you’ll want to friend actual teens, rather than just anyone of any age.

YouTube – do your local news media outlets have YouTube accounts? Make sure to friend them, and favorite some of their videos.

Finally, be friend-neutral. Don’t agree with what the person says, or don’t like their content? Remind yourself that this isn’t your personal social network you’re developing, but your organization’s network. And most likeley, you take all shapes and sizes of friend connections.

Further reading: my set of posts on attracting friends, starting with Don’t Friend Me.

What am I missing? Any other groups it might be good to friend? Not to friend?

photo from sausyn

SXSWi2009: The Future of Social Networks

#sxswfsn is the hashtag

Charlene Li

Her paradigm – social networks will be like air. They will be where/when we need them – not site-dependant

Shopping as an example
– walk into a store, you see people.
– “walk into amazon” – who do you see?
– Showed a mockup of filtering reviews to people you know

Even TV is getting social
– newscasters have been inserting twitter hashtags into the news ticker feed
– Charlene really wanted to just see what her friends thought
– some set top boxes have this functionality

Enterprise networks are starting to be social, too.

Three things are needed to make social networks like air
1. Identity – who you are
2. contacts – who you know
3. Activities – what you do

Two sets of standards/rules that exist right now
– Facebook
– Open Stack

Many, myriad identities:
– she’s an author/writer person
– she’s a mom
– doesn’t want to blend necessarily

Friend management is tough
– facebook now lets you sort friends into groups
– she friended her co-author … at least 20 different times in a variety of places – why isn’t is just once?

Have to put our trust in someone
– with identity, with contacts, with activity stream

Talking about social algorithms
– ex. gmail showing your top 20 contacts without you asking for it

What gets everyone to be open?
– the money
– ex – Facebook Connect taps into offsite – this gave them more awareness, more people, more views
– ex – earthwatch trip

Talking about ads that can appear on many different networks

The Rise of the personal CPM

What should you be doing to prepare?
1. evaluate where social makes sense
2. think about your back end
3. prepare to integrate social networks into your organization

The idea of a flipped org chart with customer on top, ceo on bottom

I sent a twitter hashtag comment/question – her whole point is that social networks are like air. But then she’s basically suggesting that we should control where the “air” is and is not. So my comment – But if it’s like air, you can’t choose where SNs makes sense and where they don’t – it would be everywhere no matter what, right?

SocialMinder – your thoughts?

Three people asked me to try SocialMinder, so I did. SocialMinder “is an online assistant that helps you maintain relationships with your LinkedIn network” (from their website).

Here’s what I saw – I was asked to add in my LinkedIn contacts, and then I was emailed a report telling me which relationships “should be strengthened” – meaning people I haven’t connected with on LinkedIn for the longest.

What’s wrong with that? The six people SocialMinder told me I’d needed to connect with … I have. Five of them I saw last month at a conference, 3-4 of them I see daily on Twitter. One of them I’ve connected with through Facebook.

So for me, SocialMinder is a cool idea, but didn’t work. And I wanted to share that with them, so I clicked on their feedback link… which took me to some Digg-like “vote for the best improvement” thingie.

Moving on… :-)

Don’t Friend Me!

do your library friends look like this?Libraries… stop friending me! What???

I’m noticing that when a library decides to start a flickr account, a twitter feed, or create a Facebook page, they naturally want to start “making friends.” So what do they do? They friend me. Or you. Or they friend other libraries.

This is bad.


Social networks exist to connect with other people, right? When your organization decides, say, to create a Facebook page … who are you trying to connect with? Me? I don’t live in your neighborhood. Another library on the other side of the world? They’re not going to use your services.

Who are you trying to connect with? If you can’t answer this question, take a breather from the web for a couple of days and figure out your answer. Think about it for a sec – you wouldn’t open a new branch if you didn’t know your target audience, would you? Do you invite people to a book group with no idea of what book to read or who the target audience is? I hope not.

It’s the same with social network sites – you need to establish a target audience, and then work on finding that audience. Once you do that, my guess is this – the friends you want to attract probably don’t include me or a library from the other side of the country!

Another way to look at this is from your customers’ point of view. If I use [fill in your favorite social tool here], and I discover your page, one of the first things I might do is check out who your friends are. If they are mainly other libraries, I might decide it’s a librarian thing, and not for me. I’m gone!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to get ideas from other libraries, and to spy on their social media tools to see what they’re doing. But if you can, try not to accept too many friend requests from other libraries … or your friend page will look more like an ALA reunion rather than a true reflection of your local community.

Update: This is part of my slowly-growing series on organization-based friending in social networks. Here’s what I have so far:

IL2007, Day 1: Integrating Libraries & Communities Online

Integrating Libraries & Communities Online, Glenn Peterson, Marilyn Turner

Marilyn Turner – they made this. It’s cool. It brings together book lists, author lists, librarian tips, etc… many genre guides

it’s only focused on books – so it still has the traditional librarian bias to content

they include a librarian’s blog on each genre page

assign 2 people per genre pages

not volunteer activities – instead, they say it’s part of your job. Part of performance expectation! Awesome! Web Services Manager works with other managers to make sure web content is part of review process

Glenn Peterson:

Customer Contributed Content

user comments on books and other titles

harry potter and the deathly hallows – 234 comments! wow. they had 60 comments while the book was still on order – talking about how the stroy line would go. neat.

social features:
user comments
book lists
browse a list of recent comments
user profiles
name, about me, reading interests – that’s neat. theya’re looking at librarything’s profile for ideas
they have a wall-of-books – images of book jackets to see what books each user has checked out…

wanting to do: users wo are reading X are reading Y

wanting to create a friend’s list, a facebook-like wall

challenges – control issues – what can people leave on their profile

John Blyberg:

The Social Catalog

why bring social tools to the catalog?

three social catalogs:
pseudo-social – authority presented as collaborative (ie., Innovative’s ncore)
Syndicated social – third party data (librarything)
individually social – user-direct (hennepin, sopac)