Embeddable Tweets – What do they do?

Just testing out Twitter’s new “Embed this Tweet” feature. It lets me embed a tweet within my blog post. Here’s my example:


Interesting. It lets you:

  • See my Tweet in a more “twitter-like” format
  • follow me
  • reply, retweet, favorite

It’s sorta like you are on Twitter … outside of Twitter. Even cooler is this: since it’s not a screenshot, viewers/readers can actually click and follow/respond. It’s a simple way to prompt Twitter users to do that next step. Nice!

So – what do you think of Twitter’s new Embed this Tweet feature? Will you find ways to use it?

Promoting your Social Media Presence – Signage

Social Media icons
Social Media signage at TopekaLibrary

You’ve seen those “follow us on Facebook” signs at stores and restaurants, right? Or heard a radio dj mention following their radio station’s Twitter account on-air?

Guess what? Libraries can do the same thing!

As a first experiment, my library recently placed two “follow us” signs in our building – one at the main entrance to the library, and one on our administrative office doors (shown in the photo).

Why do this? Easy – it’s a relatively unobtrusive way to tell our customers that we have a social media presence, and that we want them to follow us. It’s also a way to link the physical to the digital – by promoting our digital presence (i.e., our Facebook Page) in our physical presence (i.e., our building).

Where else could we put these signs?

  • Our meeting rooms (maybe a stand-up card on a table)
  • Our cafe (stand-up card there, too)
  • In the stacks, with our books
  • As a background on our public PC monitors (we might do this)

One thing we can improve onKathryn Greenhill mentioned this to me recently – when you make a sign advertising your social media presence, make sure to include a URL or at least your social media name. Otherwise, people might not be able to find you (we were talking about this particular sign)! For example, my library’s full name is Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library … but we’re simply topekalibrary on social media sites. We’ll add that on the next version of the signs.

And a funny – watch the arrangement of your icons! We almost put the Facebook icon first … until someone in our Creative Group mentioned that we were spelling “F You[tube].” Certainly not our intent to tell customers to “F You!”

Like these ideas? Come hear more on November 2 at my ALA Techsource webinar on Facebook Pages! Make sure to register!

Interesting way to get some Twitter Stats

Just saw this thing called “You Are What You Tweet” from Visual.ly, which creates a personalized infographic for your Twitter account. I typed in my personal Twitter account (@davidleeking) to see what happened – but then thought it might be fun to add in my library’s Twitter account.

Here’s what came out – interesting stuff! The “face” of the library? Perhaps! But more importantly, this is a great, visual way to get some idea of what your library’s Twitter account looks like, statistically. Try it out!

Topeka, KS doesn’t like Social Media

screenshot of City of Topeka website
Topeka uses social media, right?

Wouldn’t it be weird if Google, KS blocked Google from their own computers?

Unfortunately, that just happened.

OK – it’s really Topeka, KS (Topeka renamed the city for that Google Fiber project). And they didn’t really block Google – they blocked Youtube (which Google owns).

But still – there’s some irony there, is there not?

Go read this newspaper article, City tightens control of employee Internet use. Then come back here, and let’s discuss.

Here’s what I find odd about the city’s recent decision to block staff access to social media sites:

Oddity #1:
“City spokesman David Bevens said the city prohibits employees from using their work computers to access YouTube, as well as the Facebook and Twitter social media sites, but some employees have nevertheless accessed YouTube on those computers … “

That’s got nothing to do with social media, and everything to do with employee performance. That’s sorta like saying “obesity has become a health issue at our organization, so we blocked employee lunches.” In other words, the city is dealing with the symptom, rather than with the real problem – in this case, employee performance. Blocking Youtube won’t fix that problem, I’m afraid.

Oddity #2:
“Stanley [interim city manager] said he was disappointed to learn the problem was directly related to the perceived need by some employees to access popular social media websites, such as YouTube and Facebook.”

It’s more than a “perceived need” – the city actually has official Youtube, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook accounts. So yeah – “some staff” definitely DO need access to those sites, to do actual work.

And since those social media sites are essentially official city channels, I’d go so far as to say all city employees need access to them. At work. Otherwise, the city is blocking official city communications … from city employees. Nicely done, Google, KS!

Oddity #3:
IT manager Mark Biswell is quoted as saying this: “While these websites have value in terms of information transfer and marketing, they also pose an organizational risk in terms of lost productivity and through the potential introduction of viruses and worms … “

First off, let’s deal with that perceived “lost productivity” thing. Recent studies actually show that employees have increased productivity if they have access to social media. Want more productive employees? Give em access to Facebook and Youtube.

Second, that virus and worms thing. Social media sites like Facebook and Youtube don’t become popular if they’re sending out tons of viruses – instead, they get sued (thanks for that thought, @billludwig!). I sincerely hope that most IT managers know that “viruses and worms” generally don’t come from social media sites like Youtube or Facebook. They come from spoofed sites, rogue links in forwarded emails … and from uneducated staff. A better way to approach computer security would be to 1. unblock Facebook and Youtube, and 2. Train staff on appropriate use of web technology, and how to NOT click on those weird links or ads.

Oddity #4:
One last thing. The IT manager is also quoted as saying this: “Biswell said that to balance risks with the informational value of using such sites, the city was taking a proactive approach by cataloguing and safely providing employees access to YouTube videos that have business value related to training and education … The approach is the same one used by educational institutions, he said.”

That’s because the people at “educational institutions” are, for the most part, kids. Don’t treat your adult employees like kids. ‘Nuff said.

So why write this?
Thankfully, I don’t work at a city library, so I haven’t had to deal with this. But some of you librarians have dealt with this, head on. Library Directors – don’t let this happen to you! At least be informed, so you can intelligently argue your points to city administrators, city IT managers, or a city attorney. I’d love to hear from some libraries who successfully argued their points, and were able to keep or get library access to social media sites.

In other news, on Friday I tweeted a question to the City via their official Twitter channel, asking them how they were going to respond to my question, since they are now blocked from using Twitter.

Still no Twitter reply. I wonder why?

Oops, What Did I Just Do – and What to Do Next

This afternoon, I checked in to a place on Foursquare that I’d never actually go visit in person. Nothing against interesting establishments … but the problem was, I wasn’t there – I was on a plane.

I had just landed at the Kansas City International Airport. The place I didn’t visit and the airport that I did visit share similar names on Foursquare (Kansas City International Airport, and Kansas City International Airport Glory Hole), and the full name of the second place doesn’t display on the iPhone Foursquare app (see the screenshot in this post). Not paying much attention, I checked into the wrong place (and quickly received multiple Twitter replies and DMs, kindly suggesting that I perhaps checked into the wrong place).

Anyone ever done that before? Signed up for an app on Facebook, only to spam your friends list? Suddenly found your Twitter account asking everyone to “click here” when all you did was try out a new service? Or, like me, click something, and then realize that’s not what you wanted to do … but too late to take it back? This has the potential to be pretty embarrassing (thinking about the time I clicked a link in an email from someone that I had been waiting for an email from, only to watch in horror as my email account started spamming everyone in my contact list … including all library staff email accounts).

Yep. Been there, done that. And it’s bound to happen to some of us with our organizational accounts, too. Many of you no doubt have found tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite extremely useful – you can log into multiple accounts, both personal and organizational, at the same time. It ends up saving a ton of time … until you accidentally forget to turn something off. Then, much embarrassment and backpedaling ensues.

When this inevitably happens… what should you do?

  • First – don’t panic. It was a mistake, and we all make them.
  • Second – simply publicly admit the mistake. Say something like “oops – wrong account.” Or “How did that happen? Sorry about that” or something similar.
  • Third – delete the mistake if you can (I couldn’t until hours later, and I decided to let the accidental check-in stand. I find it mildly humorous)
  • If you sent out something potentially malicious (like one of those rogue spammy Facebook apps), you should send out a message warning your followers/friends to not click the link, it’s spam, and add a quick “sorry about that.” They’ll understand – most likely, they have done it themselves, too.


How can you avoid having this happen to you?

  • Look before you tweet – make sure you are sending what you think you are sending … before you send it!
  • Check for spelling oddities (auto-correct on the iPhone can do strange and amusing things to seemingly innocuous words).
  • If it’s an interesting-sounding app or tool, you might do a quick search in Google or Twitter first, to see what others thought about the app. This can quickly help weed out spammy apps.
  • Think about keeping your work accounts and your personal accounts separate. Meaning don’t put both on the same Tweetdeck install. Maybe use Hootsuite for work and Tweetdeck for personal, for example.

What else should I add here?