TweetStats and Wordle

I’ve plugged my name in to TweetStats before but I never went to the TweetCloud before.  Interesting to see how my tweets look visually.  My top tweeted words are new, post, fm, blip, ♫ which is interesting considering I don’t use the musical symbol at all.  You can then take the TweetCloud and go to Wordle – so of course I did and here is how it looks. Wordle: tweets

Reference Interview From Far Away

MLx, aka as the Gadabout Library Trainer, is attending the Alabama Library Association conference.  Now I’m here in Maryland yet I feel as if I’m getting the best out of this conference because she is using Twitter to share some real gems.  Currently she is in the Renewing Your Involvement in the Reference Interview presentation.  Reading her tweets have been great so I thought I’d post some here and include my two cents/my observations as someone who used to work the customer service desk for many years.

#alla09 Tweets from MLx in bold

(my 2 cents follow)


people don’t come to the ref desk because they are uncomfortable or consider the staff ‘unhelpful’

(As someone who worked the circulation [now called customer service desk] for many years I can’t tell you how many times a customer sounded very reluctant to “bother” the librarian – they appeared as busy because they were sitting behind a computer screen.  Found this interesting since the circulation staff stands behind a computer but since they had to come to us to checkout they were able to strike up conversations easier.)

when patrons ask ‘where are the encyclopedias’ they probably don’t need the encyclopedias

(Good point.  People in general use terminology that is comfortable to them or is an euphemism for what they really want.  This is why the interview process of asking open ended questions is vital in helping our customer get what they need.  This is the same no matter which desk you work (circ, children’s, info, etc.).)

Ask how much time the patron has for the ref interview. “Librarians like to look for things, patrons like to find things”

(This goes for the customer service desk as well.  When registering a new customer it is an opportunity to share with them what your library has to offer.  Offer to take them on a tour of your building or walk them to the information desk.  But only after finding out how much time they have.  Don’t assume because they are here they have all the time in the world.  They may only have a few moments before picking up Janie from ___ to get a card and a DVD. Offer them choices – don’t have a lot of time here let me get what you need quickly – have a bit more time let me give you a tour.)

Prof sent ‘secret shoppers’ who were MLS students to libraries in search of ref interviews that lived up to RUSA standards – overall they found many librarians approachable and interested, that they excelled in searching – secret students were exposed to ‘librarian’s disease’ during the ref interview (too much information)

(Again anything applied at the Information desk can be applied to any customer service desk.  Librarians aren’t the only ones to can give too much information.  I’ve seen Circulation staff do the same thing.  Listen to what the customer is saying, ask those probing questions before you respond. )

users believe that if they find the physical location of the type of information that they can find the actual info on their own

(Amen to that.  I’m very much like that.  If I can find the section in any store/business/library than I can usually find what I want.  If I can’t then I ask.)

avoid respond immediately and without clarification to the question unless you’re sure you’ve interpreted correctly

(Goes back to my previous comment - Listen to what the customer is saying, ask those probing questions before you respond.)

don’t confuse the user with library jargon during the ref interview

(As a profession we are ALL guilty of this one no matter which desk we work.  Customers don’t know what Circulation is but use terms like checkout, returns, etc.  I love how some libraries are making sure their signage reflects this.  Reminds me of how I describe what tagging in the Web 2.0 world is about.)

The library homepage might be the first step in the ref interview.

(What a fabulous idea!  I really like this and want to explore it with our Public Relations team and our web programmer.)

The most difficult reference interview is when a parent tries to get the info for a child.

(I’ve witnessed this.  Fault can lie on both sides.  Parents mean well and that can leave staff unsure to whom they should direct their questions.  Parents need to butt out.  Library staff need to converse with the person (no matter what the age) that needs or is going to use the information.  Not an easy situation when some parents are very pushy.)


I’m sure this was a great session to attend in person but I got a lot out of it miles and miles away.  Thanks to Twitter and MLx!

Twitter About Friendfeed So Facebook Can Flickr YouTube aka CIL2009 presentation

Now that I’ve had a chance to decompress, find my notes and get some email dealt with I thought I’d post about my presentation at CIL2009.  I had the sincere pleasure of working with not only two talented professionals but two people I now consider good friends – Michael Sauers and Bobbi Newman.   Our presentation dealt with training both staff and customers in regards to the wild, wonderful world of Web 2.0.  More portion of the trilogy dealt with training the customer.

Here are a few links I promised I’d share with people – hope these help you to educate your customers about Web 2.0.

Presentations:

My portion of the presentation

Entire presentation (including Michael and Bobbi’s slides)

My presentation for the public (customers) on Web 2.0 overview

Handouts:

Overview of Web 2.0 class

Photo/video sharing class

Music sharing class

Social Networking class

Next Best Thing To Being There

I tweeted this morning that I was working on more photos from #CIL2009 (Computers in Libraries) and #JointSpringConference (Joint Spring Conference).  I got a reply to my tweet from @webmaster_ref asking to let him know when I had uploaded them.  He appreciated seeing all the tweets that were hashtagged #CIL2009 and the photos that were going up on Flickr.

I too have felt like the only one NOT attending a conference that my peers were attending.  Their blogs, tweets, YouTube videos and Flickr photos help to feel not totally out of the loop.  Of course nothing can replace the actual benefits of attending a conference (all the ideas you are exposed to, learns you learn to do and not to do regarding presenting, networking you do and friends you make).  One friend only Twittered during the conference and even setup a separate Twitter account so his other followers weren’t bombarded with #CIL2009 stuff.

What started as just a way to for me to record my experience at a conference, I’m now seeing in a different light.  With economic times hitting libraries hard these days I think it’s almost a duty of those who do attend to inform those of us who are left behind.  So if I can’t go to Internet Librarian 2009 I hope all my tweeps, freeps, fbookers and blog friends will do their best to make me like I’m there.

Wannabee

103_0467I wanna be 2.0 Too! Web Services for Underfunded Libraries presented by Sarah Houghton-Jan (Track E101) @ #CIL2009. In these economic times we are all either smaller (downsizing) or underfunded.  So this will be my first attempt at live blogging.

10 Laws using LOLcatz

#1 Talk w/customers (email, IM, VOIP, chat widgets, video chat w/skype, aim, text messaging) no account required, point of service, always have fun with them

chat widgets at null results page – keep the frustration down by offering an option to contact a real person – where do they get the most angry – offer this – email, phone better than nothing at all

text messaging more popular than email

reference services as well as circulation notices via SMS

#2 Interact with Customers

comments on everything, respond like a human being, online book clubs with a mix of staff & customers – conversation, give you their opinions, LibraryThing

Blogs – like Highly Recommended – encourage staff participation – offer template w/tags and categories, welcome feedback/conversation from customers

equal footing – able to talk to them

#3 Be Engaged

EngagedPatrons.org

Events Calendar with online registration

Blogs,

Google Maps

#3 Be Social

interact on their own term – interact w/young crowd, Club Penguin, Tee Bee Dee,

about change, communication, about sharing – keep doing that or you will lose your fans.

pointer back to your web site or resources

advertising extremely cheap – target your town, zip code whatever

$10 = 5,000 facebook flyers

#4 Use Multimedia

photographs, images, podcasts vidcasts, games – photos make it more popular – stimulates interactions – power of imagery

virtual shelf on the flickr account – notes go back to catalog

Design contest for logo of teen program – voting on it using Flickr – used comments section

Exploit image generators

generatorblog.blogspot.com

imagegenerator.org

imagechef.com

freeafterrebate web site – 1 for shipping

#6

Offer treatsies

shiny objects, new stuff, hot stuff – ask them what they want, then find them some

Staff Avatars – answer question, fav. movie, color then posted on site – can you recognize the librarian

My Account text messages “sexy”

#7 Exploit the Fee

tinypic, Google, WordPress, bravenet, onestatfree, statcounter, analytics, sites, webmaster central, gimp, polldaddy, colorblender, yousendit, webmonkey, survey mokeny, zoomerang, openphoto, dzone, imageafter, grogrammableweb, stock.xchng, zamzar

Tap into the Google wonderland

#8 Respect Customers

you never know when you’re lunch

expect the best, not the worst

treat customers with respect, regardless of age of which services they use

let them comment – go in after the fact and edit- policy no curse words but don’t over react. kids are users too

#9 Choices

how to contact you

how you communicate with them

how they find things online

what they find online (content & format)

multiple paths to same content – people think in different ways

Mashups = Choices

Library Elf

Library Look up

LibX Toolbar

Good Catalog = Choices

Aquabrowser

Endeca

LibraryThing for Libraries

VuFind

WorldCat Local

#10 Keep Going

try new things, pushing administrators, rejoice in failures (means you are pushing the boundaries)- we learned what they didn’t want but you will also learn what they do want by trying

we work for Admin but also our users

Day 1 CIL2009 Or What the Wind Blew In

Had to take a later train than normal since I dropped my son off at high school.  Luck would have it they had just recently changed the Dorsey MARC station over from a manned (or womanned) ticket taker to a kiosk.  Well I must say the kiosk wasn’t very user friendly.  It wasn’t just me but several I saw struggle with it.  Literally was the last person to jump on the train.

As Stuart Ragland, from Enoch Pratt Free Library, and I are finding our seats I look to the left to see a very familiar face.  Sean McGovern a friend who works in DC was also on the same train.  Small world.

Rush through Union Station to the metro then the fun of trying to remember which side of the track you need to get on to go in the right direction.  Finally emerged from Crystal City station to a very windy Virginia.  Literally I think the wind blew every inch of curl out of my hair while it pushed us this way and that down the street to the Hyatt Regency.

After receiving my conference pass, with speaker and blogger ribbons (whoo hoo first year for both) I made my way downstairs to hear a bit of Lee Raine’s keynote speach.  Wireless is living up to it’s reputation like last year – took about 5 tries to connect.  Can’t remember how many wifi access points they had last year but they have at least 8 going this year.

Now for a brief moment to catch my breath before diving head first into a busy day of attending, blogging, and networking (f2f and virtual).

Photography Leads to Micro-Blogging

Last night I volunteered to help my photography mentor with a class she was instructing in how to use Flickr.  With a hands-on class it always helps to have an extra set of eyes, hands and legs to walk the room and help students.  I was more than happy to help.  Not only did I coerce…umm, suggest that she teach the class but it gave me yet another chance for her to impart her years of photography experience on me.

When the class was over I wound up talking to several people and registering them for her next class (sure sign things went well).  She had billed me as “the web 2.0 guru”, a name I wear proudly and several ladies asked me when I was going to teach my web 2.0 class.  One woman in particular wanted to know if I would teach about Twitter.  I was thrilled to hear that word (one of my favorite web 2.0 sites that I feel has such potential).  So when I got a tweet from Mashable, I thought how timely.

10 Ways to Build Your Blog Community with Twitter stressed many of the points I would have made.  The first 3 bolded paragraphs are just a start but each of the ten bullet points bring home good reasons to use Twitter as well.  I’ll be passing this blog post along to my photography mentor.  Why you may ask?  Because she is also the editor of our readers advisory blog at the Library, Highly Recommended.

Who Moved My Facebook?

I must be the exception to the norm.  I have yet to be phased by any of the changes that Facebook has made to their site.  That’s not to say that I think all their changes have been needed or even warranted.  It is the one site where I seem to just go with the flow.

There are enough people, however, each time change comes that get upset when someone moves their cheese.  They create pages, groups, applications to announce their displeasure.  Is this such a bad thing?  At first I would have said yes but then I got to thinking.  What better way to get feedback from your users?!  Most web sites are lucky if someone takes the time to fill out a contact us form.  Facebook fans take full advantage of Web 2.0.  Maybe the rest of the web could take a page from Facebook and think of more ways to allow our users to express pleasure or displeasure.

I hardly see Facebook changing back (but you never know enough of an uproar might make a difference).  It will be interesting to monitor this.  I am one for change and don’t mind just going with the flow.  All I ask is just don’t expect me to comment, start a group or create an application – unless it is “I Went With the Flow – Facebook Changes Don’t Phase Me” flair.  :)

On a Wing and a Prayer

I was asked by my boss to fill in for her filling in for the original speaker at the Third Annual ACS Conference.  I was happy to do so even if I didn’t have much notice.  I had to take slides from the original presenter and talk about how Howard County Library has implemented 4 different Web 2.0 applications (blogs, Facebook, Wiki and Google Docs).  Web 2.0, right up my alley!  I wrote up some quick notes this morning and knew that my passion would carry me through “winging it”.

It was great to be part of a panel that presented how our different organizations were using Web 2.0 to reach their customers or constituents.  Sites like Digg, Technorati, Facebook, My Space, Google, StumbleUpon, SlideShare, Delicious, Scribd, Yahoo, and Issuu were mentioned.  Tools such as widgets, wikis  and Twitter were also mentioned.  I loved hearing how The Horizon Foundation was using widgets to important Yahoo feed or Delicious bookmark feed into their CERN site.  Columbia Festival for the Arts uses YouTube and the Internet to research artists instead of being inundated by tons of press releases, cds and dvds.  The participants asked lots of questions and they appeared to eagerly lap up all the information the presenters had to give.  I walked away with a warm fuzzy knowing all that Web 2.0 can do for non-profits organizations was shared today.

Although I’m sorry for the family emergency that kept the original presenter from being here today, I was thrilled for the opportunity.  Not only to present about my favorite topic (Web 2.0) but to see what others in our community are doing with it.

Photos from ACS Conference

More Than a Marriage of Convenience

car_just_married
Oh joy, joy.  Oh, happy day.  Thanks to corephp‘s tweet I am in 7th heaven.  Two of my favorite open source products just got married.  WordPress is now available for Joomla 1.5.  This couldn’t come at a better time since I’ve been working on a Joomla 1.5 for our Choose Civility (this is the old site) initiative at Howard County Library.  Ron Nicodemus, of Nicodemus Communications Group, had suggested that we include a blog for the new Choose Civility site.  Originally we had wanted to use the blog component inherent in Joomla but to be honest it isn’t the greatest.

I have installed, maintained and tweaked 6 WordPress blogs for the library.  I use WordPress.com for my own blog.  So needless to say having WordPress be a part of Joomla (been involved with 5 Joomla sites for work) is a dream come true.  This is a great marriage and I look forward to celebrating their union.  Mazal tov!

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