Libraries & Transliteracy & Red Shoes

So what exactly do red high heel shoes have to do with transliteracy and libraries?  Well other than they were worn by the lovely Bobbi Newman, Digital Branch Manager of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries, who presented with a passion about this subject – well nothing I guess.  But they got your attention!

Bobbi Newman, Buffy Hamilton and Matt Hamliton hoped they got everyone’s attention regarding this very important subject of being literate across platforms, across media (hey, even Lee Rainie Monday’s keynote speaker talked about it).  No longer is the library’s role to make sure people can read but that they can use a computer, digital camera, iPad, mp3 player, cell phone, and much, much more.

More and more people are turning to libraries for help in regards to technology and we as librarians and educators need to be ready for this.

My tweets from this great and important session (unfortunately either the wifi gave up or Twhirl did because when Buffy got up to talk about transliteracy in schools I tried switching to tweeting via my mobile phone – no luck.)

Flickr pics from the session.

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CIL 2010 Where Did the Time Go?

Here I am on the last day of #CIL2010 wondering where did the time go?  I’ve managed only one other blog post other than this one, I’ve taken several photos but haven’t finished loading them on my pc let alone editing them and I haven’t even begun to upload them to Flickr or Facebook?  So what the heck have I been doing with all my time?

1.  Commuting.  Getting up at 4;30 or 5:00 so I can hopefully make it there in time for the keynote speakers takes a good chunk out of my day.  Trying to coordinate Marc train and metro schedules so I’m not stuck in VA then figuring out the best time to drive down or back to Northwest Baltimore County has convinced me that I could never work in DC/VA.  3 hours or more to get somewhere, work 8 hours there and then 3 hours back home – how do these people have lives?!

2.  Attending.  Been trying to get in as many sessions in as possible.  For some reason this year it seems like I’ve barely had a time between sessions to pack up my stuff and move to the next session let along blog.  Thankfully I’ve been able to Twitter some of the sessions (wifi has been spotty at best).  Several sessions I was able to Tweet the first speaker but then the wifi craps out so the second or more speakers only got notes taken which I haven’t had time to transfer to this blog.

3.  Networking.  One of the best parts of conferences but somewhat frowned upon by the folks who pay for it , is the networking opportunities that arise.  Be they table-con, lobby-con, exhibit-con, floor-con — all of these are important.  Having a chance to speak the same language with someone in your field, to learn new ideas, to challenge old ones or just simply make a new friend can’t be measured.  Those networks associations can blossom into speaking engagements, contacts, or resources that will help you in your job.  I even stayed late Tuesday night to participate in the T is for Training podcast.  It was a historical episode as it was the longest one we’ve recorded for 90 minutes.

So I’ve been a busy girl just haven’t had a moment to play catch up.  Problem is when I get back to work I’ll have to dive right back into Polaris training – here’s hoping I find a moment here and there to post some more or upload pics.

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White Houses of Wilde Lake

Day 3 of Library Day in the Life

I got to work plenty early so I decided to swing by Wilde Lake to see if I could snap a few shots.  The white houses along the lake front caught my eye and I liked their reflection.  I try to participate in Momentile each day so this was my ‘Tile of the day yesterday.  After about 15 mins. I was sufficiently frozen so I hopped back in my car and drive down the street to the library.

Realized when I pulled into the parking lot that Wilde Lake was a venue in Foursquare so I cheated a little and checked in (well I had been there – have the photographic proof).  I waited until I got in the building to check in as the Mayor of Howard County Central Library.

Unlocked the elevator and office door.  Unforwarded the helpdesk phone and swapped out the tapes on both the Horizon and Authority Work servers.

Gave into the Diet Coke addiction once again but alas the staff lounge soda machine was out.  So I had to run back upstairs and get my keys so I could unlock the front grate and get some from the vending machine in the lobby.

Back to my desk – booted up both my Ubuntu and Windows machines.  Per usual opened Tweetdeck, Thunderbird and Firefox on the Ubuntu machine.  Checked our helpdesk tickets on the Staff Intranet and assigned it to one of my co-workers.

Had realized on the drive in this morning that our interim boss wasn’t part of the IT alias so I made sure to add her to it so she could be on top of things.

Checked my Gmail and approved a comment for my blog so while I was in there I blogged about Tuesday.

Noticed that my Windows machine needed a java update so I let that run.

Registered for a Zemanta account and updated my preferences on my blog.  I really have to thank John LeMasney for introducing me to Zemanta.  I love how it finds Creative Commons only images so I can put them in my blog.  I go back and comment on that person’s Flickr account thanking them for using creative commons license and letting them know I used their image for a blog post.

Got a call on the helpdesk line that one of the new info desk computers wasn’t working.  It was flashing red instead of having a solid green light.  Wasn’t booting up to the desktop.  Don’t know why it was doing this because when I went out there I turned it off – counted to 10 turned it back on and it booted up fine.  Guess we’ll have to keep an eye on it.

Edited and uploaded the above picture to Momentile.

Had a short but interesting conversation via Twitter with @librarianbyday and @GMLGeek about using Foursquare in libraries.  I had sent info about Foursquare to our PR dept as well as the Teen Programmer (thought it could be a fun tool to use with Summer Reader at some point).

Checked in my overdue (*bad library worker*) items via Horizon.  Checked out reserve that had come in for me via Marina (our statewide ILL system).

Ran an errand (the bank) across the street and of course checked in via Foursquare.

Updated the usability testing sheets to reflect the changes I had made at the end of the previous day to our new Staff Intranet.

Worked with @Julian2 capturing photos of the scan feature on our new copiers.  We are putting together instructions for staff/customers.

Started editing the photos I took of the copier.

Observed the first usability test of the day.  As always such an interesting process – everyone is so different.  However, we are getting a sense that 90% of the site is spot-on just need to tweak the remaining 10%.

Got an IM from staff member in Admin asking if our network admin was in the UK (he does have family there).  No, he was standing right behind me.  Got 2 phone calls from other staff asking about our network admin.  Turned out his old Facebook account had someone gotten reactivated (not by him) and someone was scamming people with this old scam.   Posted information including the video to front page of our Staff Intranet, as well as, my Facebook page and on Twitter just to let people know that this wasn’t our co-worker scamming folks.

Gobbled down a quick lunch before our first IT meeting with our new interim boss.

IT meeting – went over a few loose ends from our old boss, she had plenty of questions regarding projects we were working on and we each brought her up to date on the projects.

Got a call from HR to update Intranet and web site to reflect old boss’s position being vacant.

Off to our Glenwood branch to do the second usability test of the day.  Our web programmer and I sat down afterwards and discussed what changes we thought might need to be made, how we should move forward considering his work schedule.

Went home but stopped by Food Lion (again checked in with Foursquare) to pick up some nuts for my husband (one of his favorite snacks).  Picked up an extra jar as a small thank you to our web programmer for all his help on the Intranet (and for putting up with me in general).

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What a Weird Strange Trip It’s Been

The brain child of Bobbi Newman (aka LibrarianbyDay) is going on again this week.  Library workers all over the world are recording their days so people can understand all the different duties we do.  So let the fun begin with round 4 of Library Day in the Life (via blogs, Twitter, Flickr and other social web sites).

Monday January 25, 2010

My day started way too early for my taste.  Maryland was under a flood warning due to heavy rains during the night.  Since our basement tends to flood when we have flash floods (ground water levels rise too quickly and spill into our laundry room) I was waking up every hour and checking the water levels.  So my day actually started around 3am – considering I didn’t go to sleep until 12 midnight this didn’t bode well.  Luckily we didn’t have any flooding problems and I didn’t have to turn on the sump pump.

Crawled back to bed around 4:30 only to have the alarm go off at 5am and then the patter of 8 legs and 2 wet noses assured me that I wasn’t going to snooze the morning away.

Went downstairs and let the 8 legs out (Lab mix and an English Springer Spaniel).  This was a bit funny to watch as the Lab mix hates to get wet (sure she’s a Lab??) and the wind didn’t go over with her either.  She basically did her business real quick and came back to stand right next to the door.  Had to hunt down her sister who doesn’t mind getting wet but hates the wind.  Had to force her outside and she wouldn’t go unless “big doggie” was out there too.

Turned on my Wii to weigh myself and found I had lost 3.3 lbs for a total of 10.2 lbs in 3 weeks!  So I immediately ran upstairs to my computer to log into Weight Watchers and record my progress.  Happy to know my indulgent night out on Friday hadn’t hurt me as much as I thought it would.

Let very sad-looking dogs back in.  Went downstairs to check the water levels again.  We dodged a bullet this time!

Upstairs to shower, dry and set hair in curlers (thinking that it will be pointless with all the rain and wind but what the heck).

Back down to feed dogs, watch morning local news WBAL-TV, and fix breakfast.

After several attempts of trying get hubby out the door (he forgot his cell phone and couldn’t find it) finally saw him off.

Upstairs to do hair, makeup, brush teeth and get dressed.  Away we go – took back roads which was littered with debris from trees because of the high wind gusts.

Reach the library parking lot at 7:25 am and checked in as Mayor of Howard County Library Central on Foursquare.

Unlocked the elevator, rode up to unlock office door.

I had morning duties which included  putting in the cleaning tapes and swapping out the backup tapes on 2 servers, unforwarding the helpline phone (goes to one of IT’s cell phones for nights and weekends – we answer it in person during the day).  Fired up my 2 machines (running Ubuntu and Windows).

In desperate need of caffeine but with only a $5 bill I went downstairs to see if the only two other people in the building had change so I could get a Diet Coke.  Alas no luck so back up one flight to get ice from the ice maker and Diet Ginger Ale 😦

Back at my desk I log into Tweetdeck, work email via Thunderbird, Gmail and open Firefox which loads Staff Intranet, iGoogle and Meebo.com.  Check the IT helpdesk to see if there were any tickets over the weekend that needed to be assigned.

On to the rest of the morning duties which include checking Day End in Horizon, checking servers remotely to make sure backups had completed, making sure that notices from Unique and AquaBrowser arrived.

Tweeted a reminder to participate in Library Day in the Life round 4.

Started working on the bounceback emails.   A lot from the weekend so Mondays always takes a while.  Have to remove email account from Horizon record, put a block on their account asking for new email address and forward any hold notifications to our ILL dept. so they can force a printed notice which would then be mailed to the customer.

Then the bittersweet part of the day really began.  Previous Friday my boss let us know that she had resigned her position at Howard County Library and would be working for PTFS.  She was asked to come in Monday for an exit interview.  Her kids wanted to stop by and visit one last time with us all.  Nice to get my Hannah and Darren hugs.  I am happy for her as I know this new job will use her skill set better than her old one but it was still a shock to think of her not being here.  I feel like I lost a boss and a friend.

Reviewed my RSS feeds but found nothing earth shattering for the day or maybe the weird mood and lack of sleep just made me feel blah towards things going on in the world.

Ran to the bank across the street to get money for our lunch – we took our now ex-boss out to lunch to wish her farewell and good luck.  Food was great but our mood in general was just dismal – guess it matched the weather.  While eating lunch we laughed some (seemed when the sun poked its head out) and were contemplative about what this all meant for those left (seemed to happen when the skies clouded up again).

Back to work.  Worked on an open helpdesk ticket that was assigned to me (removing my boss from email aliases) not my favorite helpdesk ticket to work on.  Then assigned another ticket that came in to the appropriate IT staff person.

Updated the IT blog on our staff Intranet which the latest entry was my boss’s resignation (she asked that I change some wording for her).

HR came over to speak with each of us.  Just wanted to know how we were doing and to let us know that things would be okay.

Hugged our now former boss goodbye.

After the password to her email address was changed, I went about moving over shared emails to my account (that I needed) and moving a shared folder she had created to the Admin account so that all of IT could link to these shared files again.

I left to go home with a heavy heart.  I’ll find out tomorrow what the plan is for my department during the time of transition.

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Noticings – Game or Sociologist’s Pipe Dream?

noticings
Image by Ben Terrett via Flickr

I read a blog post at Next Web that peaked my curiosity as a budding photographer.  It was this game called Noticings and the main point behind it was to slow down, look around then document via camera/camera phone what you noticed. I immediately thought what a great way to not only give me more practice with my camera but to do something I really need to do when taking pictures – S L OW DOWN!

There are a few rules which are in flux (e.g. a noticing isn’t a person, you can’t submit more than 1 photo of a thing, etc.) and points are awarded for different criteria (being noticed, being the 1st noticing in a neighborhood, etc.).  But the thing that is most interesting (other than the excuse to get out and take some photos) are the people.  Since the rules are in flux and they have a Get Satisfaction site set up to take questions as well as suggestions,  a sociologist could have a field day there.  Human nature is always something fun to watch and this game let’s you enjoy it as well as some interesting photographs.

As the creators have said, everyone has their own definition of what a “noticing” is.  One man’s interesting is another’s ordinary.  I have to remind myself of that some days since there are no real die hard rules.  It is interesting to see what playing a game with no real rules brings out in people – humans tend to be naturally competitive.  But I play not to compete (I’ve been at the bottom and the top of the standings) but in order to practice the craft or art of photography and make myself slow down (some days I succeed at this and others I do not).  So why don’t you play along and see what you notice.

Interesting links:

Noticings web site

Unofficial Flick group

Noticings clusters on Flickr

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#sillyhatday October 21

Winner of the Silly Hats Competition
Image by Arty Smokes via Flickr

@strnglibrarian mentioned on Twitter that she was cooking up some department fun at MarylandAskUsNow! She wants to have crazy hat day and karaoke night.  She invited the Twitterverse to call her the Queen of Positive Vibes and Silly Fun.  So I did.  And she is.  Her attitude is infectious and comes across not only on her blog, her Tweets but in the customer service and leadership she provides at Maryland AskUsNow!

So the gauntlet has been thrown down.  Let’s make October 21st officially Silly Hat Day.  Take a picture of yourself in a silly hat and post it to Twitter and tag it #sillyhatday.  Why?  Well, why not?  More importantly let this fun and a bit of play infect your work that day.  Let it spill over into your customer service with the public.  Sometimes being a little be unexpected is just what is needed.  It helps to shake up the status quo, helps put a smile on your face which in turn can be just what the customer needs (be it an internal or external customer) to have a bright spot in their day.

So show your creativity – make your own or buy a silly hat, wear it on 10/21, take a picture and post it on Twitter or Flickr or other social web sites.  Don’t forget to tag it #sillyhatday.  Have fun and hats off to you!

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Home Away From Home – Day 2

Ah, day two and it should have started off better.  Knew I had to leave a bit early from home to drop my son off at his Dad’s new house.  Still trying to figure out best routes to and from his house.  This morning with the hazy fog it didn’t help and I was a few minutes late getting to work.

EntranceFirst one in the office this morning.  Dropped my stuff at my work space and scurried to get to the morning duties (I had switched days with a co-worker).  Unforwarded the helpdesk phone and then proceeded to swap the tapes on both the Horizon and Authority Works servers.

This was to be my IT @ Admin day so I needed to focus on the morning duties and get them out of the way.  Once logged into my Ubuntu and Windows machines I did a quick cursory check of email (no dire messages).  I then proceeded to do the morning duties (just like yesterday).

Once they were out of the way I checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned them accordingly to my co-workers (seems some days I get a lot and others I don’t – it all evens out in the end).  Opened Twirl so I can peruse Twitter (both my personal account – @mlibrarianus and the library’s official account @HoCo_Library).  Then I queued up a Tweet for the library’s account using TweetFunnel.

Our Network Administrator came into the office and had mentioned that we had a power outage (clock in the workroom before ours was behind).   PACs were showing red on PACMON (our own montioring system that our web programmer wrote) but luckily the Day End computer finished running Day End before the power outage (having to run day end in the morning before people start logging into Horizon is not a fun thing to coordinate).

I proceeded to work on the email bouncebacks.  I’m still amazed at how many we get.  Are that many people really changing their email addresses and not updating them with us or what?  Still trying to figure out the best way to ensure our customers get notified without this having to deal with bouncebacks.  It is a labor intensive process that should not be handled by IT.  Haven’t come up with the answer as I know that there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tweet that made me chuckle.  I don’t normally follow the trends on Twitter but this one caught my eye #verydullbands.  Some were pretty good.  tumour seemed to be on a roll.  Time to head to our Administrative office in the East Columbia Branch and be the IT guru of the day (each of us takes turns spending a day at Admin helping with computer/software related issues that arise).

Home away from homeAfter getting my lunch in the fridge and things settled into the IT cubicle, I logged into the Ubuntu machine we have set aside for us.  Last time I was there I used Good OS – as if Google and Mac had a love child this would be it.  I really liked the operating system and having the Google gadgets.  Alas I was back to our staff desktop version of Ubuntu which is nice too.

Queued up another tweet for the library’s official account (which is approved by our Public Relations dept. and released to the Twitterverse).   Talked to a colleague who had heard I’d been recently to Spain recently and was thinking of going.  So I sent her a link to my photos from Espana on Flickr.

Consulted with fellow IT co-worker about iTouch and our collaborative software, DeskNow.  He had a Blackberry and wasn’t familiar with the iTouch.  Went around the Admin office asking staff if they had an iPhone or iTouch.  Found someone in Public Relations that had an iTouch who was able to help with the question another staff member had asked me.  I won’t mention my extreme jealousy of those with the iPhone or Blackberry (I soooo miss my Blackberry).

Helped another colleague with a PrintNow problem.  Think the delay was due to her Java update message wanting attention.  Once I clicked on that PrintNow printed the screen shot she needed.  Stopped by the cubicle of our Training Coordinator to discuss a request that had come up in my visits to the branches regarding our Staff Intranet.  She was open to the suggestion that the less formal “Lunch and Learns” be part of the training calendar as well as a notice on the Staff Intranet.

ITBack to my cubicle.  Checked on the Merlin site since I was playing admin while Nini Beegan was on vacation.  Cleaned up a bunch of registered users that were clearly spammers.

Consulted with web programmer and network administrator about the best way to get a new image onto our PAC screensavers.  The library’s unofficial (yet very professional and wonderfully talented) photography, Fritzi Newton, had taken shots of each of our 6 branches along with iconic views of our county and mixed them with photos she was able to obtain from Enoch Pratt.  She put these altogether as a screensaver for our public computers.  There was wording on each saying where the photo was taken.  After 2 years of these being out there for the public someone had realized that one of the slides had Maryland misspelled.  Fritzi corrected this and gave us the new image (with correctly spelled state) to use.

Realized I hadn’t really talked to our staff at Admin about the revamping the Staff Intranet.  I had been to all the branches to get feedback so I wondered around the office and talked to different staff.  Along the way I helped with a couple browser settings.  The one feature that I love on our Intranet was one that I pointed out to several folks.  Our web programmer had created a staff directory – the staff search box searches that directory.  So if you don’t know what branch, the phone number, the exact spelling of their email, what title they have, etc you can search for a person (last name or first name or full name) and see all of that plus a picture.  I convinced several people that using the staff directory search was 100 times easier than scrolling through the phone list.  This made me realize that this well used by many but missed by some box needed a more prominent spot on our Intranet.  So I moved that up further on the left hand side along with moving the Quick Links further to the top as well.  These are just temporary stop gaps until we revamp the whole Intranet.

LUNCH!

Assigned to myself and closed helpdesk ticket regarding receiving spam from old email address.  *sigh* The only 100% sure fire way to not receive spam is to not use email.

Played telephone tag with the editor of our reader’s advisory blog, Highly Recommended, regarding a few tweaks and a new idea that had come up in a meeting.  Then I went about interviewing more of the Admin staff about our Intranet and what ideas they might have.

Dealt with calendar settings for two people in Public Relations.  They didn’t have a box checked so the calendar invites were not showing up on their calendars the way they should.

Debunked an Urban Legend that was sent via email to IT.  I love Snopes.com.  I used to hang out on their bulletin board and I do miss the folks from there.

Discussed ideas with the Events & Seminars Manager about the use of voice recorders regarding local authors.  Getting them to read excerpts from their books or interviews with them as part of a podcast.

Answered an email from staff about the spam filtering option setting in our email.  Explained that we use Barracuda, spam filter, on the main email server so there is no need to use the one provided by DeskNow (if you do it actually creates more work).

Decided to make another change to the current Staff Intranet (that was brought up by staff at the branch) and managed to not screw it up.  Deleted code and things still worked properly.  Then I got a little too confident and removed some more – this time I did screw it up.  THANKFULLY, our web programmer who has the patience of a saint with me was able to figure out what I did wrong and fix it.

Way past time for me to go, so I turned off my machine and headed home.  I had to pack and drive to PA that night since I going with my parents the next morning to the hospital.  My Mother was having a biopsy of her lung done.  Here’s hoping it all goes well and the results are good.

A Day in the Life – Take Two

day in the life: and the colored girls sang do...
Image by emdot via Flickr

The 2nd Annual Library Day in the Life started today. Same rules apply – “whether you are a librarian or library worker of any kind, help us share and learn about the joys and challenges of working in a library.” So after a full day of work, walking of the dogs, mowing part of our 2 acres, fixing dinner and cleaning up I finally sat down to watch “The Hunting Party” episode of  season two of Lost while I put my notes into a blog post.

Monday July 27, 2009

Got to work just before 7:30 am to find that I wasn’t the only early bird this morning.  Julian Clark (who is also participating in this via Twitter – @julian2) was in before me and already hard at work.

  • Swapped out the backup tapes and exchanged last week’s set for the new set for both the Horizon and the Authority Works servers.
  • Put a new sheet up for the server room temperature sheet (librarian in charge has to record the temp once a day to ensure the servers stay cool)
  • Unforward the helpdesk phone line (gets forward after hours to one of IT’s cell phones)
  • Performed the morning duties for Monday
  • Headed to Staff Lounge to get a mug full of ice for my homemade green tea with lime
  • Settled into my desk – logged into both my Ubuntu and Windows machines
  • Checked voice mail – one call from the Head of Collection Services in response to a question about what we do when titles are no longer available from OverDrive
  • Checked email (both work and Gmail)
  • Checked to see if there any pending helpdesk tickets to assign (luckily there were none)
  • Using Twirl I Twittered about Library Day in the Life (smiled when armylibrarian retweeted my tweet about Library Day in the Life)
  • Sent email (per Central Library Manager’s request) to rest of the Howard County Library signage committee about the cool picture I found of Seattle Public Library’s call no. floor mats
  • Checked Flickr, Facebook and Twitter and rss feeds (social|median and RWW)
  • Dugg a couple of worthy articles
  • Updated Online Request a title for your bookclub form on library’s web site
  • Reviewed Si fStaff Intranet) for submissions that may need to be published  and cleaned up expired announcements
  • Went to our Miller Branch to take the last Library101 photos
  • Got back to Central Library about 15 minutes after we had opened (due to budget restrictions we are now opening at 10 am instead of 9 am) and got one of the few remaining parking spaces (we are loved!)
  • Worked on email bouncebacks notices (always a lot after the weekend) – remove the address from customer’s account, put block on the account asking for an updated email address
  • Responded to email from the Executive Director and CEO about how to get an important presentation to the architects before the 1pm meeting
  • Took call from librarian at the main information desk – problem with receipt printer and trapping hold – conflict between the printer and keyboard
  • Just got back to desk when the fiction desk called with a problem – not sure what happened as they said they couldn’t trap hold but when I was there had no problem (didn’t hear anything more from them about this issue)
  • Queued up several Tweets for the library’s official Twitter account – @HoCo_Library
  • Email to head of collection services about removing titles from catalog that aren’t part of Overdrive anymore.
  • Closed 2 helpdesk tickets regarding customer question and error message with OverDrive – one could have been found by looking through the help section
  • Finally some lunch and my guilty pleasure of playing Bejeweled Blitz on Faceboo
  • Answered IM question from librarian about OpenOffice and adding page numbers.   Found answer by Googling – gee, why didn’t the librarian do that?
  • Wrote another Tweet for the library’s official account
  • Edited and uploaded images I took at Miller Branch for Library101 video project
  • Wrote post for Open Source blog – waiting review
  • Sent email to staff that had pictures taken for library101 w/link to Flickr
  • Resized library101 images and uploaded to facebook
  • Updated email alias and closed helpdesk ticket – didn’t need to update – realized I forgot to update the mailing list (not just the group in Deksnow)
  • Worked on some AOL bounced backs – people forget that they sign up for email notices from the library then they mark us as spam
  • Closed another helpdesk ticket about OverDrive – seems like the problems come in batches
  • Fixed email mailing list so all names display on staff intranet
  • Investigated how we managed to have Maryland spelled incorrectly on one of our PAC screensavers for the last couple of yrs.
  • Surfing web sites to get ideas for navigation for our new staff intranet – using stumbleupon

After 3:30 pm so it’s time to go home.  WHEW, what a day.

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More Than Just Addition

Deep Down Inside, We All Love Math T-Shirt Design
Image by Network Osaka via Flickr

Anyone who knows me understands that math is not my strong suit.  However, there is more to using social web sites than just adding a post, a picture, a video.  What you really need to do is multiply!

Multiply your readers, visitors, followers or friends by making sure you add as much information as possible.  For example Flickr – don’t just add your photos and call it a day.  At the bare minimum you should include a catchy title (hate when I see img_0875.jpg as title), add a tag or two (being the self-professed tag whore I would say add as many as you can) and include the picture on the map.  Why?  Because by doing any of those things you can make it just a little bit easier for someone to find you, your pictures, your web site – object isn’t to make it harder for your customers (audience) but easier.

Make your audience’s search a bit easier.  If I did a search for Jackson Pollock because my child attended a class at the library and there were photos being taken, I would expect that those photos should show up in the search results somewhere.  Well, they won’t if I don’t use it in the title, description or tags.  If I leave the title as img_0875.jpg – what does that mean to anyone who isn’t a camera?  Refusing to add a description or at least a few tags leaves my audience not getting the search results they expect.

This goes for personal accounts as well as organizational accounts.  Not everyone searches the same way.  Some people will type a name into a search box, some will explore a site and dig around (but not for too long if they don’t find what they want) – the point is everyone is unique and they come at their information gathering in a different way.  So don’t expect people to KNOW you have an account on Flickr and they’ll find your photostream – maybe they’ll stumble upon you while searching tags or exploring the map.  They won’t be able to do that if you don’t take full advantage of the features a site offers.

This may take a little bit more time to do for each photo you upload but in the long run it is worth it if your customers/audience finds you a lot easier because you just did some simple math.  You can also apply this math lesson to other social web sites – don’t just add, multiply!

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Let The Social Web Document Your Next Training

social-web-researchWhile driving home from the Maryland Library Association conference I had several hours in the car alone to contemplate things.  At some point my mind wondered to those forms that we or at least folks in Maryland have to fill out to receive CEUs.

The form is boring.  The form can’t really capture what you may or may not have learned at a training or conference.  Why not allow the social web to document your next training or conference as an option.  Mind you I know not everyone blogs or Twitters or has a Flickr account but many of us do.

Submit your Twitter stream and the hashtags you used.  Give the URL of your Flickr set from the training/conference.  Set up a blog and live the sessions you attend.  All of these options would give your employer a much better idea of what you got out of a session than some form.