RSS is Dead, Long Live RSS?

Matrice de services autour du RSS
Image by loic_hay via Flickr

I have to admit that my jury is still out on RSS.  I understand it, have taught classes about it and have used several different readers over the years.  So I found it interesting that @lrainie retweeted 2 blog articles about RSS today.

First one, The Top 5 Reasons RSS Readers Went Wrong, pointed out very good reasons that RSS exerpience just isn’t what it should be.  I completely agreed with #2 & #5 – “One of the things I like about shared links in Twitter & Facebook is that I can start or read a conversation about the story and otherwise give feedback (i.e. “like” or retweet) to the publisher of the news as part of the experience.” – “The process of adding feeds still takes too many steps. If I see your Twitter profile and think you’re worth following, I click the “follow” button and I’m done.”  I’m not thinking that Twitter is the answer for everything but they do make it easy to “subscribe” and share.

The second article, If You Think RSS is Dead Then That’s Your Loss and It’s a Big One,  of course takes the other side of things.  My feelings is that Marshall is entitled to his opinion as much as Dare and Sam are entitled to theirs.

My jury is still out.  I use Google Reader and have quite a few feeds but to be honest I barely read them anymore.  I pay attention to my Twitter stream and Friendfeed.  I follow people like @lrainie, @Mashable, @rww, and @Jeremiah Owyang that give me perspective on the social web and the Internet in general.  I follow people like @MLx, @baldgeekinmd, @msauers, @libraryman, @lorireed, @pollyalida and others that keep me up on my profession (Libraries & Training).  I follow people like @nengard, @ranginui, @wizzyrea, @Miromurr, @gmcharlt, @magnusenger, @nirak and more that keep me up on things going on in the Open Source community.

I don’t know if RSS is dead but for me the social web and looking to people I know and/or trust (compare to some news agency) is MY way of keeping on top of things.

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Who Moved My FriendFeed?

Image representing FriendFeed as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

By now most folks who use Friendfeed know that it was acquired by Facebook yesterday.  If you visit Friendfeed today you’ll see lots of gloom and doom predictions, rats leaving the sinking ship and so on.  Ah, human nature is amazing to behold in action.  Move someone’s cheese and they just can’t handle it.

I’m not saying you have to like Facebook, I’m not saying you have to stay if you don’t feel like it but let’s wait and see if all that you are sure is going to happen, happens.  I remember when I first started at Friendfeed everyone was predicting the fall of Twitter – everyone is moving over here they won’t use Twitter.  I even blogged about this and letting the dust settle before I made any rash decisions or predictions.

I maybe one of the few at Friendfeed that love both sites and use them differently.  I don’t know what is going to happen (and neither do any of you who aren’t employeed by Facebook).  So let’s just sit back, see what happens and for once not assume the worst.  If you have to leave based on some princple then go but do it quietly please.

I guess my quote on my Momentile profile says it all – “Embrace change because it’s going to happen anyway.”   If you have been around the interwebs for any time at all you should know by now that things change, sites get bought out, new ones become the golden child and tried but true ones fade away.  It will be an interesting next couple of months to see just what happens to Friendfeed and who stays or goes.  Maybe I should have gone into psychiatry – manking and the way they thing/react is indeed very interesting to study.

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Thanks for Spreading the Word – Twitter & Raising Funds for LFPL

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

For those who don’t understand how things like Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and blogs can help you get your message (be it an individual or a company/organization) let me give you a perfect example from yesterday.

Steve Lawson posted a blog entry on See Also trying to raise money to help the Louisville Free Public Library.  Folks who subscribe to his RSS feed I’m sure saw this post, as well as those who searched and stumbled upon it that way but I love how we all jumped on this and spread the news.

My original Tweet:

mlibrarianusLet’s Flood Them With Cash: I know the economic times pull on everyone’s purse strings.  What I̵.. http://bit.ly/yFnHq

Then my followers retweeted (thanks to them all for helping to spread the word):

eclasperRT @AtYourLibrary: RT @mlibrarianus: Louisville Free Public Lib is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today http://twurl.nl/uumkmn

thesheckRT @mlibrarianus: Louisville Free Public Lib is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can http://twurl.nl/uumkmn #libraries

AtYourLibraryRT @mlibrarianus: Louisville Free Public Lib is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can http://twurl.nl/uumkmn

prattlibraryRT @mlibrarianus Louisville Free PL in desperate need – is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can: http://twurl.nl/uumkm

Grants_PrattRT @mlibrarianus Louisville Free PL in desperate need – is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can: http://twurl.nl/uumkm

JobCenter_PrattRT @mlibrarianus Louisville Free PL in desperate need – is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can: http://twurl.nl/uumkmn

calimaeIcon_lockLouisville Free Public Library is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can http://twurl.nl/uumkmn (via @mlibrarianus)

TuphlosRT @TaraLSF RT @mlibrarianus Support Your Library – keep Louisville Free Public Library in mind. They are under water – need your help

TaraLSFRT @mlibrarianus Support Your Library – keep Louisville Free Public Library in mind. They are under water – need your help to recover h

My followers added their own original Tweets or retweeted other to spread the word:

gregschwartz http://twitpic.com/cujvz – Today’s first pic

TaraLSFRT @amandamcneil How to donate to the Louisville Library ($1mil in damages): http://bit.ly/yrkVm

TaraLSFRT @yo_bj RT: @TheRepoRat: Help Louisville Free Public Library, devastated by flash flooding: http://bit.ly/tJea7

mlibrarianus#fb New blog post Let’s Flood Them With Cash: I know the economic times pull on everyone&.. http://bit.ly/yFnHq

cjburnsRT @czamm: Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH – LSW raising funds

librarianbydayLouisville Free Public Library Needs Your Help http://bit.ly/tJea7

mir_bRT @gregschwartz Watching the h2o being poured out of our servers. Depressing. and http://twitpic.com/cujvz – Today’s first pic #lfplflood

mir_bRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH (LSW fundraiser) #lfplflood

cindiRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH

ellbeeceeIcon_lockRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH (LSW fundraiser)

mir_bLouisville Free Public Library, hang in there. #lfplflood

gregschwartzWatching the h2o being poured out of our servers. Depressing.

joshuamneffRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH

TaraLSFRT @Jill_HW Flood devastation at Louisville (KY) Free Public Library from @gregschwartz http://twitpic.com/cujvz

Jill_HWFlood devastation at Louisville (KY) Free Public Library from @gregschwartz http://twitpic.com/cujvz

libraryfutureRT @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

laurabottsHelp the flooded Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8

beccalovesbooksReading about the Louisville Free Public Library and their damage from the rain. I wish there were something I could physically do to help!

jambinaRT @cpellegr: The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

lisacarlucciRT @libraryfuture @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word!

BillDrew4RT @cjburns: RT @czamm: Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH – LSW raising funds

millerlibrarianRT @libraryfuture RT @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

kenleyneufeldFwd: Let’s raise $5k for Louisville Public Library in the name of the LSW – http://bit.ly/DTj2K (via… [pic] http://ff.im/-6cMjG

kenleyneufeldFor you non-librarian types, the Louisville PL was flooded yesterday. Help out with a small/large donation at http://bit.ly/DTj2K

cclibrarian#Librarian Feeds reading:Louisville: Can A Plague of Locusts Be Far Behind? http://bit.ly/DkyU7

baldgeekinmdIcon_lockRT @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

HoCo_Library Help out! Louisville Public Library hit hard by rain and flood. To read more and to donate http://bit.ly/3kb2NN

Jill_HWLet’s raise $5,000 for Louisville Public Library in the name of the LSW – http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8

codslapHelp the Louisville free Public Lib. They had a huge flood. http://bit.ly/3vaf6V Let’s see if we can meet the LSW donation goal of $5,000.

http://twitpic.com/cvorn – My (former?) officegregschwartz

And others I don’t even know got into the act

wfplnews WFPL The Edit: LFPL Closed All Week: The Louisville Free Public Library’s main branch downtown wil.. http://bit.ly/bFral

wfplnews WFPL The Edit: Eat A Pie For The Library: @michellej at Consuming Louisville has started taking ma.. http://bit.ly/oQWxa

AriThatcher Help the Louisville Free Public Library recover from flood damage http://bit.ly/S8edr

Jen_Cook RT @TeresaMedeiros: Book drive 2 help out Louisville Free Public Library-flooded yesterday-massive damage. http://bit.ly/GkZNK

RainyDayBooks RT Help the Louisville Free Public Library out. http://bit.ly/3vaf6V . You don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

Achilles_healin @joshuamneff Donated, sir. … RT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH

Steve reported today that $600 has already been raised (less than 24 hours after posting his blog entry).  Thank you to all who helped spread the word and more importantly to those who contributed to a very worthy cause.

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What I Learned From Michael Jackson’s Death

[ أنا تــراني حزامـــــك ساعة الشـده ♥ ]
Image by [ Zenat El3ain ]™ via Flickr

I hate to jump on the band wagon.  I’m not just posting this to see my blog stats rise all based on the demise of a celebrity.  I guess this is my Friday rant/vent session.  But it is also a reminder of what I learned today.

First of all, my condolances go out to both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson’s family and friends.  Losing someone you care about is never easy whether it’s anticipated or not.   I can’t imagine how it must feel.   What should be a private moment to mourn you loss being scrutinized and put under media/public attention.

The media frustrates me with the way they run everything into the ground.  These people haven’t even been dead 24 hours.  In Farrah’s case we know what caused her death but in Michael’s case they are just speculating.  Until  all the reports are in no one in the media can say anything with surety.  MOVE ON there is other news to be covered, I don’t need to hear the same 5 sentences repeated a myriad of different ways.  I trust that you will give me the news when you have confirmation – in the meantime report something else instead of rehashing speculations.  But the most frustrating part is those who are not in the know, who are not even privy to the sources the media has trying to comment, judge or even condemn someone.

From what information we have most would hazard a guess that Michael Jackson didn’t have the best of childhoods.  I don’t know how the pressure to perform coupled with the every glaring spotlight would have effected you but I am not that strong.  Yes, some people have had hard lives and are able to move on or even go on to really become an inspiration.  But you know what, some people just aren’t that strong.  Some people don’t have the support system or tools in life to get over their issues.  Does that make them any less worthy of our sympathy?  I for one am not going to sit in judgment of them for not being able to overcome.  You know it’s not my job.  I was raised to believe that job feel to someone else and I wasn’t suppose to try and do his job.

However, all of this crazy professional media (and real people via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Friendfeed and other social media) attention has taught me a reminder.  The next time I see something and start to pass judgement on it, I will think Michael Jackson.  It will be my personal reminder to myself that it is not my place to pass judgement on someone.  I have not walked in their shoes, I have not experienced their life in any way, shape or form, I am not them.  I believe that the universe teaches us lessons for a reason – guess I needed to be reminded of this lesson.  We could all learn from Michael Jackson’s death.  I’m just sorry it took him dying to remind me of my place.

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My 2 Cents To Businesses Everywhere

Customer service seems to be on the minds of everyone lately.  First I posted about my recent not so great experiences, then today Strange Librarian posted on her blog her dealings with Weiss and being rushed out of the store, and then Andrew Shuping posted at FriendFeed his less than stellar experience with Cracker Barrel.  Something must be in the water.

You might wonder what do I know about customer service.  Well I served at the public service desk for many years as part of the Circulation department, I have contact with customers on weekly basis via email when dealing with technology problems, I have to interact with internal customers (staff and they are just as important as our external customers) daily solving their problems, answering their questions and helping them succeed in their roles but most importantly I AM A CONSUMER!

So whether you are a library, a retail establishment, small business or major corporation here is my 2 cents to you:

  • Hire the appropriate staff.  Make sure your interview process asks probing, clarifying questions.  Don’t just give scenarios and ask how they’d handle them.
  • Once appropriate staff are hired, TRAIN THEM.  Don’t assume because they answered questions correctly in the interview they know everything.  Technology comes along that they need to be aware of to interact correctly with customers.  Also refreshers are never a bad thing we can all benefit from that.
  • Make sure your company policies are inline with good customer service.  Don’t tie your employees hands with silly policies or rules.
  • Trust your employees.  You interviewed them, you hired them, you trained them now trust them.  That isn’t to say not to be aware of what they are doing but don’t micro-manage.  If you hover over them that kind of pressure won’t bring out the best customer service in them.
  • Reward great customer service.  Let them know you value the kind of service they are providing.  Anything from an “attaboy” to comp time to monetary rewards – doesn’t have to be big but acknowledgment is always great to hear.
  • Nip bad customer service in the bud.  One bad experience by a customer can multiply times ten and now with the social web it can multiply times ten thousand or more.  Pull that person off the front line, get them back into training, listen to them and help them learn a better way to handle the situation and if worst comes to worst fire them.  Keeping bad customer service employees in this day and age is tantamount to suicide.

I am as loyal as they come when you treat me right.  But all it takes is one wrong customer service experience for me to write about it, tell all my friends and more than likely never darken the doorstep of your establishment again.  Just ask Sears.  Had a bad experience with them back in 1989 and other than walking through their store to get inside the Columbia Mall I have never bought anything from them again.  You might think how much damage can one little person not buying anything from a major company like Sears do.  Well, it isn’t just me that isn’t buying it is my family and friends who have heard the full story – now with the social web that story can be told to many, many more.

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

Busy As A Bee

One of those phrases that usually just sets me off is “I’m too busy”.  To me it implies, especially when the person saying it to me wants help, that they are busy but I am not.  I don’t know a department of my library that isn’t busy.   In reality it isn’t that we are “too” busy but that we choose to do some things and not others.  I’ve been trying to own this (practice what I preach) so when I realize I haven’t gotten back to someone in a timely manner I no longer say that I’m too busy – I say “I’m sorry that I haven’t gotten to that, let me get on it right away.”

Lately, this could apply to my blog.  I have been busy but then that is no different than any other day.  Personal things have popped up but then again they can do that at any time.  So it must be that I’ve chosen not to blog but do other things.  Sometimes that is necessary yet I feel a responsibility for keeping this up.  For not doing that I do apologize.  I wasn’t too busy I just didn’t choose to put my blog on my list of priorities for a few weeks.

Interestingly enough, this ties in with Bobbi Newman’s blog post today (maybe that’s what sparked my guilt) – You’ve Got 30 Minutes, how do you use them? My vote went for Friendfeed because I can get access to many different sites all at once depending on what my friends are feeding in.  To me Friendfeed is the new RSS feed.   I’d rather spend my time looking through Friendfeed and clicking on the links because I can’t possible know everything out there.  My friends expose me to different sites, news, information and that makes me more well rounded than if I just chose which sites I wish to add to my Google Reader.  Thanks for the post and the poll, Bobbi.  You gave me something to blog about today 😉

Day in the Life – Better Late Than Never

Day in the Life

Day 5 of week of keeping track of what librarians or library workers do so we can see the diversity of the jobs we do.

Friday January 30, 2009

7:25 – arrived at work – unlocked elevator and office

7:29 – swapped out tapes on Horizon and Authority works servers and unforwarded the helpline phone

7:35 – logged on both Windows and Linux machines – logged into email and did a cursory scan since I was out yesterday

7:41 – logged into Horizon and returned my DVDs (hubby is watching Wire in the Blood) and checked to see what reserves had come in for me

7:43 – went downstairs to put returned DVDs in correct delivery boxes, get mega cup of ice for Diet Coke habit and to retrieve my 13 holds

7:48 – checked out my 13 holds including David Lee King’s “Designing the Digital Experience”

7:53 – logged into Staff Intranet, iGoogle, Friendfeed, Facebook and Meebo

8:10 – updated co-worker on husband’s condition after yesterday’s test

8:15 – reading/responding to emails from yesterday

8:31 – posted day 3 of DitL blog post because I was out yesterday

8:32 – caught up with co-worker about Wednesday’s Lost episode

8:37 – tested Sailor link to our Marina page – is working now that they have the correct one

8:47 – updated boss on hubby’s test results from yesterday

8:50 – back to emails

9:00 – bounceback emails are calling me

9:05 – to help with a helpdesk ticket installing Filezilla client on Mac laptop – while waiting I “Dugg” some article from my RSS feed

9:14 – installed and correctly setup FileZilla on Mac laptop and was able to connect – easy install

9:15 – back to bouncebacks more have come in

9:30 – called Public Relations office about their helpdesk ticket

9:44 – uploading PDF’s to ChooseCivility site

9:55 – called Public Relations back and discussed uploading to Joomla’s media manager instead – turns out will probably just wait until the new Choose Civility site is up and running for this

10:03 – more bouncebacks….guess ILL finally generated all the notices

10:10 – discussed with Sys Admin about some errors and concerns over day end process a couple of days ago. Sadly neither of us is 100% sure who messed up what or did the system fail to finish a process.

10:30 – closed helpdesk ticket from Public Relations – will wait for new site to add pdfs

10:40 – emailed class about Picasa3 training and some issues that have arisen around timing and schedule

10:50 – called staff member to follow up on helpdesk ticket follow up that they didn’t follow up on 😉

11:00 – worked on CIL09 slides

11:40 – created collection/set in library’s Flickr account for our new This Is Your Life program so they can start uploading images

11:45 – wrote up instructions so This is Your Life folks can upload to Flickr

12:10 – Lunch

12:45 – spoke with Network Admin about why my synaptic package manager was giving me error message – taught me how to run the command in terminal because an update didn’t get finish – running full updates now – installed FileZilla on Ubuntu machine

12:54 – back to CIL09 slides

2:00 – Called into podcast T is for Training

3:00 – back to CIL09 slides

3:30 – end of day, end of week

A Day in the Life III

Beginning to think the titles of these posts are bad movie rejects 😉

Day 3 of week of keeping track of what librarians or library workers do so we can see the diversity of the jobs we do.

Wednesday January 28, 2009

11:15 – arrived at work (late opening because of ice conditions)  after attempting 3 times (4th was the charm) to get up the hill on my road so I could get to work. Main roads fine but side and back roads are still a mess.
11:20 – took call from staff member about computers not recognizing IP address. Network Admin made a change and the Linux computers stole the Windows IP’s – poor Windows didn’t know what to do.
11:30 – logged into email, IM, Staff Intranet, Friendfeed
11:40 – perform morning task such as checking our catalog (login, searching and requesting working), making sure Day End process finished correctly as well as several other processes, checking several server logs, making sure Zserver connects to Marina (our ILL for the state), verify that telephony system is working, etc.
12:02 – another call about the Windows machines not recognizing IP’s
12:10- finally got around to posting my first ditl blog post for Monday – only 2 days behind
12:20 – checked email bouncebacks
12:30 – support services called about building request login (forgot) – found username/password so they could login and take care of requests
12:36 – call from Info staff about unable to connect to Marina ILL – turns out they had old URL bookmarked
12:40 – went back to email bouncebacks
12:50 – staff call helpline when they need a specific person and I wind up having to transfer to their personal line – hate being the IT secretary
12:55 – helped staff member clean (properly) a donated laptop
1:10 – lunch
1:40 – removed someone from email alias
1:41 – read and answered some emails
1:45 – wrote announcement to remind staff of URL change on Marina (statewide ILL system) and notified Sailor so they can change it on their site.
2:12 – worked on CIL09 slides
3:02 – created sign to welcome our new staff member Julian Clark to IT dept.
3:16 – posted 2nd day in the life to blog
3:17 – back to CIL09 slides
3:43 – home to get ready for Lost and hope I don’t fall asleep before 9 pm!

A Day in a Life part deux

Day 2 of week of keeping track of what librarians or library workers do so we can see the diversity of the jobs we do.

Tuesday January 27, 2009

8:00 – finally got to work. Snowing in MD and for some reason took more than double my normal time to get here.

8:15 – after logging into both my Linux and Windows computers, getting my bottomless cup of Diet Coke I logged into email, Facebook, Friendfeed, Meebo, Staff Intranet

8:30 – updated blog post to include tags I had forgotten the other day (self professed tag whore)

8:40 – checked voice mail

8:42 – posted 3 job positions to Staff Intranet and library web site (made mental note that I must get HR trained so they can do this and not me)

9:00 – Talked to boss and hubby to help me sort out feelings, fears, and concerns.

9:45 – helped reference desk with customer who wanted to move all his Comcast email to Verizon

9:52 – help staff with Horizon Wimba issue

10:33 – worked on email bouncebacks

10:45 – helpdesk ticket regarding suspended hold turned out to be a matter of timing customer tried to suspend hold at the same time a copy was checked in for them

11:00 – phone call with staff member about Firefox 3.0 and new staff desktop

11:15 – helpdesk ticket regarding reformatting page on SI (staff Intranet)

11:30 – hooligans threw snowballs at our 2nd story windows (right behind my desk).  Inside joke – our Network Admin every year since he’s been at this location has thrown a snowball at the window.  First couple of times we didn’t catch on that it was him.  Now it’s just tradition and we humor him by accusing hooligans not him.

11:45 – worded email about ILL request for purchase and vendors we saw demoed the other day – Relais, AutoGraphics, OCLC and SirsiDynix.  If I had to pick one right now based on what I saw it would be AutoGraphics even though I went in leaning toward Relais (they just aren’t ready but to be honest none of the solutions were there yet).

12:05 – lunch

12:35 – answer a few emails

12:55 – worked on CIL09 slides

1:10 – posted notice to Staff Intranet and IM-ed staff about leaving machines on so updates can run

1:20 – back to CIL09 slides

3:17 – helped staff member with HCL logos and open office – getting staff to understand the concept of opening documents thru a web product is different than thru directory on hard drive

4:00 – head home to play with doggies in the snow