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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What Constitutes a Blog Post?

Twice today I’ve retweeted something I felt was worthy of letting my followers know.  Both times the links in the retweet went to someone’s blog post that was pretty much nothing other than a link to the original article or blog post.  Being the devil that I am and because I want the original author to get credit, I retweeted but changed the link so it went to the ORIGINAL article/post.

This got me thinking – what constitutes a blog post?  I mean with sites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Diigo, Delicious, and apps like ShareThis is it necessary (or even right) to create a blog post that only links to the original article with little to no content added by you?  Are we really using blogs in the right manner if posts become a version of the aforementioned sites?

Curious, what constitutes a blog post for you?

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You Must Be Very Polite With Yourself

What’s the most important thing you learned in 2009?

This is a question posed by ALALearning on Twitter.  I’ve been pondering it over the last several hours.  I’m not one to normally do a review of the year gone by at the end of the year (although I know it is perfectly natural to do so).  I was having a hard time answering the question.

To me learned implies that I’ve mastered it to some degree.  I feel like I’m still learning photography (of course I am I’ve been doing it less than a year) so that couldn’t be my answer.  I thought some more.  I’m still learning so many things and even if I feel confident in them I don’t ever see myself as mastering them (which to me is a good thing as I think once you’ve mastered something you might rest on your laurels and not learn anything else).

While soaking in a hot bubble bath tonight (sorry for the TMI) I was reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I came to a sentence on page 56 that just struck me.  “Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.”  I had an ah-ha moment.  The light bulb went off.  As a trainer I feel that (and have been told as well) I’m very patient with folks learning new skills.  However, I know for a fact that I’m not very patient (or polite) with myself when learning.  I am impatient, I want to get to the next level, I want to master it (sounds ironic considering what I’ve said in the previous paragraph).

I think, no strike that I know it is my biggest stumbling block when it comes to my photography.  I so want to be at a better level than I am yet I have failed to see that to get to it I need to learn all the little steps in between.  I need to be more polite, more patient with myself when I’m learning something new.  I need to remember the patience I have when a student has asked for the umpteenth time how to copy/paste – I grin and quietly, calmly instruct them once again on how to do it perhaps trying a different tactic so this time it sinks in for them.

So, although I still can not answer the question posed to me, I am hoping that the bath time revelation I had will prove to be something that I try to do when I’m learning something new.  I need to treat myself as I would one of my students.  So maybe next year I can answer that I’ve learned to be polite/patient with myself (and others) when learning something new.

The 10 Lessons of Email

Email Ideas company logo
Image via Wikipedia

I am amazed in this day and age we still have people who just haven’t learned simple nettiquette.   What I’m referring to is bad email behavior.   I also find it interesting when people say how swamped their inbox is – with so many technologies and options at our disposal why are we still even using email?  But be that as it may, email is probably here to stay all I ask is that we learn some simple nettiquette if we are going to use it.

Lesson 1 – When using work email to connect with customers, colleagues and vendors treat email just like you would a business letter.  That includes using spell check, punctuation and capital letters where applicable.  Just because the format is electronic does not mean you need to forego common niceties that make reading your message easier.

Lesson 2 – Do not under any circumstance use colored text or backgrounds.  I really don’t care if purple is your favorite color (it’s mine too) it is glaring on a white background and comes across as unprofessional.

Lesson 3 – Leave the quotes for the insurance companies and the famous authors.  There is no need to have 1,2, or even 3 quotes as part of your email signature.  To be honest who reads them?  No one!

Lesson 4 – READ.  Don’t respond to emails that say post-only  or no-reply.  More often than not your email will go into never-neverland and get you nothing.  If the email specifically says do not respond that what do you hope to gain by hitting the reply button?  Read the email there maybe an alternative email address or a link that they want you to use in order to communicate properly.

Lesson 5 – Always when addressing an email to multiple people who may not know each other, use BCC.   If Joe doesn’t know Susie he doesn’t need her email address.  This is especially important if Joe gets a virus on his computers because viruses love to hit email – once Joe has Susie’s email the virus can either use her as the sender of another virus or send her the virus.  Rule of thumb unless people know each other well use BCC when sending to multiple addresses.

Lesson 6 – Another good reason to use BCC is those folks who really love to use the Reply All button.  99.9% of the time you don’t need to use the Reply All button especially when you don’t have much to contribute to the conversation.  Replaying all to say “I agree” is not something all 36 people on the original email need to know only the person who sent the original email needs to know.

Lesson 7 – Real friends don’t let friends forward.  Those jokes that hit everyone’s inbox have ALREADY hit everyone’s inbox so don’t bother to forward them again.  Also if you absolutely must forward something, PLEASE remove the header info.  The part where it has everyone’s email address, the subject, date, etc – remember that viruses love email addresses and they’ll take them anyway they can.

Lesson 8 – Spam.  None of like it, none of us want it so do your part to avoid it.  Work email should be used for just that – work.  Don’t mix family business (e.g. jokes, pictures, etc.) with your work account.  Use a “throw-away” or web based email account for that (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.).  Make sure you use  BCC and don’t forward those jokes (because if you do from your work account you can guarantee that someone that you forwarded it to will forward it again and not remove the header so your email address will be there).

Lesson 9 – Urban legends and email virus hoaxes, just the facts ma’am.  Unfortunately there are still people out there that insist on writing programs that do some not nice things to other people’s computers.  But before you leap to conclusions do your research.  We all get those emails of “a little girl who is dying of….” or a warning saying a big virus is going around — don’t just forward that email to everyone in your addressbook, think a moment and do a bit of research.  For urban legends your best bet is Snopes.com.    For viruses try Internet Storm Center if that is a bit too techie for you check out the sites for AVG, Norton or whatever anti-virus software you  use.

Lesson 10 – Email isn’t the only game in town.  Everyone complains that their inbox is full – so do something about it.  Use Instant Messaging, use Twitter, pick up the phone, walk over to the person and speak with them directly.   Most importantly use rules 1-9 and your inbox should be lessened automatically.

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Before There Was Twitter…

…we had blogs, email or word of mouth.  None of these things have gone away it’s just that Twitter has taken the forefront when it comes to expressing our feelings about how presenters.   After reading Tom Whitby’s blog post about the effect Twitter has on presentations I was struck by the concern he had over Twittering during presentations.  I’m not condoning people being rude but some presenters really shouldn’t present.  Just because you may be an expert in your knowledge about ___ does not mean you are a good speaker.  But more to the point, those of us who have attended conferences have always had a way to express their feelings about a presenter – word of mouth.   Walk down the crowded hallway, stand in the lunch line or attend lobby-con after a particularly bad (or good)  speaker and you know what I mean.  Then in the last 10-15 years we added things like web-based email and more recently blogs.

Now grant it not everyone hears what say or reads what you have to written but the same goes for Twitter – not everyone is reading your Tweets.   I have been on the giving and receiving end of Twitter during presentations.  I presented with 2 co-presenters and it was great when you weren’t speaking to read what was being said about our presentation while it was still going on.  I’ve Tweeted while others have presented more as a way to take notes for myself (as I find live blogging a bit hard but twittering comes naturally to me).   I’ve read other people’s Tweets from conferences that are states away and I’ve found them helpful.

Okay, I must know all the kind, helpful people in the world and none of the nasty ones.  I’m sure that is true.  But I think we are all being a bit naive if we think our presentations are perfect and no one is out there saying anything negative about us (they are you just aren’t hearing it).  Maybe we need to hear it?  Should they be so mean spirited?  No.  Can we learn from it?  Well, maybe we can.  Depending on the comments being made you might be able to adjust your style.  Depending on the comments being made you may just have to consider the source and ignore it (just as you would if you walked down a crowded hall at a conference and overheard a nasty comment).  Maybe it’s a perfect opportunity to contact that person who tweeted and see just what they would have done differently.  You never know, it might actually turn into a productive conversation.  Maybe having to worry just a little about what is being said on Twitter isn’t such a bad thing – maybe it will raise the bar.

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Library101

3883707406_7b0bd34066I was excited, honored, thrilled and other adjectives that end in “-ed” to be able to contribute to Michael Porter and David Lee King‘s Library101 project.  It first started out with a call (via Twitter) from Michael asking for pictures of library staff holding up a giant 1 or 0.  At the time I wasn’t sure what this was all about but I was game.  Anything to help me hone my photography skills I was able to get many of my fellow co-workers to pose for me.

I was then surprised, elated to help Michael beta test his Zazzle store for the Library 101 merchandise.  The final surprise came when Michael asked me if I’d like to contribute an essay to the web site he was creating to launch the Library 101 project. Here it is in the original unedited version:

New Library 101

So what exactly does the New Library 101 need to be part of the future? In my opinion there is one very important piece that needs to be there for the library of the future to stay afloat – customer service. Without our customers we won’t be here no matter what fancy words we use, what new fangled gadgets we have, what exciting programs we offer. Now customer service is nothing new to libraries, however, my version of customer service includes three aspects. If the library of the future will focus on these aspects they will grow and stay relevant.

Technology

Recently I got a Tweet from Jimmy Willis (@katannsky2) asking me if I had any career tips for a future librarian. My words of wisdom where “to learn technology. Embrace it. It will be a very big part of your job.” Be current. What are the latest trends? Adopt them, learn about them and use them. If you don’t you’ll be left behind because your customers are using this technology. And more than likely they are coming to you for help with it

Technology means not only the hardware/software we use in our branches but includes your presence on the web. Whether it is your web site, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or other social web sites – remember that not every customer walks through your physical doors. Make sure you have a presence out there in the digital world. But don’t limit it to just a Facebook page or a bunch of pictures on Flickr – engage your customers, start a conversation with them, bring them back to you (whether it is into your physical building or your catalog or one of your programs).

Education

I understand that funding doesn’t always allow every library to have tons of the latest and greatest hardware or even software. However, you can still educate yourself about technology even if your library can’t afford a Kindle, a new fancy web site or you don’t have an iPhone. Use what technology you do have to your benefit. Get out on the web and socially network. So many of your fellow librarians are on the social web, network with them and find out what they already know. Ask questions or use your searching skills so when that customer invariably asks you how do they do ___ you can use your network as a resource.

Please, don’t ever tell a customer you don’t know and let that be the end of the conversation. That is not an acceptable customer service response. Sure, it’s okay to say you don’t know but continue. “You know I’m curious about this too. Let’s research this together so we can both learn.” Customers come to you for help and hey would much rather have a real human admit they don’t know but work together to find the answer than some cold response that boils down to “go away I can’t be bothered”.

Audience

Above all the library of the future must remember who it’s audience is and what they want or need. As Thomas Brevik (@Miromurr) tweeted from the Internet Librarian International 2009:

* #ili2009 Stop insulting the user by guessing what the user want!

* #ili2009 start with the question: is this what our users want?

Once you have figured out what your customer wants not only meet that need but exceed it. But how to find out what the customer wants. Don’t rely on surveys on your OPACs or your web site, you have an opportunity every single day in every single interaction with your customers (via email, chat, face to face, or phone). Just go that extra step and see what need isn’t being met. Keeping in mind that meeting someone’s need doesn’t always require a big budget – sometimes just listening to them makes all the difference in the world and you’ll have a lifelong return customer.

Is it a guarantee that if the library of the future follows these three aspects of customer service they will survive? Well nothing is a sure beat but I would put good money on the library of the future (if it focuses on customer service) will be around for all of us to enjoy.

So here is to the future of libraries.  Long may they reign.

#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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What I Meant To Say

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

Why is it that you always think of the perfect thing to say after the fact?  Last night was no exception.  I taught an overview of Twitter and all the good things came to me after the class had left.  I’m left feeling as if I let them down by not passing along this info.  I had so much in my head, so much I had planned to show and talk about but somehow there is never enough time.

So here is a list of things I hope I pointed out but in case I didn’t:

  • Your follower/following ratio – this ratio should not be horribly lopsided.  5 followers but following 500 isn’t good.  More than likely that person is just in it for the numbers (so folks just want to have the most followers but aren’t really using Twitter correctly).
  • Before you follow – view their profile.  Is their bio filled out?  Who are they following?  What is their follower/following ratio?  Read some of their tweets, all of them help you to decide is this person really someone I want to follow.
  • Twitter vs. Facebook – Twitter is more informational.  Facebook is more fun.  Each has it’s place and they can connect (have Twitter update your status on Facebook) but I don’t get the same level of information on Facebook as I do on Twitter.
  • To understand Twitter you need to use Twitter.  Not that the concept is so hard to grasp just that it can have so many applications depending on what you want from it.
  • I did say this but feel I should elaborate – Twitter is what you get out of it.  I use it to stay on top of trends (professionally or just what’s going on in the world), I use it to stay informed (following BBCnews, BreakingNews, NyTimes as well as several experts in the social media arena), I use it to connect to others in my profession, I use it for note taking (I’ve live blogged a photography class I attend at the library just using Twitter.  Because I hashtagged my Tweets I was able to go back later and put all my notes into a cohesive blog post).
  • Use Twitter for what you want but be real.  If you want to connect with other like minded folks, Twitter is great for that.  If you want to promote your business, non-profit, favorite charity, etc. it is also great for that.  Just beware.  Don’t be an institution.  People want to follow real people no matter whether is it a Mom who is looking to connect to other stay at home Moms or it is a Fortune 500 company trying to connect with their customers.  Let your personality shine through on your tweets.  Don’t be stuffy.  Also don’t make it all about you – engage a conversation with your customers.  Make yourself approachable.  Twitter is just another doorway into your business – good customer service extends to the web as well.
  • Protecting your tweets isn’t always a good thing.  If you are out on the social web the point is to share.  I understand about wanting to be in control of what you share with others.  Protecting your tweets just puts another layer between you and the people/customers who may want to follow you.  This also keeps your tweets out of searches.  So if I search for dog grooming and your are a dog groomer with protected tweets I’m not going to see you and you may miss an opportunity for business.  What are you protecting?  Think twice before you protect your tweets.
  • Be patient.  Give it a try.  Twitter wasn’t built in a day.  You need to try it on, take it out for a test drive, kick the tires a little bit before you decide.  The social web has a web site for everyone – Twitter maybe for you or it may not.  But at least give it a try.
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