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Don’t Be Afraid to Explore New Technology

Let’s be honest: it’s kind of amazing to think Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect with Your Whole Community was published in 2008. 2008! And now it’s 2013.

While we were writing the book, we were very aware that one of the risks of writing about pop culture is pop culture, itself. It’s always changing! That’s one reason that we didn’t concentrate much on then-current pop culture, keeping our focus on how libraries can use pop culture in all sorts of ways, from collection building to marketing to outreach to programming.

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The New Digital Scholar

Randall and I are so pleased to have worked with John Bryans, Amy Reeve, Brandi Scardilli, and all the good folks at Information Today, Inc. on The New Digital Scholar: Exploring and Enriching the Research and Writing Practices of NextGen Students. We are excited to be bringing a new audience, writing teachers and administrators, to ITI. We think connections between librarians and writing teachers and administrators are crucial to the success of NextGen students. The book fleshes out some approaches to those connections. We hope it is the beginning of increased dialogue between professionals from writing studies and library and information science. Continue Reading →

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Face2Face: Connect to Customers With Visual Tools

Last post, I focused on connecting to customers through a text box. In today’s post, let’s look at the other side – the visual side.

In today’s online world, visual means images and videos. Tools used include Flickr, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. And that’s just for starters.

How can you connect to customers using visual tools? Here are some places to start:

Show business as it happens. Take photos of the day (especially if it’s an interesting one – no cubicle boredom here, please!). If you’re at a conference, take some photos, and include them with text to make a greater visual impact.

Keep your photos simple and uncluttered by getting up-close to your subject and by focusing on one thing. Is your subject a person? Get close enough so that your viewer can tell who that person is.

Making a video? Simplifying applies here, too. Focus on one idea or thought, and refrain from using all the cool effects and transitions that your video editing app came with. Those are fun, but distract from your main message.

Keep it short. Speaking of videos, you’ll want to keep them short. Don’t make a 10 minute video introduction to your organization! Instead, tell us the two coolest things to do at the library, and do it in under two minutes.

And, probably the most important point–Always provide a next step! Do you work at a coffee shop, and you just took a photo of your lovely new espresso machine? You can include a link to your menu, directions to your business, or even point to your online ordering system. If you’re a library and created a video book review, add a link to the library catalog record of the book so visitors can place the book on hold.

See what’s going on here? The goal is to act like … well … a helpful person who works at that business or organization. So get busy, and get connecting!

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Face2Face–How to Create Customer Connections Using Familiar Online Tools

Social media comes easy for many of us – you find someone you know, you friend them, they friend you, and – TADA – you’re connected. You might connect to a close friend, an old friend who you haven’t seen in awhile, or even your extended family.

The point is that this stuff makes sense to us, when we’re using our personal accounts to connect to … well … people. But what about business interactions? How do you represent your business or organization online, and make real and lasting connections with customers … online? In a status update box?

A bit trickier, huh? Here are three ideas to help makes those business-to-customer interactions start to connect:

Be pro-active. In your shop, you are seen in the store just by “being there.” Online, no one knows you’re there unless you do something. An easy way to “be seen” online is to set up some listening tools, like Google Alerts or a Twitter search or two.

Then listen to what people say about your organization. As questions come up, answer those questions. If something needs to be explained further, start explaining. Thank people for using your service or product.

Use typing to talk. Most of your online interactions will come from typing into a tiny status update box. It might be a blog post, a Facebook story, or a Twitter tweet. Maybe even a comment box. But if you want to create customer connections online, you will be starting conversations by typing into a box.

And that’s the key – actually working on having conversations. To do that well, make sure your typing sounds like your talking. Keep your typing informal, but focused on business. No need to be cute or funny – just be yourself, and make your typing sound like it’s actually you talking (read what you type out loud if you need to) … and start talking.

Provide the next step. Everything you post online should include a next step – the thing you want your reader to do after they read your post. A next step, or a “call to action,” can be as simple as asking people to click Like, leave a comment, or click the subscribe button. Or you can point to your stuff. For example, a library can include a link to a book in their library catalog, and ask people to click through to check out the book. A non-profit might point to their Donate Now page, and ask people to give $20.

Be proactive, type like you talk, and provide some next steps for your web visitors. Provide these helpful steps for customers, and and you will be on your way to making great customer connections.

Next post, let’s talk about doing the same thing using visual stuff. Stay tuned!

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Review of Web of Deceit by Information Security Expert Ben Rothke

“Terms such as revolutionary, groundbreaking and the like are often used in reference to the web and social media. While for the most part true, the web and social media have also been revolutionary and groundbreaking for scammers and con men.

In previous years, classic scams such as the Nigerian 419 scam were restrained by the costs and logistics of fax and hard copy distribution. Even using bulk mail, the cost of sending out a million letters was enormous. Today, tens of millions of emails can be quickly, inexpensively and anonymously distributed.

In Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media, editor Anne Mintz is one of 10 contributors to this book that analyzes why the information superhighway is also a highway of lies, deceit, manipulation, scams and similar nefarious things.”

Read the full review at the RSA Conference website.

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