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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Marketing Libraries: What the not-for-profits can learn from the lots-of-profits!

11 Sep

A couple of weeks ago I presented a webinar for WebJunction on marketing libraries. Part 1 of this post is all the information from the presentation, including a video archive of it, and Part 2 is about the process of presenting in a webinar, for anyone interested in that side of things.

Part 1: Marketing Libraries

The webinar covered marketing principles (several ways to start thinking like a library marketer) – and marketing actions (ways to communicate including Word of Mouth, the website, social media etc). There are various ways you can access the content.

If you want a brief overview:

Here are the slides, with a couple of bits of info added in so they make sense without me talking over the top of them.

 

If you want the full detail:

You can view the full Archive (combined archive of audio, chat, and slides) – this requires JAVA and is a bit more technically complicated than the options above and below, but you get the full experience of the slides, me narrating them in real time, and the chat happening in real time, where you’ll find lots of good ideas.

If you want a version you can watch on any device:

Here is the YouTube vid of the webinar – the good thing is you can watch this on a phone etc, the downside is some key points are missed where it skips or the live-streaming briefly went down, and it’s hard to read the chat that added so much to the presentation. (You can, however, download the  chat (xls) to read in Excel as you go along.)

 

When I get a bit of time I’m going to break this down into smaller videos on each topic.

Part 2: Presenting a Webinar

Presenting a webinar is an inherently odd experience because you can’t see the faces and responses of your audience. I rely on this a lot to know what is working and what isn’t – a presentation is all about communication, after all. Not only that but it’s a much bigger audience than for a normal talk – there was nearly 600 people watching this as it happened.

A picture of a desk with PC, iPad etc

My webinar presenting setup.

Above is what my desk looked like – iPad to monitor tweetstream (which I didn’t have the wherewithall to actually do), landline phone to speak into (I had it pressed against my ear for the first half hour before realising there was nothing to actually hear), G&T to drink (later decanted into a glass with ice, don’t worry), iPhone to live-tweet pre-written draft tweets from (it was too stressful to do this well, so I sort of tweeted them in clumsy groups), PC to present from and clock to keep to time by.

I asked for some advice on Twitter about what makes a good webinar – much of it was about good presenting generally, but the web-specific stuff centered around making it as interactive as possible (the technology limited how much I could do this, but I tried…) and giving people time to catch up (I think I pretty much failed to do this). Very useful advice from Jennifer at Web Junction included not putting any animations on the slides because these don’t render well in the webinar environment (if I wanted stuff to appear on a slide as I went along, I made two versions of the slide and moved between them). The particular platform we used meant I had to dial in with a phone – a PHONE! – and talk into that whilst manipulating the slides, that was very strange. I had a practice run the night before and I’m glad I did – in essence I found out I just cannot present sitting down, I need the energy that comes from pacing around, so I ended up using my slide-clicker so I could wonder about my house without having to be too close to the PC… The downside to this is I couldn’t monitor the chat nearly as well as I wanted to, to respond to questions, because I often wasn’t close enough to read the small text.

This was the first time I’d done one of these solo – previous webinar experience had been as part of a panel. As is often the case, as soon as I’ve done something properly and learned how it works, I want to do it again but much improved based on what I now know. So I’m hoping to work with WebJunction again next year (I find their site a really useful source of information and expert opinion). But the feedback from this one was great, some really nice comments in the chat and even a reference to my accent via private message…

I enjoyed this whole thing, and clearly live-streaming and web-based events are going to be more and more important. They’re very convenient for attendees, less so for presenters (I had to banish my family upstairs for example!) but I did get to wear shorts for a presentation for the first time, and even drink Gin & Tonic during it, and that was ace.

 

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10 top tips to take your organisation’s Twitter account up a level

28 Aug

My current column for Library Journal is all about taking a Twitter account to the next level. It’s hard to keep organisational accounts progressing – a lot of them plateau after a while – so there’s 10 golden rules to get you past that point.

 

Image of the LJ column online

Click the image to read the full article on libraryjournal.com

 

The 10 golden rules in brief, are:

  1. Only tweet about your library one time in four
  2. Analyse your tweets
  3. Tweet multimedia
  4. Tweet more pictures
  5. If something is important, tweet it four times
  6. Use hashtags (but don’t go mad)
  7. Ask questions
  8. Get retweeted and your network will grow
  9. Put your Twitter handle EVERYWHERE
  10. Finally, avoid these pitfalls
    .

Read the full article with expanded information about each rule, here.

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Running sessions on Web 2.0 tools for researchers

12 Aug

Edit: This post has been sitting, completed and tagged, in my drafts folder for over a month – it was meant as a direct follow up to a previous post (linked below) but then the gender and digital idenity thing came up (which is now EVERYWHERE in the media – glad the issue is getting proper coverage) and after that my second daughter was born, so it all got pushed back… Anyhow, here it is.

I recently ran a suite of 3 workshops, collectively entitled Becoming a Networked Researcher. I’ve put all the presentation materials elsewhere on the blog, so check them out if you’re interested. This post covers the approach, what worked, what didn’t, and general stuff about librarians getting involved with running researcher events that cover new online tools.

a tangled web

Flickr CC image by Jenny Downing (click to view original on Flickr)

It’s definitely time to do this

I’ve been wanting to do workshops like these for years… I run workshops for information professionals so I know how valuable it can be to learn about these tools – and blogs like the LSE Impact Blog show that in Higher Education generally, more and more people are finding Web 2.0 essential. As info pros a lot of us have this knowledge, so why not share it with an academic community who will be grateful for it and will benefit from it?

Previously some people may have thought I was something of a stuck record on this topic – just banging on about Twitter because it was what I knew about, when actually the Library should be focusing more on the traditional things we do with Researchers. (No one directly said this to me so I may well just be projecting!) But the thing about stuff like this is it opens doors – it positions the library or librarian as expert, and gains us respect. It means researchers become more open to the other things we have to offer.

Anyhow, demand for these sessions was huge. We’re going to be running them twice a year from now on as once isn’t enough. So if you have expertise in this area, try and make something happen!

What to cover?

I’d previously run an ‘Enhancing your online reputation‘ workshop for academics which mainly covered blogs and twitter only, due to time constraints – I still see these as the big two. They’re arguably the two most important platforms or tools, and they’re definitely the right foundations on which to build a useful presence.

I also ran a taster session on online tools for academics which covered no less than 9 different things – interestingly, lots of them put in their feedback forms that of all the tools we covered, they’d want more training on Prezi. So I put Prezi into the collaboration and dissemination session, but actually it needs its own bespoke training really – it’s too big to cover as part of something else.

I put in Academia.edu because I think it’s actually quite useful, I put in LinkedIn because everyone else TELLS me it’s useful, I put in Slideshare because I think it’s the great underrated secret weapon of communicating ideas. I left out ResearchGate because I’d heard they’re pretty aggressive in emailing people once they sign up, in a way which is annoying.

Anyhow, the Blogging session and Twitter session were much more successful than the other session, so I’d advise starting with these, and adding more if there’s demand.

What worked

  • Collaborating with RDT. The Researcher Development Team are nothing to do with the library, but thankfully they’re open to collaboration. I managed to meet up with Russell Grant, who runs a couple of social media courses anyway, and suggest the suite described above to build on what he’d already done – in theory, an academic could have attended his two workshops and then my three workshops and they’d have all worked together, building knowledge and understanding. I really like working with departments outside the library generally – not least because then the events aren’t ‘Library events’ that no one shows up for, they’re University events which happen to be delivered by a librarian
  • They What, Why, Examples, How method. I try do this in most of my training. You have to introduce a tool and tell an audience what it is – but it’s vital to then go on to why they might want to use it before you go into the detail of how it works… With relevant examples if at all possible. Lots of the feedback suggests people really value this approach.
  • Enthusiasm. I’m really enthusiastic about these topics, and that always helps…

What didn’t

  • Doing the workshops with only one-day gaps between them – I felt like it completely defined my week and didn’t leave much room for anything else
  • Not enough example – I tried to put loads in (academic examples specifically) but I could always use more
  • The Collaboration and Dissemination session tried to fit too much into the time. We’re splitting it up in future (see below)
  • I can’t make LinkedIn sound exciting… I know it’s important. Everyone says it’s important, researchers particularly. But I can’t seem to convey its value well
  • Some logisitical stuff to do with rooms and timing, with which I won’t bore you now…

Future plans

We’re running a tweaked programme in the next academic year, and it’s going to be different in a few ways.

  • It’ll be run twice, once in the Spring and once in the Summer – the Autumn term is just too crazy for everyone concerned
  • It’ll have one session per week. Last time round I did all three sessions in a week and I’m not sure that really benefited the participants much – it just made me feel like I was having a crazy week
  • There’ll be a blogging session as before, a Twitter session as before, but the Collaboration and Dissemination session we’re splitting up into two. We’re doing a Prezi session, and then a ‘social networks for researchers’ session – I’ve asked a colleague from the Researcher Development Team if he can do the latter, because I think he’d be better at it than me
  • I’m splitting the blogging and Twitter sessions into a ‘PhD and Masters researchers’ session and an ‘academics’ session – there’s 90% crossover between those two groups, but the other 10% I found it frustrating only giving examples that worked fully for one or other group. Seeing as the sessions were over-subscribed anyhow, we may as well provide targeted workshops for each group
  • So what this means is, in consecutive weeks we’re offering an Introduction to Social Media (talk, given by my colleague Russell Grant), Enhacing your Online Reputation (workshop by Russell), Blogs (workshops, by me – one for postgrads and one for academics), Twitter (workshop, by me – workshops, by me – one for postgrads and one for academics), Social Networks For Researchers (workshop, by Rusell) and Prezi (workshop, by me). All one and a half hours except the Prezi one which needs to be 3hrs – I’ve tried teaching Prezi in less but it doesn’t really work…
    .

Exciting stuff!

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Gender and Digital Identity

10 Jul

Troll pic by John McGovern. (Click to view the original on Flickr Creative Commons)

 

In a way this is slightly off-topic in that it isn’t about libraries, but in more ways it’s on-topic because this blog is often about new technology, and social media, and higher education. In particular I think we as information professionals should be sharing our expertise in social media with the academic community – I do this via workshops, and one question I get asked in more than half the sessions I do, is, how do you deal with the unpleasant attention online which you (inevitably) get if you are both prominent and female?

When I was first asked this I really didn’t know how to answer it very well – the second and subsequent times I’d looked into it a bit and felt better prepared, but there still doesn’t really seem to be a good answer (outside of: Fix Society – which I’m not holding my breath for). With this in mind, I went along to a session called Female public intellectuals – the risk of exposure as part of the University of York’s Intellectual Integrity conference. The panel discussion was revealing, fascinating, and depressing – I was going to say in equal parts but that’s glib; it was basically mostly depressing. Here are some thoughts around this whole issue, for what they’re worth.

The problem

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the problem but let me set it out explicitly here: the problem is that as soon as you gain an amount of exposure, you open yourself to abuse. I think this is true across the board, because among every X number of people, a small percentage of them are bound to be fecking idiots: the higher the number X, the more idiots are in that number. However the problem of abuse is exacerbated by the internet in general (it allows disconnected contact in a fashion which allows cowards to flourish), social media in particular (it allows direct access and potentially even the feeling that you ‘know’ someone and so are entitled to comment on their appearance, etc) and is much much worse if you’re female, gay, or in an ethnic minority.

Increasingly vital to researchers and academics is the need to have impact, and to have impact you need to be seen. To be seen is to open yourself to abuse, so how do you do your job in such conditions?

One of the panel spoke about how she appeared on the BBC for around 2 minutes – TWO MINUTES – and within hours had several emails from people either saying how sexually UNattractive they found her, or how sexually attractive they found her and what they wanted to do about it. Males on the same programme got emails too – about their arguments. But she just basically got abuse – and keep in mind, this is a BBC1 audience who had to Google her and find out her email, and took the time to do so.

The two things that really hit home for me attending this talk (and keep in mind I’m a social-media-workshop-teaching, feminist-lefty-leaning Guardian-reading, already-interested and somewhat-read-up-on-this librarian…) were A: how little exposure women need to get abuse (I naively thought it didn’t happen until you’d been on TV, but people with 2,000 Twitter followers are finding that enough to warrant emails detailing sexual fantasies) and B: how there’s no real preparation for dealing with it. It’s not really discussed much. There’s a tendency to laugh it off or, worse, to feel misplaced guilt about it – maybe I inadvertently led them on? So it doesn’t get shared, and you don’t get the relief and understanding that comes from realising other people are getting this abuse too, and it’s not your fault.

We’re not talking about a tiny number of ‘sick’ people abusing women online anymore. It’s really, really common.

It’s no longer about anonymity

For ages I thought the problem with the internet was anonymity. If you want to see how people act when they’re unaccountable, go look at the comments section of ANYTHING – YouTube, the Guardian, heaven forbid the Mail – and check your faith in humanity at the door.  People say awful things, all the time, because they don’t have to take responsibility for them – they can hide behind a random username.

But I don’t think that’s even the main issue anymore. Take a moment to look at this tumblr post from Feminist Frequency – she had the audacity to tweet a mild comment about lack of female lead characters in computer games, and got back an unfathomable stream of abuse. The abuse is not from people hiding behind the anonymity of the net. It is from people with their name and photo on their twitter account.

Another attendee at the session today mentioned the ‘coarsening of society’ – we are generally getting more unpleasant, more mysognistic all the time. I agree with that, but I think social media can make this a lot worse because of its unique ability to connect like-minded people.

Social media, tribes, and ‘finding your (similarly repulsive) people’

I love social media. I love most how it can help you find your people – you can reach all the other Twitter users who happen to have your exact outlook on life, or taste in music, or professional interests, or whatever it might be. It gives us all the chance to deepen and enrich our experiences through sharing them with the like-minded. The old saying about how you can’t choose your family, but at least you can choose your friends – that needs updating. Because even your friends are chosen partly based on logistics such as geography, place of work etc. Online you can find people just like you!

However… There’s a darker side to this, which is that all the really repulsive people can find all the other really repulsive people. And what they do (this is my pet theory; others may have explored this with proper intellectual rigour) is form their own ersatz society, which comes with different standards of behaviour. It seems to me that a depressingly high percentage of humans really have no private morality at all – the only reason they aren’t unpleasant to women (for example) all the time is because society’s norms dictate that they can’t. Hence, the original problem of anonymity and the net – if you’re not accountable to society’s norms you can finally act however you like (which for lots of people seems to be: Really Unpleasant!). But now that all these people can find their tribes online, they effectively create a new society where the norms ARE to be unpleasant and misogynistic – so they think nothing of abusing prominent women under their own name and their own image.

God it’s depressing.

A project to tackle this

I’d like to see Higher Education Institutions tackling this by preparing academics and researchers (both male and female) for what will happen if they become prominent. I’d like to see students being taught about the scale of the problem as soon as they engage with the online world. Clearly this is a far bigger problem than just an academic one, but we can’t all leave it for someone else to fix society. But even tackling this problem head-on is fraught with difficulty – as someone on the panel pointed out, this has the feeling of acceptance: getting abuse is part of being a successful female, so here’s some coping strategies, off you go.

Anyhow there is work being done in this area, and I particularly wanted to highlight what Sara Perry, one of the panelists, is doing at the moment. She’s collecting data about people’s online experiences, and there’s been around 200 responses to her survey so far (which is great as it’s brand new) – including people saying how they deal with this and offering SOLUTIONS or at least ways of getting through the problem for individuals. That’s a great thing, and I can’t wait to see what Sara and her team publish at the end of it. (From a purely selfish point of view, I’d like to be able to better advise people who ask me about this in social media workshops about how to deal with it.) So please consider taking the survey – the details and the link are on Sara’s blog. Sara is speaking up about really problematic issues here in the hope that it can help others who have endured similar incidents to those she’s experienced, which is vital.

If anyone has anything they’d like to add to this in the comments, whether it’s general discussion or advice on how to deal with online abuse, please leave a comment below. And if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!

 

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