Why Twitter works

Twitter, signified by a little blue bird in relation to the verb “tweeting”, has boomed over the past couple of years. You are limited to 140 characters to say what you want, how is that enough room to express your rant about something significant, but not really, that you dealt with.

Twitter succeeds in my personal opinion because its easy to read, easy to update and a sufficient time filler while you stand in line at Starbucks at 6am to order you steaming hot cup of wake me up, or some other event in which your attention is found in your palm and not elsewhere.

In the library world, Twitter is most effectively used as a megaphone for events, new displays, new books, etc.  UBC (University of British Columbia) libraries used twitter to share with followers the types of reference questions they answered throughout the day. (Fields, 2010) Using Twitter in this unique way encourage interaction with followers. The best application of Twitter in a library is a perfect combination of both. Too much personal can lead to an incorrect view of the library where as too much professional can lead to an incorrect view of the library. Do you see where I am going with this?

SJSU Library uses their twitter account in a such a way. I know by browsing through past tweets I will be abelt of ind just about every event, new exhibit, hour change and new resource that occurred since the birth of @SJSU_kinglib. However, I can also find some inner touches of personality, although I think they could do a better job in spreading that around.

What is your opinion? Let me know @NimbleLibrarian

PS: graphics? no graphics?

-NimbleLibrarian

References:

Fields, E. (2010). A unique twitter use for reference services. Library Hi Tech News, 27(6), 14-15

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Spartans Market Successfully

San Jose State University King Library

I selected the King Library as my marketing critique focus. The library has a well rounded presence on the web; outside of their website they market themselves through the following ways:
Twitter: @SJSU_kinglib
Facebook: SJSU King Library and
Google+: SJSU King Library
Bi-Annual Newsletter: SJSU King Library Newsletter

I will discuss how they engage themselves with these applications as well as address any improvements I see that might benefit the library. These points made are my observations only and do not included insight from the employees of the King Library.

I have a twitter feed, @nimblelibrarian, I started out following @SJSU_kinglib they have a small following of 240 twitters and within 30 minutes I was being followed back, this response time impressed me. Followed by this prompt new follower I browsed past tweets and gathered a feel of what exactly the King Library wanted its followers to know. They are supportive of other SJSU accounts, re-tweeting campus club announcements, local reference desk, local public libary, and the main SJSU feed. This past Friday I tweeted, “Its Friday, I want rain, soup and a good book”  @nimblelibrarian. I do not have a following, as I have just started developing my own brand, so you can imagine my excitement when I was re-tweeted by @SJSU_kinglib .

The impression made to me so far by the King Library was positive. Along with simple recognitions of their followers, they advertised upcoming events & exhibits taking place in the library.

The King Library also uses Facebook to expand their web presence. The Facebook page for the library was born, August 31, 2011. It is barely a year old, which surprised me as I thought they would have started using it earlier. The Facebook page did not impress me as much as the twitter feed did but it did not let me down either. The library uses images often with corresponding posts are which often about upcoming events or exhibits. Due to the nature of these posts it was difficult to see a “real” person behind them; they felt more like an automatic response you get when you apply to a job. That being said I came across one post that teased with personality, a post about the San Jose Falcons. (see post below)

 
This post encourages student to come to the library for non-library things instead of research, study, computers, etc. It is important to capture and include your target audience, in this case students, in your posts. This post had 3 likes and 3 comments, higher than most posts on the page.

Another concern was that the response time to student complaint posts was around a full day.   I saw to complaints, one directed at noisy patrons and the other directed at the Library Wi-Fi, response time for both around 24 hours. For the complaint directed towards noisy patrons the response was okay, because they requested information to report it. The complain directed to the library, “Please fix the Wifi connection. I really want to stay in the library to study. I can’t study at home!!!!!!!” needed to be addressed much earlier than 24 hours later because the student was studying and needed the Wi-Fi at that moment. I’d recommend tot he King Library to reduce the response time to posts like these, in order to be more helpful throughout their web presence. 

The Google+ account, created September 2011, is very much like the King Library Facebook page, posts are almost identical. On Nov. 4, 2011 one of the first posts to receive any follower response included the response from SJSU King Library thanking them for their support, +1 to their rapport. I critique this in their marketing because it is vital to acknowledge those who follow you, your “fans” as you will. However, this unfortunately fades in to the background after a couple more posts and the acknowledgment is no longer made.  It is important to keep it up, even if you only have a handful of fans, appreciate them. 

As I made my way through the main applications SJSU King Library uses to expand their online presence there are few things that I want need to address.  First, bravo to their consistent posting even with a mediocre following. Second, thank you for re-tweeting, just a small gesture that shows their acknowledgment of their followers.

They have a strong grasp of how to use these services to spread the word about what is happening in the library however they need to focus on expanding their following. SJSU has an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students, their followings hit around 300, that is 1% of the school.  I suggest they do this in multiple ways including:

1. Engage your followers – encourage comments in your posts and tweets. The more engaging you are the more interaction you will receive. Use posts for an opportunity to get survey responses from students, “Did you attend the Day of the Dead exhibit?”
2. Express personality beyond events and exhibit posting. Add to your newspaper a comic strip, for example talk about the employees and what they enjoy, make the library more personal.
3. Quicken your response time to posts. 24 hours for a response to  a wi-fi complaint is useless to the patron.  
4. Create a blog. Blogs are a great way to move above and beyond hours and event posts, of course I do not think I need to tell you that.

This being said, SJSU King Library markets their library services well, events, exhibits, hours, changes, etc. If their brand is “A library that keeps their students informed of events happening on campus” then they nailed it, no matter how boring that sounds. I recommend really exploiting the personality of the library, there are a great deal of employees their and I am sure they are not all boring. 

Professional or Personal they still convey a message

This post will be in response to Exercise #2 for Libr246. The requirements included subscribing to 5 listed blogs and then 3 of your own interest and then compare them, write about it and provide your insight. You can continue to read or decide you don’t really care, either way I am still writing about it.

Listing from most enjoyed to least enjoyed the assigned blogs are as follows:

David Lee King – trends, social media, technology, constant but not predictable (no set schedule) and small bites with lots of flavor.

Librarian by Day – personal blogging about professional stuff. Language use is entertaining but not over board annoying, posts involve topics that make you think twice, not as constant as I’d like but still enjoyable when published.

In the Library With the Lead Pipe– this is a more professional blog written by a community of librarians and featuring guest publishers often from the education sector. These posts are written in a more formal language, so not usually a quick read and they tend to be lengthy but often talk about interesting and necessary subjects pertaining to libraries.

Librarian’s Commute – this particular blog I enjoyed because I work at a 2 year college so most of the posts I could relate to and also directly implement into my work. These posts were often long but they contained personal language, making them easier to read.

The Distant Librarianposts were usually brief, with excessive use of punctuation (i.e !!!!!!! instead of !), I’m thinking this stems from the personal connection and writing like one speaks, of course that is only speculation. The most recent most involved a personal trip to a fair with their family so the blog hs both personal and professional aspects.

Are you bored yet? If not, visit those links and check out the blogs.

What did I rank the blogs the way I did? Well I read most if not all my blog feeds on my phone, I don’t like to scroll very much but I like to get a lot of neat information. David Lee King small bite lots of flavor. Also, I enjoy posts that provide links within the post but also recommended reads so if I have time and am in the mood I can continue to read on the topic. Professionally I don’t really care for pictures in the post but personal blog posts better have pictures or I’m likely not to read. Just being honest.

After subscribing to the 5 blogs above I MUST subscribe to 3 more library blogs….well I was already subscribed to three library blogs as it is.

Stephen’s Lighthouse – Stephen Abram’s library blog. Who is Stephen Abram? (do you live under a rock?!)…read about him here. Stephen uses Social Media like most people eat, very often. His blog posts can range from 1-5 per day and they vary from controversial topics to new technologies to surveys on jobs.

The Daring Librarian -A personal blog of a professional librarian; however the blog is very popular making it both personal and professional (as part of her own branding). The author is very interested in social media tools and a self admitted Geek. Her posts are often very energetic and can be overwhelming in graphics. The topics often follow trends in the library world, social media sector and more.

The Jolly Librarian – written by a librarian at a Tennessee community college. I began following the JollyLibrarian when it was recommended by a colleague. Her posts are entertaining to read and help me as I build up our library blog. The author provides weekly challenges and updates the readers on how the staff graded in. Along with those posts are posts directly aimed at college students and tips to help them be more successful in school and life.

What makes a blog successful?

  1. Constant posting but not always predictable. If you come across something interesting, neat, etc. Share it. Don’t wait until the scheduled date to post it. There is a lot of information out there you won’t run out.
  2. Informative but not like drinking from a fire hose. Give us small bites with lots of flavor.
  3. Entertaining – formal writing is great but put some spunk into your posts otherwise its like reading term papers and lets be honest who really likes reading those?
  4. Topis are relate-able… Basically, if your readers can relate to your posts you will find your following to grow.

Thus concludes the ramblings.
Stop by again.
-NimbleLibrarian

Social Media…are you in it?

I have the following Social Media tools
Twitter: @nimblelibrarian
Facebook: Whitni Watkins
LinkedIn: Whitni Watkins
FourSquare: Whitni Watkins

I enjoy using these tools and I am working on developing my own brand. (more on that somewhere else)
My Facebook I use for personal use, but I make sure that what I post there is still professional. AKA I don’t want to post something that has potential to get me in trouble with an employer.

My linked in account is primarily for professional use. I have recommendations from past employers, my resume fully posted and I update it often. I continue to make connections with potential colleagues, or employers I would be interested in working for. I also join groups that are of my professional interest.

LinkedIn was slightly confusing at first but now that I have used it more frequently I have recognized its potential. The biggest thing about LinkedIn is that it is a professional aimed social tool, meaning what you put up is more at stake employment wise than anything else, so this requires more detailed attention than Facebook.

I think today yes Librarians should have social media pages, like Linked In.This social media tool is perfect for enhancing your involvement in the professional world but also a great way for potential employers to scope you out. As I type this I realize that my interviewers from yesterday can be checking out my page right now, if they haven’t already.

A Librarian should have a linked in page if for nothing else but you have a place where you can be fully represented professionally. As Mary Ellen Bates concluded in her article Revisiting LinkedIn from Online Magazine, “Even if you choose to set your privacy settings to stun and never share an update, LinkedIn is a useful resource for info pros.” (Bates, 2012, p64)

I don’t think a LinkedIn page for Libraries is essential but they can use the groups option to increase their awareness as their librarians add them into their profile pages. LinkedIn is a tool that can be used for libraries, but are their other tools that will provide better attention for the library? Yes. Facebook is an ideal place for school libraries and public libraries to create a presence. Their main audience (pre-teens, teenagers, young adults) are using Facebook not LinkedIn.