Online Communities

What is an online community?

Wikipedia: “An online community is a virtual community that exists online and whose members enable its existence through taking part in membership ritual.” (link to Wikipedia article)

Meredith Farkas: “An online community is simply a group of people who gather online for a specific purpose.” (Farkas, 2007, p86).

Just like an offline community and online community needs a leader or someone to moderate what goes on with in the community. A moderator has many tasks and a great responsibility to the community.

Online Community: Best Practices

  1. Recognize your role as a moderator but also recognize the role of your members, do not try to control everything. “…allow people to connect with each other and speak their minds, it helps build trust and foster an environment where people are wiling to both own and share their work together” (Farkas, 2007, p105)
  2. Have guidelines and understand that not everyone will agree with them but they need to be followed.Often members join a community because of the guidelines set in place, similar to why someone chooses a particular school, if you allow them to be violated you will loose members and reputation.
  3. Hinder lurkers. Encourage visitors to become members. “By requiring users to take
    an affirmative action (that requires some minimal effort on their part), it weeds out the casual
    troublemaker from an interested user.” (Grohol, 2006)
  4. Communicate effectively by being clear, direct and frequent. Guidelines need to be communicated direct and clear, community updates need to be informational, and become a ‘human’ to the community, members like to hear from the ‘higher ups’. 

Communities to join:

  • Wikipedia is a free, collaboratively edited, and multilingual Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation
  • FreeCycle a community the derives off everything being free. Members can request items or offer items. Main rule: It must be free. 
  • Urbanspoon a community that enocurages members to leave reviews on restaurants they have eaten at. 
  • FourSquare a community that encourages members to check in to places they visit and leave tips or comment for other visitors. Incentives often are special coupons or offers when you check in. I once received 15% off my dinner bill just for checking into the restaurant on FourSquare. This community is predominantly mobile based.

References:

Farkas, M. G. (2007). Social Software in Libraries: Building collaboration, communication and community online.  Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.

 

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Library Social Media…what are your tactics?

Top 5 Social Media Tools for Promoting Library Services


What? Facebook
Why? Reach patrons of multiple ages, mobile accessibility, “Its massive reach provides compelling opportunities to connect with customers, both current and future, through fan pages, news feeds, groups, and throughout the site.” (SEOmoz)
How? Sign up for a group page (not a profile), designate the information that will be posted for your users and others to see and start posting. Posts about common topics, new ideas you want to implement. Using Facebook in this manner allows Libraries to get feedback in the easier way possible and directly from their users.

What? Twitter
Why? Networking in real time. A new tool to become personal with your users. Tweets are limited to 160 characters, requires tweets of significance and informational. IE “SJSU library closed Oct. 8 Columbus day!” (39 characters)
How? Sign up for a twitter account begin adding followers and following others. Read Musings about librarianship on how Twitter can help your library.

What? YouTube
Why? Video promotion
How? Video Blogs – have staff record book reviews of latest books, add a library tour and introduce your staff, invite participation from patrons “What is your favorite book?” and compile them into a video. Video Tours are very effective and allow users to get a feel for your library before they go, you can also put up tutorials on how to use your system. You can also use YouTube as a form of education videos, how many tutorials can you find on YouTube? Millions! I’m sure you can even find one on using YouTube in your Library.

What? Wikipedia
Why? Wikipedia offers a place to build guides for users. Wikis are a great way to keep on top of all the new services or updates happening in the library 

How? Create a Wiki (make sure to have an easy access link to the page) where Library staff can update changes to the library. You can also create a Wiki that patrons can access and add recommendations or even services that maybe a staff member did not think of.


What? Good-reads
Why? What better way to promote an RA (Readers Advisory) with Good-reads.
How? Visit the link and start adding books and reviews. Good-reads provides a way for patrons to see what the staff is reading and get recommendations and reviews. This tool in itself is a RA service, not just one to help promote your own library services.

-NimbleLibrarian

Recommended Reads:

Breeding, M. (2009). Social networking strategies for professionals. Computers in Libraries, 29(9), 29-31
Fichter, D. , & Avery, C. (2012). Tools of influence: Strategic use of social media. Online, 36(4), 58-60.


Step-by-Step Guide to Your Social Media Success
Avoid These 4 Common Social Media Mistakes – Joseph Ruiz

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