David Lee King

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social media | emerging trends | libraries
Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

My Trip to the Apple Store

Thu, 2015-07-30 09:30

A few weeks ago, I dropped my iPhone and cracked the screen (see accompanying picture of my poor iPhone).

I don’t use a smartphone case (I know, I know), but I also haven’t dropped my phone in 8 years. So I was bummed.

Oh well – time to visit the Apple Store! I found out that they’ll replace your broken iPhone screen (for $109+tax). That was cheaper than other smartphone-fix-it places in town, so I decided to go for it (after pieces of screen started flaking off in my pocket).

Here’s what happened during my trip to the Apple Store.

First, finding information on Apple’s website about the repair process was really easy to do. At Apple’s website, you simply click Support, then iPhone, then Repair. Then choose the huge button that says “Screen Damage” (guess I’m not the only one who drops their phone).

I love what this page says: “Accidents happen. Sometimes a screen can get cracked or shattered. We’re here to help.”

After that, I was able to choose Make an Appointment. The only bad thing about that is that there are no Apple Stores in Topeka, KS. So I drove about an hour to the Kansas City area, and visited the Leawood, KS store.

Interrupting my own story for a sec. So far, my “visit” has been online, and it has been excellent. No clicking around, no confused hunting for stuff. Nothing worded weird or lingo-y. Everything made sense, and I was quickly able to follow the trail to my “destination” – the “Make an Appointment” page.

And they reassured me about dropping my phone by saying “accidents happen … we’re here to help.”

OK – back to the story. The in-store experience was just as good.

When I was about 5 feet from the store entrance, I received a notification (see the image) welcoming me to the store, reminding me about my Genius Bar reservation, and telling me what to do next (check in).

Remember my articles awhile back about iBeacon technology? Apple Stores use it, so I was able to see it in action.

On the other side of the door was an Apple Store employee, ready to greet me and help me figure out what to do next (i.e., check in). Once checked in, I browsed around the store for awhile … and then another Apple Store employee was able to find me (via my iPhone – iBeacons in use again).

She walked me through the process, took my phone …. and told me it would be a 2 hour wait (it was a really busy Saturday at the Apple Store!). So I goofed off at a nearby Guitar Center for awhile (and played a sweet bass guitar), then went back to the Apple Store.

My phone was ready, so yet another Apple Store employee brought my iPhone out to me, made sure it worked fine, and then helped me pay, right where I was. I didn’t have to go stand in a line.

My iPhone is back to normal. Yay!

Here’s what I noticed. At the Apple Store, the experience was built around me:

  • I received a reminder about my appointment right at the door.
  • I was greeted by a friendly Apple Store employee.
  • Apple Store staff were easy to find, because they all wore matching blue shirts.
  • I could browse around the store until they were ready, and then they found me.
  • When it was time to pay, I paid right where I was. I didn’t have to stand in a line or go up to a check out counter.
  • The website provided a similar experience – it was designed to move me to the information I needed, when I needed it.
  • And of course, they did pretty much everything using an iPad. Without an attached keyboard.

I think libraries should be more like this! Think through my story, and compare it to your library:

  • Are your customers greeted at the door?
  • Are your staff easy to find, or do they blend in?
  • Do staff approach customers, or do customers have to approach staff and a desk to get help?
  • When ready to check out, can customers do it anywhere, or do they have to stand in a line or approach a desk?
  • How about your website? Is it designed to move customers to the right place at the right time, with the best information? Or is it more of a jumbled mess of information and services?

No, I’m not necessarily suggesting that libraries buy matching shirts for everyone. But I DO think we can learn a thing or two from the Apple Store. And I think we can make our in-library and on-the-website experiences better than they are now.

Categories: Library News

Your Digital Branch has Unique Content

Tue, 2015-07-21 08:21

Did you know that Emerald Group Publishing has a Special Features part of their website? They have some really useful articles there … one of them being an article from me!

I just posted this – Your Digital Branch has Unique Content. What do I talk about? What the title says – the fact that your library’s website – your digital branch – has some very unique content. Think ebooks, or the full catalog vs browsing the shelves for stuff not checked out.

And some other ideas too. Go read it!

Categories: Library News

Serving People Who are Different Than You

Tue, 2015-07-14 09:30

I just read the book Crafting the Customer Experience For People Not Like You: How to Delight and Engage the Customers Your Competitors Don’t Understand, by Kelly McDonald (that is one long title!).

I read it around the same time I attended ALA’s annual conference in San Francisco. There was a lot of discussion about diversity, as there always is at a library conference. Which is awesome.

When we talk about diversity at one of those events, usually “diversity” means minorities, gender, and sexual preference.

This book had a slightly different take on that. Kelly says this (on page 7): “I define diversity as “any way that I can be different from you.” For example, if you have kids and I don’t, we’re likely to have different priorities and face different pressures. Your entire focus shifts when you become a parent, because it has to. Parents think about and evaluate everything differently from people who aren’t parents. But that difference has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, age, or even gender; it simply has to do with whether or not you have children.”

Then Kelly goes on to talk about the customer experience, both physically and online (primarily through social media), and discusses serving “people not like you.” She includes generational differences, women and families, Hispanics/Latinos, different racial and ethnic communities, and GLBT customers.

I really appreciated this slightly tweaked explanation of diversity, since I’m usually the white married dude sitting in a large sea of women talking about creating a more diverse workforce in libraries. Just sayin

So – interesting book. Give it a spin!

Categories: Library News

Make your Website UX ROCK

Thu, 2015-07-09 08:30

I recently spoke at the New England Library Association’s ITS Spring Event in Portsmouth, NH. Fun day, cool people!

I spoke about library website UX, and provided some tips on making library websites easier to use. They made a video of my talk – here it is!

Here’s another talk from that day. This panel includes two case studies of library website redesign projects, from Andrea Bunker and Sarah Leonardi. They have different perspectives – so watch this one too!

Enjoy!

Categories: Library News

Social Media Best Practices

Tue, 2015-07-07 09:30

Ever wish a social media company like Facebook or Twitter would tell you the best way to post on their site?

Well – you’re in luck! Most social media companies want to embrace the business user (that’s you), and have some sort of best practices that they share.

Here’s a listing of current Best Practices for popular social media sites:

Now you have no excuse – read up, and make those posts ROCK!

Tips image by Rachael Voorhees

Categories: Library News

Books is Not Your Brand

Tue, 2015-06-23 09:30

Businesses and organizations have some pretty recognizable stuff. McDonald’s has their hamburger. Nike has their swooshy logo and their “just do it” tagline. Google has their search engine. Apple has the iPhone.

These things – products, logos, and taglines – aren’t brands. They are products, consumables, and marketing projects. They are things the company produces.

But what’s a brand? Here are some definitions:

  • “A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization” (from gist brands)
  • “… your brand is a story, a set of emotions and expectations and a stand-in for how we think and feel about what you do” (from Seth Godin)
  • “The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole” (from JUST Creative)

So when I hear someone say that a library’s brand is books, it irks me a bit. Because it’s simply not true. Yes, books are a very recognizable thing that libraries have; a major “product,” if you will. But having a collection of books is just one thing we do out of many.

And these days, you can get books pretty much anywhere: at Walmart, at the grocery store, or through a click on my Kindle app. Having access to a bunch of books isn’t really a unique thing anymore.

I love what Blackcoffee says about brands and products in their blog post, A Product is Not a Brand:

“Many companies fail to achieve their branding goals because they mistake their brand for their product, service or technology. Simply put, a brand is none of these! A brand is an experience that lives at the intersection of promise and expectation. Your products are a way to deliver upon that promise. Forget features, concentrate on the unique experience you can provide.”

Don’t mistake a major product – your book collection – as a brand. Because it’s not. Even better – go the extra mile (or two, or three) and work to define your library’s brand. Then see where that takes you!

More information on Branding:

Book image by Dawid Palen

Categories: Library News

App Advisory at the Library

Tue, 2015-06-16 09:30

Libraries have recommended stuff to customers for years. Reader’s advisory. Video suggestions. New music to listen to. Ways to start a research project.

Why not app advisory?

Think about it. What do over half of your customers have? Smartphones. And easy access to the app store. What they don’t have is a trusted app “curator” – someone who can recommend the best apps.

What would that look like? I’ll start us off:

  • Best new apps of the month
  • Popular apps
  • Apps connected to a season (i.e., it’s summer, so apps with grilling suggestions. Yes, they exist).
  • Suggestions on how to use an app
  • And of course, you’d mention library-related apps. Ebook apps. Your ILS app, if you have one. etc.

This also means that we would need to have easy access to apps, and have a small app budget. And a variety of smartphones and tablets – both iOS and Android – to play with.

App recommendation for your community. Could be cool. What do you think?

Categories: Library News

Huge List of Social Media Policies

Thu, 2015-06-11 09:30

I’ve been working on a set of social media guidelines for my library. It’s still in rough draft form, and has a long way to go (i.e., a bunch of meetings) before the library decides to use it.

Social media policies and guidelines can be really hard to write. Thankfully, Social Media Governance can help! This site has links to hundreds of social media policies from corporate, government, and non-profit organizations and businesses.

Here are some guidelines I found while poking through some of the links:

  • Please respect copyright. If it is not yours, don’t use it. It is very simple. It is that person’s choice to share his or her material with the world, not yours. Before posting someone else’s work, please check with the owner first. (From Adidas).
  • Be thoughtful about how you present yourself in online social networks. The lines between public and private, and personal and professional are blurred in online social networks. If you identify yourself as an Apple employee or are known to be one, you are now connected to your co-workers, Leaders and even Apple’s customers. You should ensure that content associated with you is consistent with Apple policies. (Apple Retail employees).
  • All AP journalists are encouraged to have accounts on social networks. They have become an essential tool for AP reporters to gather news and share links to our published work. We recommend having one account per network that you use both personally and professionally. (from the Associated Press).
  • AP staffers must be aware that opinions they express may damage the AP’s reputation as an unbiased source of news. AP employees must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum and must not take part in organized action in support of causes or movements (also from the AP).
  • Guidelines for functioning in an electronic world are the same as the values, ethics and confidentiality policies employees are expected to live every day, whether you’re Tweeting, talking with customers or chatting over the neighbor’s fence. Remember, your responsibility to Best Buy doesn’t end when you are off the clock. For that reason, this policy applies to both company sponsored social media and personal use as it relates to Best Buy (from Best Buy).
  • Know that the Internet is permanent. Once information is published online, it is essentially part of a permanent record, even if you “remove/delete” it later or attempt to make it anonymous. If your complete thought, along with its context, cannot be squeezed into a character‐restricted space (such as Twitter), provide a link to an online space where the message can be expressed completely and accurately (from Coca-Cola).

Interesting stuff, huh? Remember – if you are thinking about creating some social media guidelines for your organization, you don’t have to start from scratch. Find some good examples, pull some points off those, and then tweak and expand as needed.

The Internet is our friend!

Image from Beth Kanter

Categories: Library News

Tips for Making Square Videos

Tue, 2015-06-09 09:30

Drum line at the library!

A video posted by Topeka Library (@topekalibrary) on Jun 3, 2015 at 7:51am PDT

If you’re making video for social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, or Vine, you might think about using a square format, rather than the usual 16:9 aspect ratio.

Why? Because square format videos work great on a mobile device – which is probably what your viewers will be using. And both Instagram and Vine use the square format for videos.

Here are some tips to make your square videos awesome:

  • Fill the frame. Get up close to your subject. If your viewer is watching on a smartphone, that square video will be pretty tiny! Make sure your viewer can see your video.
  • Center the content. Don’t worry so much about that Rule of Thirds here. Go ahead and put your subject in the middle of the frame.
  • Leave space on the edges. If you hold your smartphone vertically while creating your video, leave space at the top or bottom, so you can center in on the action that will show up in a square format. Same thing if you hold the phone horizontally – leave space at the edges, so your subject fills the frame but doesn’t get edited out in a square format.
  • Get to the Point. Really important for Instagram or Vine videos – you only have 15 or 6 seconds, so you will need to start right in on the action and your point!

More Square Format Video Tips here:

Instagram video from my library’s Instagram Account

Categories: Library News

How Often Should You Post to Social Media?

Thu, 2015-05-28 09:30

I’m often asked “how often should we post to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc.?” I pretty much always say the same thing (I’ll give my response in a sec).

First, read these two articles. The have really different takes on the question “how often should I post?”:

I’d agree with the second article. The first article is based on average posting frequency research. For example, one study they mentioned looked at thousands of tweets from brands, and found that 2-3 tweets per day gained the highest engagement levels. Fine research, but the article then says “ok, so do 3 posts a day in Twitter.”

I’m not certain that’s the best conclusion. It’s like doing research on how tall people are. You might find out that the average height of a male is 5’9″. Then, based on that average height, you’d tell clothing companies to make pants to fit a 5’9″ man in order to sell the most pants.

You see the problem, right (I certainly do, since I’d be wearing high water pants!)?

 

Second, here’s how I answer the question “How often should I post?”:

  1. Post more than you’re currently posting. For most libraries, this advice works great. Why? They don’t have a dedicated posting schedule, or posting goals. Or they post sporadically. Maybe no one posted last month. Sometimes I say post enough to look alive in that social media tool, so at least once per day.
  2. Figure out your organization’s optimal posting frequency. Start experimenting with posting more, then look at engagement rates, daily unlikes (on Facebook), etc. and adjust accordingly. Or, just ask your social media followers if they want more or less from you, then go with the flow.

The real answer? It varies by organization and by social media tool. How often do you post? Is it enough? Please share!

Cool numbers image by Denise Krebs

Categories: Library News

Library Facebook Images Dropbox is Moving!

Tue, 2015-05-26 09:30

First off – you guys have heard about Ben Bizzle and Jeannie Allen’s Library Facebook Images Dropbox thing, right? Right?

In case you haven’t, here’s what you’ve been missing: free images that work well on library Facebook Pages. Made by librarians, for librarians. For free!!

At this point, there are over 1000 images, and over 800 members who use the service.

Now that you’re up to speed, here’s the second part – It’s moving. Here’s what Ben says:

“Having grown frustrated with all the duplications, deletions, and people’s resumes getting uploaded to the Dropbox, I have moved the collection to a far more suitable web-based platform, hosted and supported by Library Market. Sign up at www.librarymarket.com/dropbox and make sure to bookmark the page for quick and easy access.”

Sign up and use it – I just did!

Image from the Library Facebook Images Dropbox Memes Page

Categories: Library News

Check out The Cybrarian’s Web 2

Tue, 2015-05-19 10:42

Cheryl Ann Peltier-Davis has a new book out called The Cybrarian’s Web 2: An A-Z Guide to FREE Social Media Tools, Apps, and Other Resources.

I wrote the forward to the book because I think The Cybrarian’s Web 2 is full of really useful stuff. The book covers everything from Adobe productivity and creativity tools to Zinio.

Here’s what Information Today says about The Cybrarian’s Web 2: “Volume 2 of Peltier-Davis’s popular guide presents 61 more free tech tools and shows how they can be successfully applied in libraries and information centers. Written for info pros who want to innovate, improve, and create new library services, Volume 2 combines real-world examples with practical insights and out-of-the-box thinking.

You’ll discover an array of great web resources and mobile apps supporting the latest trends in cloud storage, crowdfunding, ebooks, makerspaces, MOOCs, news aggregation, self-publishing, social bookmarking, video conferencing, visualization, wearable technology, and more – all tailored to the needs of libraries and the communities they serve.

If you’re looking for expert guidance on using free content, tools, and apps to help your library shine, The Cybrarian’s Web and The Cybrarian’s Web 2 are for you.”

Interested? Get it now!

Categories: Library News

Facebook in the Library – an ALA Techsource Webinar

Thu, 2015-05-14 09:30

FYI – next week, I’m teaching a Facebook in the Library webinar for ALA TechSource. Here are some details:

  • When: May 20, 1:30 CST (90 minute webinar)
  • Where do you sign up: Go here to sign up
  • Cost: $50
  • What will I cover?
    • Fundamentals for setting up and managing your Facebook page
    • Planning content for your library Facebook page
    • How to engage the library’s Facebook fans
    • How to market your library through a Facebook page
    • etc

Hope to “see” you then!

Categories: Library News

Michael Hyatt’s Paper Fetish

Tue, 2015-05-12 09:30

Ok, my title’s not really fair. I love Michael Hyatt’s blog. He was the CEO of Thomas Nelson (a book publisher), and now he’s an author, speaker, etc., and writes good stuff that makes you think.

But making me think and agreeing with him are sometimes two very different things!

For example, take his latest post, Why the Best reading App Available Today is Not What You Think: 4 Scientific Reasons Paper is Still Superior to the Screen.

I don’t completely agree with his 4 points. Here are his points with my thoughts added:

1. Memory – Michael claims that “we orient ourselves differently on pages and screens” and provides his experience of remembering where a quote appears in a physical book. His “proof” of this is a very interesting article from Scientific American, and his own experience.

The article’s interesting and makes several good points. But Scientific American isn’t hardcore science – it’s pop science driven by popular culture. Two very different things.

Michael also mentions that he sometimes remembers quotes by remembering physical aspects of the book. I’d say that’s just how his brain works. Thinking and learning styles vary greatly.

For example, when I read something, I see a movie in my head (yes, I’m one of those). If I want to remember where something in a book, I need to start thumbing or scrolling through to get context, and then I can quickly find what I’m looking for. But not by remembering something on a printed page.

2. Comprehension – Michael states that flipping back and forth in a print book helps with comprehension, and that process is harder on a screen. And then he claims that things written for a screen are “not designed for deep, thorough reading.”

On the one hand, this is apparently a thing. I’d say it’s a thing we’re used to, so we’re really talking about that rough transition from print to digital again. But I’ll agree with him.

On the other hand, the research that Michael links to for this point isn’t as useful as you’d think. The researchers compared reading comprehension of 72 10th graders in Norway. Half of them read print texts, and half of them read PDF versions of the texts on a 15” computer screen.

For starters, 72 10th graders is not a comprehensive study. Secondly … PDF files on a small computer screen? What did the PDF files look like? Why didn’t they compare print reading to reading on a tablet or at least an ebook reader? They have apparently recently done a study using paper texts and iPads, but that research hasn’t yet been published.

Comparing printed texts to a text read on a small computer screen doesn’t seem very comparable to me.

3. Distraction – When reading electronic texts, Michael says “Suddenly, I find myself checking Twitter or Feedly and breaking my concentration.” OK, that can be a distraction, and print books don’t have Tweets popping up all the time.

This point speaks more about the individual than any real research, I think. Or maybe the material being read! I know that when I’m reading something interesting, whether that’s on a screen or on pulp, I’m focused. Not a problem.

4. Immersive engagement – This is really a rehash of his 3rd point, with another mention of those 72 Norwegian teens. Heck – trying to get a teen to listen to you for 5 minutes is hard enough. I can’t imagine trying to get them to take an immersive leap into a PDF file!

Remember – just because a popular blogger like Michael Hyatt says something is true because it’s “scientific,” that doesn’t necessarily make it so.

Two more really interesting articles on this topic:

  1. E-Readers Don’t Cut Down on Reading Comprehension – from the Smithsonian. There’s a LOT more to reading comprehension than whether the words appear on paper or on a screen.
  2. Don’t Be Misled about Paper Versus Electronic Books – from Psychology Today. Again, the debate is much more nuanced than paper vs electronic. Definitely read this article – the authors make the case that rather than debating the merits of print or electronic, just get people more access to more books so they can read more. And who does that best? A library.

Image of Michael Hyatt from his Twitter account. Go follow him!

 

Categories: Library News

Presentations at Computers in Libraries 2015

Fri, 2015-05-01 17:14

I just got back from a full week of learning and sharing at Computers in Libraries. Great conference, as usual!

Here are links to the presentations I gave:

Enjoy!

Categories: Library News

Mobile-only Use Overtakes Desktop-only Use

Thu, 2015-04-30 09:30

I’m still at Computers in Libraries 2015 – great conference as usual!

I also just saw this from Gary Price on InfoDocket, and thought it was worth sharing.

In the US, the number of mobile-only internet users now exceeds the number of desktop-only internet users.

Here’s what ComScore says about this: “While the share of mobile-only users has climbed over the past year to 11.3 percent, the desktop-only population has drastically declined to just 10.6 percent. Of course these numbers also tell us that the vast majority of the digital population (78 percent) is multi-platform and goes online using both desktop and mobile platforms.”

What’s this mean? More of our us are carrying the internet around in our pockets, bags, and hands. We’re in front of small screens more often than we are in front of a desktop computer, which makes sense.

It also means that we need to make absolutely certain that our library and organization websites work on mobile devices. Having a great mobile-friendly website is more important than having it work fine on a desktop computer. Why? Because our customers are in front of the small screen more often, and have access to a small screen more often, than desktop or laptop computers.

For many things, it’s simply more convenient to pick up a smartphone to quickly check something. Not always the most optimal – but it is generally more convenient.

So – how’s your website’s mobile experience? Not too hot? If not, then … it’s time to start working on it!

Photo of my iPhone taken by me

Categories: Library News

6 Tips on Going Viral

Tue, 2015-04-21 09:30

Last week, my library posted a Youtube video for National Library Week that went “viral.” No, not millions of views viral, but over 100,000 views in a week viral. Which is pretty big for us!

That’s not our most watched video ever … yet. I’m pretty sure it will make that in a week or two. But it is our most viral video to date, meaning that it spread around the web pretty fast, and was reposted in quite a few places with larger audiences.

How did we do it? That’s a good question, and ultimately it’s hard to predict what will “go viral” and what won’t. That said, there are definitely some ways to make your videos better, which will help get your video viewed by more people.

6 Tips on Going Viral:

  1. Start with great content. You have to start with the content. It has to be well-done and interesting enough for people to watch for 1-3 minutes, and then want to share with their social media friends.
  2. Create something that makes sense to your viewers. Our video was written from the customer’s point of view, which helped it be interesting to more than just a librarian audience. This isn’t always the case for truly viral videos (triple rainbow, anyone?), but it certainly can’t hurt!
  3. Have a hook. Or 2. Or 3. By “hook,” I mean have something in the video that catches people’s attention. This video had several: It was done for National Library Week (captured a library industry audience); we used people in our community (captured a local audience); and we inserted a ton of Taylor Swift “easter eggs” in the video (captured Taylor Swift fans).
  4. Give extra attention to audio and lighting. Again, the goal is not Hollywood quality – we are a library, after all! But to the best of your ability, make sure your audio, lighting, and video is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the content of the video.
  5. Use people who don’t mind being “in front of the camera.” We’re libraries, so we’ll probably use library staff in the video, which is great! However – have you ever watched a library video that was sorta painful? Bad singing, obviously reading a script, very nervous, etc? Believe me, I know – I’ve made some of those myself! There’s an easy way to fix that. I’ll bet you have some library staff who do better behind the camera (writing, filming, helping out), and some who do well in front of the camera. Use appropriately! Also think about training staff to be in front of the camera, or maybe partner with a local theater group.
  6. Push it everywhere. We published our video on Monday morning. Then we posted it to our website and pushed it hard on Facebook and Twitter pretty much the rest of the week. We even used a couple of hashtags (#NLW15, #swifties, and #taylorswift) to attract more viewers. All that sharing helped a lot.

If you follow these 6 simple tips, will this guarantee your video will go viral? No. It’s hard to say what will capture the attention of a bunch of people for 2 minutes!

But if you follow these six simple tips, you will definitely improve your videos. That’s always a good thing.

Image by John Harwood

Categories: Library News

#checkitout, Taylor Swift, & National Library Week

Mon, 2015-04-13 10:04

Guess what? It’s National Library Week! To celebrate, some really creative staff and customers at my library have made a fun, creative, and AWESOME parody video of Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off.

Yes, ours is called Check It Out. Please watch the video (pretty sure you guys will like it).

We have a goal: we want to encourage library advocacy, and get people to check out the library!

We also want this video shared as widely as possible. So, I have a request or two:

  • Please share the video in your favorite social media channels – the Youtube Video link is here.
  • Use these hashtags everywhere you share the video: #checkitout #NLW15 #taylorswift #swifties
  • Let Taylor Swift know about the video – she’s on Twitter and Facebook (we’d LOVE it if she saw it).

While you’re at it, see if you can find all the “easter eggs” in the video. There are a TON of Taylor Swift references hidden in the video.

Either way – this week is a good week to remind people how important libraries are to our communities. So please remind them!

Categories: Library News