Author Archives: photofellow08

About photofellow08

I am a YA librarian and technology high school teacher in rural Maine.

QR Codes (with CI and RI)

I spoke with a marketing intern yesterday, who has both a job and an internship creating digital media online and promoting it all with social media. We talked among other things, about video marketing and his social media preferences. He shared his thoughts on the usage of Google Analytical; as a former accounting professional with a love for anything mathematical, I found it to be a great conversation. But then he reached further when he shifted focus to include the consideration of both CI (consumer influence) and RI (return on investment) when using social media.
Then I asked about QR codes. We discussed some of the benefits, but that with an instant world the code had to work flawlessly when activated. We talked about the benefits in a large environment like museums, galleries and academic libraries to use QR codes like exhibits with station numbers: a QR code to be linked to audio providing new information such as a map and placing it all in context.
For our small, rural libraries with a single room – this would not be a necessity. For what other purpose could we use them? Since all public and school libraries in our region offer free Wi-Fi even devices such as iPods and iPads could access the Internet without needing cell phone service. This could be helpful as there are still many “dead zones.”
Having done promotional and marketing for years in a high school setting, the key with our students is to mix it up. Before spring break, I asked a random sampling of our students (about 10%). None said they were interested in having me place QR codes on books so that they could hear a booktalk or watch a book trailer. They either pick up the book and decide or not. They like when I talk to them about it; they prefer direct knowledge from my having read the book. So clearly, constant use of QR codes for Top 100 books would never really work. CI would be limited (non-existent) and the RI a waste of time, which is precious in a one-person library so as not to be wasted.
With the intern I offered my thoughts and ideas about more limited and random usage:

  • Special events – posters would be printed with QR codes and accessible throughout their communities and not just in the school (provides clues to the challenges or codes needed such as Amazing Race, Scavenger Hunt, etc)
  • Skype visit with an author – link a QR code to the author’s page, which usually offers so much.
  • Banned Book Week – I had already planned to cover books with striped paper (like prison garb) and use a bar code. Instead, I could include a QR code that would link to a special web page designed to share more about the when, where and why the book was banned. Still undecided if I should reveal the title or not (my students loved the Blind Date with a Book this past Valentine’s Day)
  • Blind Date with a Book (see banned book week, similar idea covered with heart wrapping paper and a QR code that provides a Dating Profile that might further inspire a reader to check out the book)

These types of QR code usage, combined with other varying marketing over the course of the school year appear to be worth the time to try. Only with a limited usage within the school, a few times a year – I can get administrative approval to loosen the “no cell phones in school” rule and make the library (during those weeks only!) a Phone Zone. That alone will build credibility and CI, more than any other effort I create. Wish me luck! (feel free to add to the ideas list…)


It’s all about ownership…intellectual property and social media

As an educator, I own what I create and take it with me when I no longer teach a particular course, unit or program. Administration, the school, or the district does not own these materials: they are mine alone.

So, who owns what we create on social media? Well, that depends on whom you ask. Some social media sites claim ownership, in the small print (of course). But, in the world of social media, more and more is being created as part of a group effort. GoogleDocs and Wiki’s with multiple bits of owners, all contributing. And laws of ownership become murky.

A case in point is happening right now in Maine: a founder of a charter school (Maine’s first) who registered and created social media resources without compensation before the school was even created and approved. He developed a full website, a Facebook presence, and created numerous GoogleDocs to gather information necessary to start a private school: names, addresses and phone numbers of potential students and their parents. He built databases of information; he was only hired after the school was approved and given charter status by the State of Maine.

Now, he has taken the school’s entire social media presence hostage. He’s revoked shared privileges of GoogleDocs a week before his termination, and brought down both the website and Facebook presence the day after. He was also using applications for teaching and staffing position information that the board cannot access. And nearly all of the school’s data was reliant on GoogleDocs. So, who owns it?

Of course the board needs these resources: 160 interested students who’s funding is required to open the school this fall. The terminated director plans to utilize these resources, his intellectual property, in another endeavor – maybe even a competing charter school.

Clearly lawyers are going to get richer, as both sides have hired attorneys to sort out the legalities. According to Frauenheim, in the Workforce Management article: Social Media and HR: You can’t take it with you…or can you?, “Experts say companies ought to get out ahead of the portability problem by setting clear rules from the get-go about long-term ownership of social media material. Attention to the details of how social media accounts are set up also matters.” This was the case with recruiter Jackie Juge who left Microsoft, and took her five years worth of contact information with her. She now works for a division of Google (Frauenheim, 2011).

Many companies who don’t have a policy, or don’t clearly articulate exactly what their policy covers can find themselves in the same boat that Microsoft and now Baxter Academy for Technology and Science are in. A key component must include no-compete clauses and especially refer to social media created prior to yet becoming the property of the new entity, such as with the case of Baxter Academy failed to do. This is becoming more critical because “social media portability is a gray area lacking clear legal guidance” says Kathy O’Reilly, director of social medial relations for Monster Worldwide, Inc. “There really aren’t any precedent-setting cases” (Frauenheim, 2011). 

In the meantime, the school is at a stalemate with its founder, each suing the other — as the board is trying desperately to recreate their social media resources.

Frauenheim, E. (2011). Social media and HR: You can’t take it with you…or can you? Workforce Management 90(6), 32-37. 

Gallagher, N. (2013, March 11). Portland charter school sues its founder. Portland Press Herald. Retrieved from:

Note: printed newspaper article of Portland Press Herald in the March 9th edition was titled: Academy fights for control of websites. It was the same author.

Back in the day…before joining Facebook

My original plan was to generate my own study using the five high schools and five colleges I have had some connection to over the years, much like Michalis Gerolimos’ article: Academic Libraries on Facebook: An Analysis of Users’ Comments.

Of my five high schools, none have a library specific FB account, and four of the five are pitiful with their pages: average posts 3-11 a year, and half of those are self-serving advertisements targeted at students. Few were liked, and only staff posted comments.

However, one really stood out as jumping into the deep end of Facebook: CVA. It is a private high school in northwestern Maine supporting winter ski and snowboarding athletes. Many of the alum have gone on to national and international acclaim: Bode Miller, Seth Wescott, Kirsten Clark, and Emily Cook.

In the old days (1982 through 2011), they had morning meetings (entire school); they still do. It always ended with Haggie giving an eclectic Maine ‘word of the day’. Now, he creates YouTube videos to share through FB. They used to pay a service to mine for alum (professional and athletically) in newspapers, journals, media across the world. Now, with social media it is shared with them and they pass it on – all with the click of a button.

Students travel the planet for training and competition, during the season formerly only bringing video equipment to analyze techniques to improve. Now, all trips post photo albums on FB. Teachers used to be left behind (and paid only 1/3 of a coach!). Now, they are spotlighted on Vimeo for both in the classroom and personal acclaim that reflects well on the school. They used to mail out newsletters (with donation envelopes) four times a year, then via email. Now, they use PayPal and FB to make financial support requests. They cross-connect with local, state and national media and push them out via FB links. The students upload to Flickr and share new albums of what is important to them: events, silly fun, prom, graduations, etc. 

Since CVA dove into FB in May 2012, they have gained 872 likes with 42 friends talking about them and another 38 were here. Between May and December 2012, they posted 101 status updates, earning 392 likes, 35 comments and 15 shares (mostly from family of students). All of this with one person coordinating for a school of 65 students and about 30 staff. Not too bad of an investment of time…the marketing/public relations is priceless.


Pinterest: had never used or even heard of this social media prior to our introduction session last week. Reviewing the State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012 (Nielsen, p. 9-10) and seeing how much growth it experienced in a relatively short period of time, I decided to check it out. According to the report, it appeals to mostly white women between the combined ages of 25 and 49 – for which I belong.

The concept initially almost seems appealing. Posting ‘pins’ to share, organizing photos into categories and then sharing them with others. Logical. But on closer look, many of these pins seem to be advertisements or marketing spins to appeal to a certain demographic. I love photography and travel, so I searched both extensively.

While the photography provided some cute ideas and a miniscule of quality learning opportunities to improve my skills, many were aimed at future moms and new moms with an overabundance of professional photographer images/ads. The travel provided an equal number of lovely images, but also included blatant fake locations, including a castle rock house in Dublin and artificially created trees lining a non-existent street in Madrid. I’ve been to both; these do NOT exist, yet are propagated out en masse implying they are legitimate. Not loving this!!!

I did review education, but it was mostly for teachers of younger children or home schooling educators. No library category, but I could clearly customize and create one of my own. However, with photography restrictions for over 70% of my high school students, it isn’t a viable option for our school library. Add to that, an overabundance of non-useful pins means that without direct link control – I quite possibly could be driving away library patrons.

Now for the fine print…you can only post/share images that are copyright protected by you, or you and not Pinterest could be held accountable and punished. But the idea is to push it out there, and share so — really?! At the same time, once you post anything, it becomes the property and belongs to the creators of Pinterest. Not a lawyer, but confused – they are not liable, but they’ll take your intellectual property as theirs. How does this work for a library that would need to post and share intellectual property (book covers) to inspire readership? Property they clearly do NOT have the copyright.

As a child, I was forced to shop with a mother who would spend on average between 3 and 5 hours at a time in one store. Valuable hours I could never get back…Pinterest feels like the adult version of what I was forced to live as a child. Has the largest increase of “time spent”, probably because many like me kept getting lost or overwhelmed (Nielsen, p. 9-10).

According to this same Nielsen Report (p. 9-10), Pinterest does seem to be losing its shine, with its “growth leveling out” so maybe the bandwagon is finally full.