Instantly into Instagram!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me start by saying that the past 72 hours have been very technology driven for me. I suppose it all started when T-Mobile finally put out the iPhone for its customers, making me ecstatic and quick to pick one up. Now originally I had a Blackberry (that was old and withered). This is probably why I never felt compelled to use a lot of social networking tools on my phone – because it was too slow and incapable. So here I am adding all of these new apps, and loving this phone! My friends kept telling me to add Instagram, and raving about all the cool photos you can take and share. And of course I just figured I would get around to it eventually…, which came sooner than I planned.

On Saturday, I met up with Megan Wong, Virtual Library Manager for the Santa Clara County Library (SCCL) system for lunch, and we discussed the current status of the social media technologies that she is using in her system. She is the big wig, who is responsible for all of the social media content for the entire library system. A large part of her job is managing the creative content, and ensuring that the sites are engaging and useful to users. During our meeting, I asked her if there were any social networking tools she wanted to add, and ironically what did she say?… Yep, Instagram. “I really want to add in Instagram, but I just don’t know yet how we could make it engaging and interesting for our users to want to follow us,” said Wong. I told her that I had some great ideas, that I would include in my media plan (which I plan to submit to her upon completion). To be honest, I hadn’t really thought of any, but I wanted to make a good impression. Plus, I believe myself to be pretty creative.

But oh yea, first I had to sign up for this Instagram thingie, and learn how to use it. 

So I made myself an account using my iPhone, and instead of starting to take pictures myself—I looked at what other people (my friends) had posted to get some ideas. Geez, there are pictures of everything from flowers to food. After doing a bit of research, this is what I thought would be the best way to approach the Instagram idea to make it marketable for the SCCL system.

*No staged shots: The majority of shots we see on Facebook and other technologies are staged, selfies, etc. Instagram focuses on a more organic type of photography of catching the coolness, beauty, or randomness of a person or item. Let’s focus on catching people, objects, and nature in its most sincere sense, as to project a true view of the neat things the library has to offer. Maybe something like the tattoo of the girl sitting on the pile of books, the old library cart just left in the hallway, or people reading in the grass in front of the library on a beautiful day.

*Bright is right: Instagram has the ability to allow you to manipulate the colors of a photograph to make it look more elaborate than it may realistically appear. If an image is neat but a bit ordinary—jazz it up with some color or cool visual effects.

*Quality not quantity: There are many technologies like Twitter, which really require you to be actively posting at least once a day to really stay relevant. However, a complication we have been having is finding time to post, post, post! So I say, lets use this to our advantage, and dedicate ourselves to posting initially twice a week, and only images that are worth it, and interesting. We can definitely do more if we have the time, but we need to focus on a strategy that gives more in terms of quality, not just a bunch of random pictures that will annoy the public.

Get a different perspective: The SCCL system has an overall Facebook page, and others for the individual branches. For our Instagram launch, why don’t we get images for our umbrella site from all the different libraries, and as we get the hang of it—set the individual areas up with their own accounts. This gives us a way to showcase what is going on in our whole system from the viewpoints of different locations. Plus it gives us many people posting, thus a surplus of pictures to choose from—as to which is best suited towards showcasing our mission.

So that it what I have decided initially from reviewing this technology. I can see how it can be a useful marketing tool, if understood how to utilize it correctly. I am still working to generate ideas, and if anyone who is a bit more seasoned with this technology has any advice—I would love any input!

Cheers,

Jaiden Williams

P.S. I am now taking pics of my own, and I LOVE this technology for personal use! Thank you iPhone5!! RIP Steve Jobs!

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Going Beyond Powerpoints with Prezi

I’ve been looking into some presentations options that go beyond the (sometimes bland) land of Powerpoints.  One that I really like the look and feel of is Prezi.  With zooming presentation software, it allows you to move seamlessly through your ideas and create a more cinematic and engaging experience.  With 3D capability, you can guide your audience through a spacial journey, zooming out for an overview and in on the details.

Here’s a 1 minute video that gives a nice overview:

And there’s this helpful tutorial page as well:
http://prezi.com/learn/

In addition, they also offer free live webinars to help you create and share your first prezi–so lots of support options to get started.

You can make your Prezi portable by downloading a version of it, which you can view offline or present in a setting where you don’t have internet.  When presenting your Prezi, you can control the speed by setting the time interval between path steps.  For those wedded to Powerpoint, you can import your slides into Prezi–one at a time or all at once, with just a few clicks.

You can sign up for free, or upgrade to paid options:

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 1.26.45 PM

And there are many attractive templates to choose from:

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 1.37.43 PM

I’m impressed with what I see and excited to put it to use!

Social Media for Education

I think that the best I can do is explain where a little Facebook and some word press took me.  I became fascinated with the idea of crowd funding and universities.  One of my fellow students posted some links that were related, but they still weren’t a cohesive university.  I couldn’t get it out of my mind that an international distance education program that was free to the students could just do so much good in the world.  There is an open university in England, but it is extremely expensive to international students.  I think that in the US we have enough people to support a crowd funded university that is free to everyone.  The reason this is important is because of representation.  When we create research we are missing the perspective of people that do not have enough money to attend our university.  It is a point of equal representation.  Coursera is not cohesive enough, but it does show that cooperation can levied for free education.  We need something that grants degrees.  I think it is possible to do this here and I am going to spend the summer putting together a strategic plan for this dream.

How is this related to information science and social media?  You ask.  Well I am going to put up a wordpress web page so that anyone in the world can see it and contribute.  It is socail media collaboration.  The address to the wordpress site is http://www.freeeducationforall.com.  Its explaining two things how to give education for free on a small scale using the example of teaching English to orphans in India remotely and planning how we can do the same on a big scale in a university.  Helping the kids remotely proves the point and they are thrilled.  I met them on Facebook, in trying to get a more international perspective.  I wanted only to teach one, but I agreed to teach 4-5.  Our solutions are to use wordpress, google hangout, youtube, skype and snail mail delivered materials I make myself.  This is a utilization of social media technologies and human experiment.  What will come of giving some education for free?  How effective can we be at teaching independently?  How can you harness the internet to change people’s lives?  How do we use information technology to unify people?

I have explored things, met people and talked about a dream.  I think this university would make a better world.  Please come and speak for yourself.

Tiki Toki Time

I attended the Society of California Archivists conference this past Saturday and discussed with my Preservation Management teacher, Vicky McCargar, part of a session on Thursday about social media and digital collections.  She shared with me the tools highlighted in the session that she had made note of.  I reviewed one that seemed like a neat tool called Tiki Toki through which you can make timelines.

http://www.tiki-toki.com/

Outside of the timelines shared on the homepage as examples of how to use the site, you cannot view or search for timelines there.  I resorted to conducting a Google search for “tiki toki library” and retrieved some examples of library related timelines.  Of the sites I looked at, my favorite timeline was developed by ALA for Banned Books Week.

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/51787/Banned-Books-Week-Celebrating-30-Years-of-Liberating-Literature/#vars!date=2010-06-24_23:14:11!

Other information organizations with timelines include the Metro Transportation Library and Archive, the Weinberg Memorial Library, and the Salinas Public Library.  Some of the examples link to their organizations’ websites through their timelines but I was unable to find any of the organizations link to the timelines through their websites.

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/49819/Metro-Transportation-Library-and-Archive-History-of-Transit-in-Los-Angeles/#vars!date=1873-07-03_00:00:00!

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/15233/Weinberg-Memorial-Library/#vars!date=1989-01-01_00:00:00!

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/106071/History-of-the-Salinas-Public-Library/#vars!date=1912-09-27_01:37:5

Not only can Tiki Toki be used to display the history of an organization, it can also be used to share and highlight an information organization’s collections.  Timelines can be made public or private.  The tool is integrated with YouTube and Vimeo allowing for the display of videos.  Categories of events can be color coded as was done with the Weinberg Memorial Library timeline.   They can be embedded onto a website as well as available for group contributions.  To allow for multiple people to work on a timeline, they have to be provided with a password.  Unfortunately, access to features is determined by the subscription level and the free service is limited.  The ability to embed the timeline onto a website as well as group editing requires at least a five dollar monthly fee.  In addition, the amount of embedded views per month and the number of timelines that can be created under one account is also limited and based on your subscription rate.  These associated costs may have something to do with why I could not find links to the timelines on the websites of the organizations in the examples.

Here is a short YouTube video about Tiki Toki.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdZUUVMSNJ8

A wiki site for Online Instruction

SchoolRack.com is a free site to create a classroom website for collaboration with student and parents. I located this tool on a website (http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/02/what-are-the-best-free-hosted-course-management-systems-on-the-internet/ ). The tool has the functions to create, collect, and grade assignments for students. A teacher can collaborate by sending private messages or hold online discussions. Students and parents are separate groups.There are three ways to create groups. They are Students, Students and Parents and Parents. The recommended way to create a group is to use the dashboard of your site and send the generated code to only those people who you want in the group. The other two methods require approval of members. Student or Parents can find my website by going to http://www.schoolrack.com and using the Search tab to look for my name.
It has options of pages and posts with text, images or videos that others can download. Similar to Pinterest or Flickr, this tool allows the creation of photo albums. The tool can also be used for a portfolio by using pages as competencies and adding groups for each criteria and then adding document to each folder. I created a website and created groups, pages and uploaded documents. It took me less than 20 minutes to begin working with SchoolRack.com. However, to add documents to the site will require a subscription of $5.95/month
A junior in High School created this tool as a class project. He maintained the website while attending Columbia University. Artia Moghbel founded the website as SchoolRack.com in 2003 (he was 16 or 17) and it has grown worldwide and no serves over 3 million student and parents every month. The tool began as a collaborative site for K-12 teachers.
The privacy policy is simply stated as “we will never share any of your information—with anyone—for any reason.” A teacher is only required to display a name and e-mail address. Even if more information is displayed on the website, SchoolRack.com will not sell it to anyone. Credit Cards are protected by using PayPal®
I was not certain of how a website had to comply with the ADA. Therefore, I researched on Google. I found (http://jimthatcher.com/webcourse1.htm) “Basically, technology is accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without.” He explained the original use of section 508 compliance applied only to the Federal Government. Today section 508 includes “technical standards” for websites. The standards are listed by the U.S Department of Health (see appendix-ADA compliance). I viewed the source HTML of the website so that I could check for compliance. I used http://www.validator.3WC.org to test the dashboard of my schoolRack.com wiki site. 3WC found six errors which were missing attributes from the dashboard. None of the errors had to do with privacy or ADA compliance. They were all formatting errors.

Getting to know Dropbox

Using the statement “Before this class I never knew” is how I seem to start many of my blog posts but it is true. This class has introduced me to many new social media tools I have never heard of. I swear to you I didn’t live under a rock. However, I was born in 1964 so that puts me at the very tail end of the Baby Boomers so that may explain my lack of knowledge of many of these tools. Unlike some Boomers though, I am eager to learn as much as I can about this technology as not only does my job as a librarian depend on it but it fascinates me. Following is the latest tool I just learned about and I wanted to share it with you in case you too begin a lot of your sentences with “Before this class I never knew . . .”

In 2007, Dropbox had its humble beginnings in a Boston train station when one of its founders, MIT student Drew Houston, forgot his USB stick at home. Now Dropbox serves users in 200 countries.

Their About Page describes Dropbox as a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. The Dropbox online tour describes it as follows “Dropbox works hard to make sure that all your files are the same no matter where you’re working from. This means that you can start working on a computer at school or the office and finish from your home computer. Never email yourself a file again!”

Dropbox also makes sharing very easy. You can invite your friends and family to any folder in your Dropbox. You can also send people links to specific files in your Dropbox. Dropbox keeps your files safe even if your computer crashes. You can also undo mistakes even undelete files.

I’m glad I was introduced to this tool as I will definitely be using it in the future. There’s been many times when I’ve had to stop work on a project because I was away from my PC and only had my laptop and didn’t have the files I needed. I just wish I had known about it sooner!

While trying to learn more about Dropbox I found an interesting article titled “10 Things You Didn’t Know Dropbox Could Do” by Matt Petronzio, which appeared on Mashable.com on October 26 2012. I hope these tips help you get more out of Dropbox. Following is the list:
1. “Favorite” Files for Offline Reading”
a. If you “favorite” images or text documents on your mobile device using the Dropbox app, you can access those files later, even if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular service.
2. Use Dropbox as Your Default Documents Folder
a. To conserve memory and time, you can save files directly to Dropbox from your computer programs. This requires simple commands in Terminal for Mac OS or a small settings change for Windows.
3. Email Files to Dropbox as Attachments
a. When you don’t have access to Dropbox, it comes in handy to have an alternate way to update files. If you create an account at SendToDropbox.com you can send files to a custom email address as attachments. The files will automatically appear in your Attachments folder in Dropbox.
4. Get More Storage – For Free
a. If you’re a free user of Dropbox, you can immediately access 2GB of space, but you can get more storage without having to pay for an upgrade. Dropbox offers 500MB for every friend that you refer to the service, 250MB for completing a “Getting Started” checklist, 125MB for connecting social media and several other options to earn more space.
5. Maintain Firefox Settings Across Multiple Computers
a. It’s difficult to maintain specific preferences or add-ons in Firefox when you use the browser on multiple computers. However, you can download Firefox Portable and store it in Dropbox. Since Firefox Portable can be used anywhere, your settings and add-ons will be synced.
6. Upload Files to Dropbox via URL
a. URL Droplet allows you to upload links straight to your Dropbox folders. All you need to do is take a link (this especially works well if the link leads to a PDF or similar document) and paste it into the URL Droplet form.
7. Download Torrents Remotely
a. Note: This Dropbox tip is intended for legal use only. If you’re away from your personal computer and you’d like to download bit torrent files, ready by the time you get home, Dropbox is a perfect tool. Just adjust the settings in your torrent program (uTorrent, BitTorrent, etc.) to automatically load your torrent in Dropbox.
8. Maintain Two Dropbox Accounts (Advanced)
a. This one can get tricky, so it’s intended for advanced users (using Mac OS). See article for directions.
9. Back up Your Website
a. You can easily back up your website and data on Dropbox which is useful if you’ve spent a lot of time and effort building your site or you’re concerned about your servers.
10. Host Web Pages
a. Want a website, but don’t want to pay for a domain? Want an online portfolio, but don’t know HTML? Dropbox can help. By using services like DropPages or Pancake.io, you can create a small and simple website with minimal effort.

Kathy

Winnipeg University Study Says Frequent Texters More Shallow

Just thought I’d share this article I came across. I think it falls in the “duh” category but it’s still interesting.  It appeared in The Canadian Press on April 12, 2013.

WINNIPEG — A study at the University of Winnipeg says young people who do a lot of texting tend to be more shallow.

The university says more than 2,300 first-year psychology students were surveyed online for three consecutive years.

The results indicate that students who text frequently place less importance on moral, esthetic and spiritual goals and greater importance on wealth and image.

The study says those who texted more than 100 times a day were 30 per cent less likely to feel strongly that leading an ethical, principled life was important, in comparison to those who texted 50 times or less a day.

The study says higher texting frequency was also consistently associated with higher levels of ethnic prejudice.

The university says researchers Dr. Paul Trapnell and Dr. Lisa Sinclair also took texting into the lab.

In the study, some students texted, some spoke on cell phones, and some did neither. Then, all students rated how they felt about different social groups.

Those who had been texting rated minority groups more negatively than the others did.

The university says the experiment was meant to test the so-called “shallowing hypothesis” described in “The Shallows,” a best-selling book by Nicholas Carr.

The theory suggests “ultra-brief social media like texting and Twitter encourages rapid, relatively shallow thought and consequently very frequent daily use of such media should be associated with cognitive and moral shallowness.”

Kathy