Tag Archives: Blog

Farewell, Google Reader

Was anybody as disappointed as I was when I found out Google will be discontinuing their RSS feed aggregator, Google Reader? I use this tool to fuse together all of my blogger interests in one place: librarianship, fashion, social media and home design. All of these things, that have little to do with one another, can be found in my blogroll. We’re talking at least a hundred subscriptions (I might have problems). How in the world am I going to keep up with them now?

I wasn’t alone in my outrage. I read several articles that other bloggers wrote upset with the termination of a tool that some readers use religiously. However, once I started to delve into other articles, the termination of Google Reader didn’t seem so insane, just extremely premature. There are arguments that RSS feeds are becoming obsolete and no longer useful. I also read arguments saying that RSS feeds are esoteric, or not common to the average technology user. However, an even bigger percentage of tech writers argue that RSS is on the decline, true, but it’s nowhere near being dead. This debate reminded me a lot of our email discussion topic.

So what does this mean for libraries? Well, it’s one less RSS tool that a library can use if they wanted to have their patrons subscribe to their blog, or provide a public RSS feed for patrons to access multiple relevant blogs. It’s also one of the easiest to use (in my opinion), which is frustrating because users will face a learning curve transitioning to another reader. Libraries can also lose a lot of their readers in the shuffle from one reader to another. Some just won’t bother to do it. If libraries are utilizing blogs they should probably have a blog post alerting their readers of the change, and options on alternatives. This is a perfect example of why information professionals need to be up-to-date with changes in the information sphere. Without being alert to this change, they could wonder why their blog analytics have changed all of a sudden.

This also means that libraries may need to search for other digital means to direct traffic to their blog. Cross-publicizing their blog via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest would be extremely useful in retaining old readers and attracting new ones.

Between now and July 1, I’ll be searching for a suitable replacement for my beloved Google Reader. Suggestions are welcome! 🙂

Social Media in Elementary School Libraries?

I plan to be children’s librarian at a public library or private school.  I’ve interned at a public library and can clearly see the huge benefits of using social media in that setting.  In the fall, I’ll be doing an internship at a private K-8 school and it’s got me thinking about where (and if) social media fits into that puzzle.  Is there a place for it with the younger set?

The most obvious hurdle here is age.  Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, WordPress, Goodreads, and many others require a minimum age of 13 to open an account.  That’s good news for middle and high schoolers, where the possibilities are endless, but are elementary schoolers out of luck?

There’s also the issue of parents.  Some may not want their younger children on social sites, even ones geared toward younger kids like ScuttlePad and Togetherville.  According to “Kids Online,” a report issued by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, sites aimed at the under-13 set vary widely in quality: “evidence is growing that many of the virtual worlds for children that are currently available are impoverished compared to those for teens and adults…the comparable worlds designed for children often provide much more limited, homogenous texts, contain fewer affordances and action opportunities, and even promote bad grammar because of word filters.”

Obviously, librarians are free to use social media to network and cull ideas to enrich their student’s lives at any age level.  In fact, according to a recent report by MMS Education, librarians use social networking professionally more than teachers and principals–citing 82% usage in 2012.  But, what are some other options for connecting with younger students within the Web 2.0 realm?

The best idea I can come up with, given the limitations, is starting a book blog or wiki at a school.  Teachers, librarians and students could recommend books, write reviews, organize book clubs, have kids vote for favorites, etc.  Sort of a Goodreads for the youngins.

Do any of you have experience or ideas on this front?

References:

http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/12/k-12/librarians-use-social-networking-professionally-more-than-teachers-and-principals-according-to-report/

http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/11/social-media/kids-online-report-young-childrens-social-networking-habits-harder-to-track-than-teens/

http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2013/01/k-12/social-medias-best-kept-secret-goodreads-is-a-fabulous-site-to-revolutionize-your-literary-life/

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/11/137705552/ten-safe-social-networking-sites-for-kids

Nurturing Discussion via Social Media

One of the topics I considered examining in my previous blog post was why some blogs generate lots of comments and others don’t. Instead, I dwelt on the related topic of expanding your social network. I did, however, mention the issue of “how some blogs are much better at encouraging and facilitating discussion than others” and went on to contrast two different blogs. Now that I’ve had a bit more time to reflect, I’d like to propose a few reasons why some people (and libraries) generate far more discussion than others – on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc.

1. Personal connection – When people know you (or feel like they know you), they’re more likely to feel comfortable engaging with you and your thoughts. This applies not only to celebrities and those in the public eye, but to those who share their own opinions and ideas. Thus, people (and libraries) that are rather impersonal are going to find it difficult to make people care enough to respond.

2. Engagement – If you tweet a question to a library and it fails to respond, then you might give up and stop trying to engage with it. Responding to comments and questions that people pose to you is a good way of nurturing discussion and showing that you actually care; it’s part of the dialogue. Social media is not just a way for companies and libraries to advertise their products and services at lower cost than traditional advertising. It is also about listening. I’m always impressed when I hear that a company has reversed one of its decisions or policies because of social media feedback.

2. Quality content – It’s not enough to just blog, tweet, pin or post often. You have to disseminate words, photos and videos that engage people’s minds and/or hearts. The library that posts on Facebook that it will be closed on Presidents’ Day is making an important announcement, but not one that will generate discussion. Libraries that share photos of events and exhibitions or videos of speakers or poetry readings gain a lot more traction.

These three reasons why some people (and libraries) generate more discussion than others are really just the tip of the iceberg. What would you add?