Monday, June 20, 2011

In December, my job changed enough that I warned that I might not be able to post as much.  With budget cuts, our library has had to reorganize, ultra-organize, and organize again.  As part of that ongoing budget battle, my job has changed drastically and I won't have time to maintain this blog.

I will still be sharing items.  They are at the right-hand side of the blog.  You can easily subscribe to my shared items and receive them all in your own reader. 

Here's how:
My public feed URL is

Just cut and paste that puppy into your own google reader and you'll have access to the items I think are share-worthy. 
Thanks for reading and good luck in libraryland!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trend: Random Acts of Kindness


Not surprisingly, brands and organizations that are perceived as kind and downright human are going to thrive in the new social media world.  This ties in with the consumer trends to Generosity and Green.  But there's a lot more going on here!

"For consumers long used to (and annoyed by) distant, inflexible and self-serving corporations, any acts of kindness by brands will be gratefully received. For brands, increasingly open communications both with and between consumers (especially online), means that it's never been easier to surprise and delight audiences with R.A.K.: whether sending gifts, responding to publicly expressed moods or just showing that they care*.

*R.A.K=random acts of kindness
Consumers want a really human touch
Think about it, your customers complain about having to push too many buttons to reach a real human being.  You probably complain about it, too.  Check this out:
"71% of people “make it a point to buy brands from companies whose values are similar to my own.” (Source: Young & Rubicam, August 2010.) "
"In 2006, ‘strong financial performance’ was the third most important factor for US consumers in determining corporate reputation. By 2010, financial returns had fallen to the bottom of Edelman’s rankings, while ‘transparent and honest practices’ and ‘company I can trust’ were the two most important. (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2010.) "
Generation G is hitting the corporations in the pocketbook!  Right now, consumers are going with brands and organizations they can trust - rather than judging the organization by its financial bottom line.  Big change from the 90s and 00s!
Putting it out there
This can make a person nervous.  In an earlier post I talked about social network analysis (SNA).  The field is taking off like wildfire.
Right now, consumers are being very open about their opinions and other information online.  Sharing ideas and opinions is hot.  While SNA can be used to target likely consumers for a product, it is also gathering information about the opinions of others about the organization.
"In fact, it’s never been easier for brands to listen and react to potential customers’ needs or desires in innovative or even personalized ways. As much of this happens in real-time, brands can increasingly engage with consumers right at their moment of need, making R.A.K. more relevant, and therefore better received. "
This one really hit me:
Companies being expected to be more open with customers as those customers themselves are very open with everyone else, too. And those same companies being able to react to (or even preemptively defuse) complaints.
The rewards of RAK
"R.A.K. strategy can now be cost-efficiently applied by all brands, because the 'PUTTING IT OUT THERE' effect also guarantees that many R.A.K. recipients will share their experiences with an ever-wider audience."
Do your SNA and apply R.A.K. and word spreads.  People are out there on facebook and twitter and all manner of places sharing and sharing and sharing.  Hit the right group with R.A.K. and it's all over in no time.  Print and other advertising have their place, too.  The fact remains that using social media is now the fastest way to improve your reputation - using R.A.K.
The report continues with great tips about how to do R.A.K. right
1.  Be genuine - your audience is very saavy.  Don't come off fake or computer-generated
2.  Be personal, but not too personal.  Don't become a consumer stalker.  Seeing an ad on my facebook page for an item I viewed online 20 minutes before is unsettling.
3.  Be compassionate, not crass  Marketing stunts are so last millenium
4.  Make it shareable. At least have a "share" button.  If a person's friend can benefit from hearing about another's R.A.K., all the better.  My friend got a discount?  I got a discount!
5.  Be generous  Not just kind of nice to most of the people
6.  Have meaning and purpose. Encourage consumers to engage in their own R.A.K. And then (publicly) reward them for it – leaving them with a great STATUS STORY.
7.  Get real. R.A.K doesn't just have to be received online.  Real-life is way cool
8.  Don’t intrude, or be pushy, or sell. This isn’t about you or your brand, it’s about the recipient. It's all about the recipient.  All of it
9.  Don’t make R.A.K. too frequent.  Keep it really special.
Here's a great US example of how to use social media monitoring to give out a lot of R.A.K
"In June 2010, US cracker brand Wheat Thins (owned by Kraft Foods/Nabisco) launched their 'The Crunch is Calling" campaign, featuring a Wheat Thins van tracking down and surprising tweeters who had indicated their attachment to the crackers. Each selected tweeter was filmed being unwittingly greeted by a whole pallet of the product. The videos were a success, with the campaign’s YouTube channel receiving nearly 1,500,000 views."
As always, innovation is not always about technology. 
"And of course, there’s Oprah. As someone who pioneered R.A.K., Oprah understands better than most the power of this trend. Despite previously announcing the end of her Big Give show, in September 2010, on the first day of the final season of the Oprah Winfrey Show, the host announced that she would take the 300 members of her studio audience on a trip to Australia in December 2010. Then again, in November 2010, the show's audience was given keys to the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle."
So, how does an organization decide what their R.A.K will be?
It starts with a shift in attitude. 
"R.A.K. strategy may mean a brand is no longer being seen as inflexible and unwieldy, but as more compassionate and charismatic instead. Something which is, of course, priceless and actually enjoyable. For customers and employees. "
...hmmm...are libraries sometimes seen as inflexible and unwieldy?  There must be ways for libraries to bounce out of that once in a while.  Is fine forgiveness all we can do?  There's a real thinker
We know we are compassionate and charismatic...or do we?  How do we help front-line staff fight off burnout and stay compassionate?  What empowerments might be needed?
Is it time to make time and money so a staff member can be out there scanning media to see what's being said about the library?  Jumping in with an R.A.K - even just an answer to a reference query, even just a thanks for noticing the library - and doing it real-time can reap huge rewards.
On my own, I have come to the conclusion that I don't even need to know which library people within 10 miles of me are talking about.  What the heck?  Why not just respond to any library comment in a genuine, caring, non-stalking way?  Libraries are collaborative.  This is collaboration on a big scale!
Lots of challenges in this trend - let's get out there and dig the R.A.K!

Monday, March 7, 2011

26 Checkouts and Charlie Sheen

You can't swing a cat without hearing about what 'ol Charlie Sheen is up to for the past week or so.  Here's hoping appropriate help is found for him.

In libraryland, you can't swing a cat without running smack into HarperCollins limiting checkouts to 26 on their e-books.  Since everyone else in libraryland is writing about this, I will also.

HarperCollins?  Your idea is a huge FAIL.  

For more erudite discussion on the matter, see:
Update on the HarperCollins Issue

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Sources for this post are listed here

More than ever, 2011 will be all about location, location, location.  Geo-location and augmented reality are finally hitting the US.  Using your mobile to find out more about your location and to let your friends know where you are located has been popular in Japan and Europe for a couple of years now.  Geo-location has finally started to take hold in the US.

Products such as Foursquare and Gowalla let your friends know where you are.  Feeling the thrill of being the first to know always fills that basic human need for self-esteem.  You can share your review or opinion about a location and post it on those services to guide others.  The virtual rewards for number of check-ins at a certain place are fun.  Just yesterday a friend of mine ousted another person to gain the title of "Mayor" of our closest bus stop!

Quora, a place where questions and answers on any topic can be shared, is tied to your location when you sign on using your Facebook login.  Quora automatically has suggestions for question categories that might be of interest to you, based on your Facebook apps and location. 

QR codes have also hit the big-time here in the US.  QR codes are small squares that, when read with a mobile phone, tell you more about the location.  QR codes in stores may give you a coupon.  QR codes in libraries might link to the library's mobile site. 

There is a flip, but interesting, side to this.  Whether you are scanning a QR code, answering questions on Quora, logging in using a facebook login, or posting via Foursquare, your data is being gathered.  This year Social Networking Analysis (SNA) is going to make big leaps forward.  Organizations want to know who comes to a geographic area, where else they go and what their interests are.  This information is vital to any organization's marketing attempts.  SNA is going to make it easier than ever for organizations to give the right message to the right people at the right time.  SNA will allow us to find more information about the customers that come to our buildings and to the system as a whole. 

Expect to see a whole slew of SNA tools coming on the market.  Consider using them to analyze your customers' demographics.  You may find that a huge segment of your customers with mobile ride the bus, play Farmville, and spend a lot of time at the movie theater.  Or maybe they tend to go to the zoo, are members of a religious group, and spend a lot of time at a specific sports bar. 

Now imagine what you can do with this information.  Would you dare promote the library at that particular sports bar?  (I, personally, have always wanted to do a barfly booklist.)  Do you and the zoo cross-promote?  (Would it be possible to put a QR code on the lion's cage and have it lead to resources about lions in the library?)  Is there room in your library for a Farmville-fan meetup?  (Farmville collectibles not included)

Lots of opportunity for libraries.  Let's get out there and analyze!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What's Coming: Mobile

2009 was the year twitter took over the world
2010 was the year facebook took over the world
2011-2021 looks to be the decade of mobile.

While we may consider many things to be mobile computing, in this case we are mostly talking about 3G and 4G devices.  Laptops, netbooks, and most e-readers rely on wireless signals.  Mobility in the foreseeable future will mostly likely be defined as devices using 3G, 4G, and whatever comes next.

There are currently approximately 1.2 billion owners of mobile handsets world-wide.  These handsets are increasingly becoming computers in their own right.  Connectivity is of great importance to these handset owners.  And more owners are soon to come.   Remember:  By 2020, most access to the internet will be via mobile or whatever comes next.  Some predictions, including my own, see it coming much faster.

For mobile users, apps are the preferred way of interacting with organizations.  Mobile websites are simply less desireable than an app.  Customers want to get in and out of the interaction as quickly as possible.  Squinting at a mobile site or waiting for it to load just does not accomplish what the consumer wants.  Organizations with apps will have the upper-hand in the eyes of mobile customers.  And remember, the number of users is increasing by leaps and bounds.

Expect to see a convergence between mobile handsets and the capabilities of tablets.  While at this time we can not imagine making a call from a tablet, future innovation could make this feasible. 

We're heading for exciting times with mobile connectivity.  Be watchful and be ready to innovate.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blogography for upcoming posts!

It's all about predictions and trends this time of year!  With that in mind, I've combed my feeds to see what's going to be hot, hot, hot!

Just to be all official, and to allow you to probe further, here is the blogography for this round.  Anything new I come up with along the way will be thrust into the current post, with apologies

10 Biggest Trends in Web 2.0 in 2010 from iLibrarian

10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2011 from iLibrarian

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Social Media Trends for 2011, Part 1

Armano admits he is not always accurate.  Who could be when predicting the future?  Interesting ideas here. 

It's The Integration Economy, Stupid
Companies will go even farther in their use of social media to promote their brands.

Tablet & Mobile Wars Create Ubiquitous Social Computing
24/7, real-time
There could be a real fistfight out there as tablet computing and mobile innovations hit the market

Facebook Interrupts Location-Based Networking.
Facebook has the data, they have the consumers, they could force geolocation services like Foursquare into the background

Average Participants Experience Social Media Schizophrenia.
Keeping track of all of one's social media personas may drive average users to distraction.  Addiction may break out

Google Doesn't Beat Them, They Join Them
Google's attempts to become a social place haven't served them well.  What they do very well is indexing.  Apply that to social data and you've got real power for research

Social Functionality Makes Websites Fashionable Again
Existing websites add social capabilities to their sites

Six Social Media Trends for 2011 from Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog