Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

I have been thinking about blogging and social media a lot recently. Currently I have been acting as a guide for the Learn@APNK program,  and I am heading to Gisborne next week to talk to the librarians there about Social Media. Thinking about how to explain Social Media, and how to “sell” it without sounding too evangelical has occupied my mind. What are the benefits? How do we do it? What’s best practice? Are questions I have been asking myself and looking to answer.

Another reason blogging in particular has been troubling me, is the fact that my library blog Tararua District Libraries has reached it’s two year birthday. That’s a lot of blogging. The readership of the blog has been trending down, and I am wondering if I am getting a bit stale in my posting. I have been frustrated in not being able to get my colleagues more involved, and since I am writing for four blogs at the moment one gets a little tired. 😦

I am feeling I need some sort of refresher to boost enthusiasm and inspiration, but I am unsure where to find it 😆

On a positive note, reaching the two year mark on the Tararua blog feels good 🙂 So happy birthday to me/it/us.


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Another year has been set on its path, and we have started the downhill slide to Christmas. I think it must be a function of age, and having children, but each year seems to go past really quickly, and the speed seems to be increasing.

New Years is a time for reflection, navel gazing, crystal ball gazing and resolutions. For myself, I do not have much in the way of resolutions this year on the library front. But then does anyone? Do you sit down at the start of the year and make a list of library things you want to achieve in the year? This year I am focusing on study and writing, and that seems enough to keep me going.

It should be an interesting year though. With the centenary of LIANZA to look forward to, there will be numerous events to be held throughout the land by the various committees. It will also be very interesting to see what shape conference takes in this special anniversary year.

One thing that I am excited about seeing is the redevelopment of the LIANZA website, due for launching in the next couple of months. I liked the look of the usability shots that came around, and I am keen to see what they do, especially on the Social Media front. I understand the team want to introduce a lot of Social Media functionality which is one of my passions. The aim is to help enable the regional councils, sigs, etc to put up blogs etc. If LIANZA is hosting blogs in that fashion, I will be curious to see which platform they adopt, and how much use it gets.

I am also wondering how easy it will be to transfer the current Ikaroa Committee blog over to them if they are hosting, or the East-In-Sig Blog if they wanted to go that path. Also merging all the conference blogs into one big one I think would be a good plan as I have said before.

 Indeed I was wondering to myself, that if LIANZA is hosting blogs, would they host The Room of Infinite Diligence, and whether it would be worth transferring over to them?  Would we want to remain separate in ourselves or would there be advantages in leveraging off the LIANZA site?

Talking about writing, we asked late last year if anybody else out there in library land wanted to join our little community of writers, and nobody has put there hand up. Come on people, there must be more opinionated folks out there in library land! Do we as Kiwi library writers have nothing to say? Or are we all to busy working to contribute to an informal collegial conversation?

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One of my favourite tasks in libraryland is that of deselection.

Imagine my delight when, a few months ago I discovered a blog called Awful Library Books – a wordpress sister blog no less, and one which more than a few of you may know as it has been featured both on nz-libs and Sideswipe in recent weeks.

What really tickles me about it is the posts not only feature  truly awful library books (warning: contains leeches), they also include discussion of the bloggers’ reactions to the books in a deselection context. I have a number of themed found image sites on my feeds – I recommend bighappyfunhouse if your taste runs to a quixotic mix of the poignant and the offbeat – but with ALB I get the added thrill of feeling like an insider. I laugh along because I’ve looked at similar titles and had the same reactions.

Recently the bloggers, Mary and Holly, were featured on US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. Watching the ladies joke with Jimmy and an ex-hobbit holding a snake I really enjoyed the feeling that the internet age has allowed us to show our unique selves and culture in a way that steps outside of the stereotyping whilst preserving our distinctiveness.

If you have time in your day, enjoy. The video is seven minutes in length, but the interview only runs for five of those minutes.

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See what happens when you take away the “must-post-on-this-day” regime? I found this cool site called iLibrarian It’s actually a blog as well, but it had a lot of cool posts on it about Web 2.0 technology. Apparently libraries aren’t Web 2.0 yet according to some Lianza conference feedback i heard last week – oh yeah, it was the presenter Tim Spalding saying that.

Anyway this blog  has some really cool posts like:

40 useful Firefox Add-ons for Librarians

20 Websites to make you a better blogger

18 Different kinds of blog posts

Guide to deal with Information overload

If found the list of 6 Free Web-conferencing tools useful because the tools might be simpler to use in connecting with extramural students.

The list goes on! Enjoy!

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Social networking

I’ve been reading a very interesting book entitled “Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom; how online social networking will transform your life, work and world” by Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta.

The book is divided into three parts – identity, status and power. With regard to identity the authors outline the tension between our personal and institutional selves. At work we tend to put on a façade, repressing our social selves. On online social networks we tend to let it all hang out.  There is a distinction between our real-world and virtual world identities. This tension can lead to dilemmas in social networking sites. Many bloggers have faced this dilemma in deciding how much of their personal selves and personal life is revealed. Too much can cause upset to others blogged about and yet the blogger wants to express personal thoughts and feelings. On social networking sites like Facebook, friends are made up of work colleagues and close friends. How much of the self do we want to reveal? Wanting privacy while at the same time putting information in the public sphere remains a tricky issue.Whatever you put online stays there, so when a prospective employer “googles” you they might find stuff you’d rather they didn’t see.

With regard to status, the authors talk about the virtual world as a level playing field where anyone can become famous (or infamous). Reputations can be made or broken as word spreads fast on online social networks. Customers have to be able to trust brands and companies, and will complain vociferously if that trust is broken through phoney-looking blogs, for example. There’s much more about status including closed versus open networks.

With regards to power – social media is disruptive to the power of institutions which is why those institutions, and especially corporations, are resistant to it. Amateurs can get more visibility and power than professionals. There is a powershift towards consumers who can, themselves, become producers. I particularly found the chapter on the toppling of the Big Four music cartel interesting and how they’ve had to adapt to survive the music industry.

Social networking sites are revitalising democracy. The horizontal networks of Web 2.0 e-ruptions (as the authors call them) present opportunities but also difficult challenges as they are at odds with powerful vertical hierarchies.

This book is difficult to summarise (and I haven’t done a good job of it) as so many aspects of social networking are covered. It’s a fascinating read which I highly recommend.

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One of the cool things I have discovered I love about blogging, apart from statistic watching, is looking at the incoming links.  So far we haven’t got too many that aren’t from one of our own blogs linking us back to here. These show that we are part of a much larger conversation about libraries.

With a view to sharing the link love, here are a couple of links that are coming into my posts.

The first link is from Historia I Media, which appears to be Checkoslovakian is a  Polish blog. I can’t read what they are saying, but it appears to be about Penny Carnaby’s talk about the Delete Generation mentioned in my blog posting Preserving Digital Heritage from June the 1st. As I don’t understand a word of what the author is discussing I can’t see if we are just linked too or if the post is mentioned, but it is way cool to think someone was reading us even if I can’t read them.  🙂

The second came from last weeks post There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch! I was quite exciting about this link as it comes from a library related podcast in the United States, LISNews Librarian And Information Science News. The mention comes in at about the three minute mark, and is only brief, but it gives you a glow to know that you are part of a global conversation. 🙂

There is something quite satisfying about being part of that conversation, and in the easy way that conversation can occur, despite disparate languages and locations. As you know I used to be rather sceptical about the Internet especially Social Media, but now I think you could say my conversion is complete.

Since, unlike Elvis I am interested in more conversation not less, here are a number of library related podcasts you may also be interested.

The Library 2.0 Gang

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast

Longshots: Library-Related Commentary and Interviews

Games in Libraries

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I have been thinking about blogs recently. I have been thinking about them rather a lot. In fact you could probably say I have been thinking about them too much. My editor in chief will probably be grateful when I’m not thinking so much about blogs!

Currently I write for two blogs, this one and the Tararua District blog, which will normally be enough, but also I’m thinking and writing and editing my Conference presentation which will be on, you guessed it, blogs. I also have a large number of blogs I like to read.

Part of my presentation will dwell on planning and objectives, which leads me to today’s post. Event blogs.  

Now to me one of the important parts of a blog is to build an online community, and event blogs tend to be one shot wonders. They build a community up until a point, then the event finishes and the blog shuts down. Either the blog stays up but isn’t updated and thus becomes a “cyber ghost town”, or worse still the organisers delete it and all that writing is lost.

Take for example the blogs for our LIANZA conferences.  For the last four years we have had four different blogs, with four different addresses and with two different blogging programmes. In 2006 and 2007 the conference blog was hosted on the LIANZA server using WordPress as their engine, which I think was in the right direction. Then last year the blog was set up as a Blogspot blog, and hosted there. This year we are back to using WordPress, but hosted on the WordPress servers.

What I would have liked to have seen, which I think would have made a wonderful resource and maintained the virtual conference community, would have been one blog with one address that was handed over each year to the next organising committee.  That would mean that instead of four blogs that build up to a point and end, we would have one continuing blog. After conference the blog would have responses to conference and start to post new items building to the next conference.

My suggestion for the current organisers and next years is that maybe we could import and merge all the previous blogs into one that could be then handed on to the next committee, and then we can have that continuous LIANZA conference blog and that continuing virtual community.

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