The New Advocacy, #CALCON11


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  • Hi. Aspen Walker. Going to talk about mobilizing communities & advocating for libraries using social media, especially FB, Twitter & free online tools. \n\nQuestions? Time at the end. Contact me on Twitter or by email.\n\nThis presentation and several resources will be available on my blog.\n\nWhen you advocate for libraries, you’ve got to play the long game.\n\nOur messages may sound familiar from year-to-year & we can lean on our experience as we learn & grow more confident over the years. But we also need to be ready to embrace new research, delivery methods & tools. \n\nWe live now in an age marked by both vast connection... & attention-grabbing chatter & diversion. \n\nWhile traditional advocacy tools like public speaking, face-to-face meetings & media coverage have their place, we must take a widespread approach & spread our messages of library support & success using every tool at our disposal. \n\nWe’ve got to go where the people are & snag their attention. We’ve got build our communities of library supporters both in-person and online. In 2011, the social web must be an essential part of our advocacy toolkit.\n\n\n
  • Over the years... worked on several advocacy movements library support campaigns. Much of this work has been through online communities and social media.\n\nBig Hairy Audacious Goal BHAG- teaches how to advocate for libraries in-person & online.\n\ & the SaveLibraries FB page share news & tips about library advocacy action from around the world.\n\nI’ve grown to love twitter for its rapid-fire reach, quick bites of information & responsive community. \n\nI’ve also used blogs, google docs, youtube and more to advocate for libraries online. One example is Bad3Bad4Libraries, a muti-media blog I created with other library lovers on our own time to help library advocates fight three anti-public service ballot initiatives in 2010. \n\nThrough experimentation and research, I’ve uncovered some ways to make the most of social media while advocating for libraries. Our time today is brief, so I am going to share my top tips for working with social media, based on my experience. \n\nBut social media is vast, and new technologies are always emerging. I encourage you to make social media your own through experimentation, and to also take the time to see what others have been up to. You can join & strengthen their movements, while forging your own trails through the online ecosystem. After all, sharing and community are what social media is all about. This presentation and my blog offer several examples of online advocacy you can connect with, take inspiration from, and act on.\n\n
  • Why go online?\nTake a look at some data from OCLC’s Perceptions of Libraries\nInfo about emerging trends, but also important information about how our constituents view libraries.\nLook for 2011 version soon\nSocial networking use has grown 78% in last 5 years, with 66% of all Americans participating in or more online social networks.\nAs of 2010, FaceBook had 152 unique monthly US visitors, and became the most-visited website in the United States.\nTwitter, has over 20 million U.S. unique monthly visitors and has seen 1,100% growth since 2007.\nThere are videos on YouTube that have been viewed over 300 million times. \nAs you can see, the social web has reach and clout, and is worth your time.\n\n\n
  • Top tips for working with these powerful resources. \n\nI’ll begin by sharing some lessons learned that apply to online library advocacy in general, and will then focus in on FB, twitter, blogs and a few more online tools and resources. \n\n
  • As with all advocacy action, no single super hero is going to save the day. To create a meaningful movement, you’ve got to recruit plenty of dedicated, enthusiastic and savvy friends who are willing to share the workload.\n\nFind people who are willing to share your messages online. To make it easy for them, designate one superhero to draw up a schedule with with a list of ideas and messages that people can sign up to share. \n\nLook for social media mavens, research hounds and library lovers who are willing to find cool things to share on the social web, including stories and stats about the life-changing impact of libraries. Recruit friends to take photos or videos that can be shared as well. Photos and video can attract attention in the sea of text on the social web.\n\nPull together a mailing list, so you can contact your league of super heros easily and regularly.\n\nOne of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about library advocacy is that reminding people is the essence of campaign organization. \n\nLack of communication kills momentum. We’re all busy and it’s easy to forget and defer advocacy action. If you want to keep your movement rolling along and gathering speed, make certain that your league of super heros includes at least one key player that fuels and inspire effort and action by sending sends out reminders and ideas.\n\nAfter all, social media is all about community. If you want to change perceptions about libraries and build library support, grow your advocacy community. Together, you can create a big splash, with a sane amount of effort on the part of many, rather than one or two exhausted library advocates.\n\n\n\n\n
  • So what kinds of things should you be looking to share on the social web.\n\nI recommend you start with story. Stories have a wonderful way of grabbing attention, even through the chatter of social media. \n\nBrain research shows our brains are hardwired to connect emotionally with stories, storytellers, and the people we share stories with. \n\nSo before you start rattling off statistics about booming circulation, or funding figures, start with a story that showcases how libraries change lives, build community, boost local business or are a smart investment. \n\nI am going to talk more about the BHAG blog later, but that’s a good place to find examples of library stories, including scripts and video. I guarantee your library community is brimming with transformative stories as well. Take the time to find, record and share these stories.\n\nSometimes it feels like the social web is brimming with a whole lot of people are trying to sell you on something. You are trying to change minds about libraries to be certain, but try and avoid hard sells that are likely to turn people off. You want to make certain your social media messages are authentic, not slick and shallow. \n\nAnother way you can alleviate the inauthentic hard sell, is to remember that social media is all about conversation. You’ll boost your authenticity if you aren’t only pushing messages. \n\nTake the time to respond to comments. Look for conversations you can contribute to. For example, if an online friend or follower has a question or problem, looks for ways to show how the library can be of service to them. \n\nYou can also generate conversation by asking questions on FaceBook or Twitter. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your online friends and followers to help you keep the conversation going. Ask them to share and retweet your stories, links, posts and tweets, or to speak up for libraries in their own words. \n\nAnother way to boost your authenticity is to have fun with this. Library support is a serious matter, but your advocacy messages don’t always have to somber and serious. Share library humor, fun videos, happy photos, and inspirational stories. Carry a camera, jot things done, poke around on google and swing into collection-mode- you’re going to find all sorts of fun things to share online and promote conversation. \n\nYou may also considering holding online contests to boost fun and message sharing. Ask your online buddies to submit their best library story, poem, song, photo, video, you name it... and offer a prize.\n\n\n\n
  • Stats have their place too. They can demonstrate impact quickly and concretely. Just remember that all facts and no fun or feeling can leave your social media presence looking pretty dry.\n\nYour library is collecting statistics, make the most of them. OCLC, the CO State Library and ALA also offer a host of impressiv facts and statistics. Seek them out, and use them creatively.\n
  • Fresh and local is good advice.\n\nPay attention to what’s happening on the social web, in the news and in popular culture. These trending topics can make a great segue for your library messages. \n\nTrending topics tend to grab attention, but so does the unique. Be on the lookout for fresh success stories about the many things happening right at your library that make life better. Don’t be shy about sharing the good news.\n\nOn the vast social web, local counts for a lot too. Chances are, your library advocacy intends to change perceptions about libraries and build library support locally. \n\nTo find locals on Twitter, try a free online service like Twellowhood. FaceBook will also let you search for local people to friend. Just type “Find Friends” in the search bar, and then choose “Other Tools.”\n\nIn the drive to get a bunch of new friends and followers, it can be tempting to friend and follow anyone, regardless of their physical location. There’s nothing wrong with being friendly, but make sure you take the time to find local friends online. These are the folks you really want your advocacy messages to reach, because they are the ones who can both benefit from your library’s service and ultimately assure your library has the local support it needs to survive and thrive. \n\nSimilarly, if you take the time to follow what your local friends are saying and sharing, you will learn a lot about your community. We often pay large sums of money for community research-- why not take advantage of the free community information and sentiment found on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, local blogs and geographically-focused websites like Yelp or Remember, social media is an opportunity to share, converse and listen.\n\n\n\n\n
  • Cost is a benefit when it comes to social media. All of the services and tools I am discussing today are free to use. Hardware is critical, but chances are you already have ready access to a computer, smart phone, tablet, and/or digital photo and video cameras. If you don’t, remember the public access computers at your local library. You, and anyone, can play on the social web. And if you send email, browse the web and use anything like Microsoft Word, you can participate easily.\n\nThat said, social media advocacy can take a good deal of time, especially if you’re keeping an eye on being responsive and consistent with regular communications. This is one way your league of social media super heros can come in handy- you can create a buzz, and be attentive to your community while sharing the workload. And you can do it in your pajamas in your basement if you’re so inclined.\n\n
  • FaceBook is a wide, wide world. If you haven’t, I encourage you to take a gander, poke around, and see what you can see. Experiment with the search bar, and discover the connections that crop up as you supply more information about yourself. Pay attention to what others are saying, and join in. If you lurk, no one will get to hear about the important things you have to share.\n\nIn addition to the previous tips, which will all serve you well on FaceBook, I’d like to share a few tricks I’ve found of use on FaceBook. \n\n-Take advantage of the ability to share images. Share words to be certain, but don’t forget the eye-catching power of photo or video embedded on a FaceBook wall.\n\n-If you want to create a page for your organization or advocacy movement, consider creating a fan page. This will allow people to “like” your page with the familiar FaceBook thumbs up, and then receive your updates on their wall.\n\n-Your avatar picture is important. It shows up everywhere. Consider something more heart-warming and personable than a standard logo, picture of a library building or a stack of books. How about a picture of smiling patrons, volunteers, or staff? \n\n-When it comes to using photos, remember to get photo releases for close-up portraits. For group shots taken in pubic places and at public events, announce or post that photos will be taken when possible. \n\n-FaceBook posts are limited to 420 characters. While this is an opportunity for you to perfect your ability to be succinct yet clear, it’s a broad canvas compared to Twitter’s 140 character limit. \n\nWhile your wall is ever-updating, FaceBook also allows from a more linear conversation based on posts, events, photo galleries and pages. \n\n\n
  • Conversely, Twitter creates a rapid-fire stream of information that you can dip into and enjoy in the moment, but never follow completely unless you do nothing else.\n\nFaceBook is the current king of social media -and the Internet in general- but Twitter has its role. Honestly, it took me a full six months to love twitter. You aren’t likely to find value in the site until you have found enough interesting people to follow, and have enticed others to follow you. \n\n-In order to boost your Twitter satisfaction, take advantage of the site’s “Who to Follow Feature,” and if you find someone interesting, check out who they follow for more ideas. \n\n-Unless you protect your tweets, which will essentially hide your library love messages, anyone can follow you on Twitter. Don’t want them to? Just block them.\n\n-Twitter is a great place to share a link to something much more robust than a little tweet. If you’re using links in your tweets, take advantage of url shorteners, like or google url shortener. This will give you more of those 140 characters to play with and find a message that attracts attention.\n\n-Hash tags are a great way participate in trending topics, or track a topic. You’ll recognize a hash tag by the pound sign. You can make up your own hashtags, or use others’ \n\n-Want to archive your tweets or a particular hashtag? Twitter isn’t going to to do it for you. The site has so much traffic, tweets disappear off the site within two weeks. To save tweets, check out a free service called Twapper Keeper, which allows you to build tweet archives based on your search terms.\n\n-The Twitter site is relatively clean and simple, unlike FaceBook. While simple can be good, many Twitter users like to use a secondary Twitter application, like TweetDeck, HootSuite or ITweet2 to track multiple columns of information including the twitter stream, saved searches, direct messages, and those satisfying times when someone retweets one of your messages, or mentions your twitter handle. These applications will also help you shorten urls, upload images, and quickly add your favorite hashtags.\n\n-One of my favorite things to do with Twitter is ask a question. It’s always fun to see who answers and what they have to say.\n\n
  • You’re far more likely to make connections and influence others in the traffic-heavy destinations of FaceBook and Twitter, but blogs can be a critical part of your social media efforts too. \n\nWith the character limits on FaceBook and Twitter, it can tough at times to share the whole story. A blog is a perfect place to offer more information, as well as aggregate your social media presence.\n\nYou can showcase your twitter stream on your blog using a widget available on Twitter, offer links to your social media profiles, share videos, and more.\n\nIf you are looking for a simple-to-use blog platform, I recommend Google’s Blogger or \n\ should not be confused with, which requires more experience with coding and web design. \n\nBoth Blogger and provide templates and page editors that make it easy to build a good-looking blog with no special skills. \n\nI’ve got another big tip: if you ever need to learn how to do anything online, google it. Chances are, you will find several YouTube videos and web pages that will teach what you seek. Don’t forget to lean on your crew of social media super heros for expertise either.\n\nDon’t consider your blog, facebook page or twitter feed a one-stop destination. Feed the posts from your blog to FaceBook and Twitter using a tool like twitterfeed, and make sure your social media profiles point back to your blog. \n\nJust as social media is one avenue of communication in this era of information overload and diverted attention, you should also make the most of cross-promotion on your social media sites to build reach and frequency.\n\nAt times, you may find you need to create online access to PDFs, text documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more. Google Docs is your friend. You can upload or create these document on google docs, and change their sharing settings to create public web pages you can link to on your blog, or on FaceBook or Twitter.\n\nFinally, I’d like to call your attention to the BHAG blog on this slide. We have launched a new sustained advocacy project called BHAG 3.0 that will help you get ideas and share library support messages onsite and online regularly throughout the year. I hope you’ll participate in BHAG 3.0, look for ways to advocate for libraries on the social web, and share your ideas and success stories with us and the library community on the BHAG blog. Similarly, I hope you’ll encourage others to join the movement as well.\n\nBHAG is based on the research found in OCLC’s from awareness to funding, a study of library support in america. The report shows ways to change perceptions and build support for libraries, based on voter research from around the country. I’ve got a link to the study up on my blog.\n\n\n\ntwitter widget- put your twitter feed on blog. \nwatch youtube, experiment with video. keep camera/video on you.\n\n\n
  • My final slide depicts a library rally with a zombie theme that drew crowds in New York City. The Save New York Cities Libraries movement took flight largely online, but it generated enough buzz to draw crowds to in-person events. I’ve included a link on my blog, if you want to take a lesson from their tools, experience and success.\n\nDon’t forget that your social media communications can include lots of chances for people to congregate and celebrate libraries face-to-face. Social media is a quick, free and effective way to invite people to events and meetings. \n\nYes, you may find the virtual and physical worlds colliding and combining, but I think you’ll also find that experience rich and rewarding. After all, this whole social media thing all about creating and sustaining connections. The future of libraries -the best invention ever in my book- depends on these community connections.\n\nI wish the best of luck with your social media advocacy efforts and experimentations. Please check out my blog a for these slides and more information, and please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions. Thank you.\n\n\n\n
  • The New Advocacy, #CALCON11

    1. 1. THE NEW ADVOCACY Mobilize your librarycommunity with social media. @AspenWalker
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