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Strong Words Softly Spoken: Engaging the Crowds in the Clouds


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Slides from the UKOLN workshop session delivered February 22nd 2011. Takes a look at some personal experiences with using social networking for personal and professional purposes.

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Strong Words Softly Spoken: Engaging the Crowds in the Clouds

  1. 1. Strong Words Softly SpokenEngaging the Crowds in the Clouds<br />Gareth J Johnson<br />Document Supply & Repository Manager<br />David Wilson Library<br />University of Leicester<br />22 February 2011<br />
  2. 2. Disclaimer<br />The following are all personal professional reflections and experiences.<br />There may be some mild bias!<br />
  3. 3. Social Presence<br />1995 BBSes (Arafel, PlanetSkaro)<br />2004 Live Journal, My Space<br />2005 Wikipedia contributor<br />2006 YouTube,<br />2007 Facebook, Delicious, Linked in<br />2008 Twitter, WordPress, SlideShare, Kongragate<br />2009 WetPaint Wiki,<br />2010 Qik video, FriendFeed, HootSuite, PodBean<br />Note: User & creator of content; not just end-user<br />
  4. 4. Overview<br />What I’ve used<br />Personal, corporate & team experiences<br />The lessons learned<br />The next (practical) steps<br />
  5. 5. DWL Facts<br /><ul><li>Multi-award winning
  6. 6. 1500 User spaces
  7. 7. 38km shelving
  8. 8. 1M+ volumes on shelves
  9. 9. 350 PCs + wireless network
  10. 10. 13 Group study rooms
  11. 11. Graduate Media Zoo
  12. 12. 2 IT training suites
  13. 13. Also houses Careers, Accessibility & Student Learning Depts</li></ul><br />
  14. 14. Responses to Social Networking<br />
  15. 15. What we’ve Learned<br />“I think we do reporting/reflecting on events quite well & sometimes provoke a response.” Selina Lock<br />“…one strength is the building of networks within the institutions, and how it can bring people to work together that may not have done otherwise - in particular when they find out they have common interests.” Sarah Whittaker<br />“I think our strength is definitely individuals promoting the library through social networking as 'personalities', rather than necessarily as one unified institutional identity…The major barrier is the way social networking is viewed by sceptics in the institution.” Katie Fraser<br />
  16. 16. UoL Library Blog<br />Initial efforts faltered some years previously<br />2008 complete restart<br />New team of enthusiasts<br />House rules for contributions<br />Style & purpose<br />Reflective, informal but professional tone<br />Target audience of library and institution<br />Started quietly to gain voice & proof of concept<br />Went “public” after a month<br />All staff invited to contribute<br />
  17. 17. UoL Library Blog<br />External cloud based platform (WordPress)<br />High customisability & low technical requirements<br />Avoids UoL branding issues by external hosting<br />Knowledge based information resource<br />Referenced in official memos<br />Included in staff induction pack references<br />Team keeps a watching brief on items of interest<br />Prompts each other for articles<br />Encourages involvement of new staff members<br />Project blogs<br />My Leicester DA, ScienceLeicester<br />
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Blogging Lessons<br />Start small and walk before you run<br />Keep some rainy day posts in your back pocket<br />Draft some mutually agreed house rules<br />Always reply to comments but purge spam<br />Reflect, share, celebrate and advocate your service<br />Share progress, success and failures equally<br />
  20. 20. Twittering<br />Joined e.2008 (just after start at UoL)<br />An alternative & effective communication channel<br />Links with local academics & students easier to forge<br />Engaging with a self-selected group of enthusiasts<br />Resultant involvement in projects, teaching and information sharing<br />Linking with the wider community<br />Enquiry resolution, crowdsourcing, feedback & cross-pollination<br />
  21. 21. Service Impressions<br />
  22. 22. Twitter in Practice<br /><ul><li>Following the daily zeitgeist</li></ul>Library twitter accounts<br />Library news & Repository content<br />Amplifying events<br />Multilayered conversations that can be harvested<br />Live session feedback<br />A voice for the voiceless<br />Virtual conference attendance<br />Monitoring the conversation<br />Alerts for common #tags<br />
  23. 23.
  24. 24. Twitter Lessons<br />The professional with or without the personal?<br />Think about locking your posts until you feel comfortable<br />Use a web based client (like HootSuite) to get around installation issues<br />Find the signal to noise level with followers you can cope with<br />Remember it’s a conversation, always engage with @Replies<br />
  25. 25. DWL Facebook<br />An attempt to reach into users’ social spaces <br />Comment engagement quite low<br />Library page to promote services<br />Maintained by Information Librarians<br />Over 1,600 fans currently<br />Rolls out and links to official news<br />Houses some HQ images of the library<br />Replies to the occasional comment<br />
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Graduate School Reading Room<br />Another promotional tool resource<br />Advertises courses and links of interest to graduates<br /><ul><li>Enthusiastically supported by Research Forum Facilitator</li></ul>Smaller fan base (>140)<br />Higher levels of bi-directional interaction<br />Has engendered RL engagement<br />Low commentary levels on both Facebook presences<br />Regularly policed for inappropriate comments<br />
  28. 28.
  29. 29. Facebook Lessons<br />Easier to be static and less engaged<br />Needs promotion and interaction to succeed<br />A bit old hat these days?<br />A qualified success or just Web 2.0 box ticking?<br />Do the users want us in “their” social space?<br />
  30. 30. Wikis<br />PM.Wiki<br />Enquiry team manual, locally installed<br />WetPaint<br />Cloud computing service with live linkage<br />Two team manuals on it now<br />Locked as private resource<br />Team empowerment & ownership<br />Allows easy editing by all, although in reality…<br />Allows rapid record of S.O.P.<br />Allows easy access globally 24/7<br />
  31. 31.
  32. 32. Lessons from Wikis<br />Easy to use and easy to learn<br />Some techno-terror is possible<br />Make sure you back up if using a hosted site<br />Needs top down support as well as peer buy in<br />
  33. 33. What’s in it for Our Service?<br />Justifying it to senior management can be tricky<br />“It isn’t suitable for US!”, “Isn’t email good enough?”<br />Concerns over loss of control, clarity of message<br />Helps break down corporate façade<br />Humanises and personifies the service<br />Recognition for awards and achievements<br />Celebrate and highlight best practice<br />Marketing and monitoring<br />
  34. 34. What’s been in it for Me?<br />Personal & professional recognition<br />Engagement with a broader community<br />Emotional and professional support<br />Crowdsourcing an answer rather than repeating errors<br />Although stalkers and hidden followers can be an issue…<br />
  35. 35. Final Thoughts<br />Social networking is about cultural change, and playing a proactive part<br />You have to experiment to find the perfect fit – one size does not fit all<br />It is a powerful community marketing, advocacy and engagement tool<br />Go where the community is - don’t expect them to come to where you are?<br />A lot depends on prevailing ethos and personalities<br />
  36. 36. Not all failure is FAILURE! (A.J.Cann)<br />Do or do not do. There is no try (Yoda)<br />Someone, somewhere, sometime’s going to shout at you for something. So you may as well do it anyway (Me)<br />
  37. 37. Gareth J Johnson, DS&R Manager<br />Email: <br />Tel: 0116-252-2039<br />Web 2: llordllama<br />Web 1:<br />Contact & Questions<br />
  38. 38. Further Reading<br />5 Excuses for using Twitter at Work,<br />Bleeting definition,<br />Boudreaux, C. (2010) Online Database of Social Media Policies,<br />Bradley, P. (2009) What is twitter? Twitter for librarians,<br />Briggs, D. (2010) Learning Pool’s Free Twitter Guide,<br />Contrasting Blogs, Twitter & Library News Pages (video)<br />Explaining twitter Simply (video)<br />Johnson, Gareth (2009) The unspoken rules of blogging, CILIP Gazette, 14th August<br />Kelly, B. (2011). Institutional Use of Twitter by Russell Group Universities,<br />Leicester UoL Web 2.0 Community,<br />Pettey & Tudor (2010) Gartner reveals five social software predictions for 2010 and beyond:<br />UoL Library Blog,<br />