Yesterday I sat in on a conference call about various technology things and MLA. One of the things we discussed was social media. We have to get involved, we have to create a social media strategy to effectively engage in that area of communication. Based on a survey, it is clear that the majority of those surveyed still prefer the listserve to communicate. But, it is also clear that other mediums are gaining in popularity and usage and they shouldn’t be ignored just because they are new. Talking on the phone was once the preferred method of communication among people, now cell phone companies are investigating data/text only plans (no voice minutes) because people just aren’t talking anymore, they are texting and emailing. As society adapts to new technology they change their behavior patterns.
I am not saying using the listserve to stay informed is exactly like the evolution of cell phone use, but we do evolve with technology and we would be seriously remiss if we don’t look at addressing it and coming up with a strategy.
So here is where I ask you, the reader…. “What would you like to see MLA do with social media?”
Keep in mind it has to be pretty self sustaining, easy, and require few man hours. Why? There are like 10 people who are employed as MLA staff who are all working on multiple projects to keep the organization going. Whatever plan, thoughts, ideas, that you have, they need to take into account that perhaps a volunteer(s) (similar to the Medlib-l moderator) might be the one doing the bulk of the day to day stuff. It also should be something that is cohesive and not disjointed. A LinkedIn account, Facebook account, and YouTube account all sitting out there separately not referencing to each other or interconnected in either way and duplicating work without a cohesive voice or style, does us no good.
Obviously we need to come up with a strategy, but I would like to see what you think we should be doing with these resources in a way to help structure the strategy so that we are serving the members in the most effective and efficient manner.
So use this blog post as a brain storming area or a sounding board about your vision, thoughts, concerns, etc. on social medial and MLA.Share on Facebook
There was a bit of confusion when I last posted about the MLA Twitter Tutorial, people were all excited and started trying to do the tutorial right away even though it wasn’t live yet. The wait is over, the tutorial is now open. Go to http://mlatwitter2012.tumblr.com/ and watch the videos, complete the tutorial, tweet, and learn something new while getting a free drink ticket to the MLA Tweet Up.
(One thing to note, most of the videos are on YouTube, so if it is blocked you will have to watch them at home.)
Each year the discussion on Twitter has grown considerably. A lot of the pre-conference chatter is about events people would like to attend or questions about the meeting. During the meeting people tweet interesting points during a presentation, pose questions back and forth among the tweeters, or just tweet in general to communicate. This kind of discussion is often called the “back channel.” The tutorial has some great articles for people to learn about things like the back channel, live tweeting best practices, and a guidebook on Twitter.
A few years ago when Twitter came out, I remember I mentioned I couldn’t think of how Twitter would be used professionally in medical librarianship. Now I use it daily. I have a program that is running in the background (just like my email program) that pops a message box up when I get a tweet (again just like my email). I have used it to answer reference questions, follow speakers/conferences, answer tech questions, and just share information.
It might take a bit of time to figure out your “voice” and know your work flow to see how it naturally fits into the way you communicate. Take a look at this image of “The Four Stages of ‘Getting’ Twitter” and you can see how it is an evolution as to how it can fit into your life.Share on Facebook
Want a free drink ticket to the MLA’12 Tweet up? Well all you have to do is be a MLA member and complete this Twitter tutorial. If you aren’t going to MLA’12 you still can take the tutorial (just no drink ticket) so you can interact and exchange ideas with people at the meeting through Twitter.
(From MLA Focus)
“MLA members can hit a home run with Twitter by taking part in an online tutorial about the microblogging service Twitter. Join the Twitter tutorial April 13–22 to learn more about Twitter, get tips from experts, and be ready to tweet about MLA ’12. Members who successfully complete the tutorial will receive a free drink ticket for the annual tweet-up, 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m., Monday, May 21. Members who will not attend the annual meeting can share ideas and exchange information through Twitter.”Share on Facebook
I think by now everyone has heard of the term phishing as the gathering information online on an individual or group of people. But today I read of a new type of phishing, spear phishing. Spear phishing is using information for pinpoint attacks.
It is apparently pretty successful because recent spear phishing attacks have ”ensnared” several top U.S. government officials and RSA (you know the company that makes those SecurID tokens) and defense contractor Lockheed Martin (using information from hacked from RSA). According to a CNNMoney article, the attackers were able to trick people into opening email attachments that appeared to come from trusted sources or colleagues.
While we don’t know exactly how hackers were able to hack the government officials and RSA, we do know that many believe that social media sites, especially LinkedIn, serve as a hacker’s gold mine. According to the article, at a DefCon security conference where they staged a hacker game, Google and LinkedIn were the most widely used resources.
All it takes is getting the name of one of your coworkers and a well created email to get you to click on a link.
Everything is on the Internet, while I don’t want to discourage people from connecting to family, friends, colleagues and coworkers, but you may want to use some discretion when connecting. Obviously on Facebook you want to lock down your site. On LinkedIn, maybe you might not want to put down everything about your current job.Share on Facebook
First let me just say I am not a copyright librarian, law librarian, or anybody who specializes in fair use, perpetual use, distribution, etc. I am a plain ol’ medical librarian who pretty much knows you can’t use other people’s copyrighted stuff without paying for it or asking permission. Regarding my own content, that I post out there I am kind of naive.
I am not naive in thinking that whatever I post can be seen by anyone. Oh I am well aware of that. What I am naive about are the various policies regarding user generated content on multiple social media sites. We all click through their license and usage agreements and few people sit down a read through the legal jargon to figure out the details. There is the problem, the devil is in the details.
This issue has come up in the past. I remember an article about about Stefanie Gordon’s famous Space Shuttle picture and Janis Krum’s famous Hudson River plane photo. Both posted their photos on Twitter using Twitpic, and both photos were used and copied commerically without compensation. Part of the problem could be how they posted their photo. By using Twitpic both Gordon and Krum lost all exclusive rights to their own photo. Twitpic has the rights to resell any images loaded by original rights holders (people who post their own photos to share on Twitpic). Just by loading their picture on Twitpic they gave Twitpic the right to resell the image or distribute it.
Kind of frustrating. I am by no means a professional photographer and I am never in the right place at the right time to share a picture like the space shuttle bursting through the clouds, but it still kind of irks me that by using Twitpic I lose my excluse rights to the photo.
This is not unique to Twitpic. Earlier this week Heather Holmes tweeted about Pinterest’s policy about things you would “pin.” According to PRNewswire article, Unpinned, Pinterest requires people to pin only things they own and Pinterest is granted rights to that material that was pinned.
Pinterest users can only pin content that they are the sole and exclusive owner of all or that they have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms.
Those terms would be… grant Pinterest operator Cold Brew Labs a “worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.”
As the article states, most of the people on Pinterest are out of compliance with Pinterest’s policy terms. Not only do people pin things they don’t own but I am pretty sure that they also don’t have the rights to grant Pinterest that content. Judging from what some people are pinning, they don’t seem to realize they no longer retain exclusive rights to the stuff they do own and pin.
This got me thinking about my photos and all the stuff I have online and the stuff I would like to retain excluse rights to. So I did a little digging around within various social media platforms and discovered that Pinterest is not alone. Pretty much if you are involved in social media, there is at least one platform you belong to that by just posting on it you grant the company rights to your content.
Companies that if you use, you grant them rights to your content:
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
Google+: (Scroll down to number 11)
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
LinkedIn: (Section 2B)
You own the information you provide LinkedIn under this Agreement, and may request its deletion at any time, unless you have shared information or content with others and they have not deleted it, or it was copied or stored by other users. Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties. Any information you submit to us is at your own risk of loss as noted in Sections 2 and 3 of this Agreement.
By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.
Subscriber shall own all Subscriber Content that Subscriber contributes to the Site, but hereby grants and agrees to grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable right and license (with the right to sublicense), to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services.
You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.
You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service.
WordPress.com: Different from WordPress.org
By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog. If you delete Content, Automattic will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Website, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable.
Companies that I am confused about:
Twitter: (Anything public you put out they will distribute to market your persona.)
Our Services are primarily designed to help you share information with the world. Most of the information you provide to us is information you are asking us to make public. This includes not only the messages you Tweet and the metadata provided with Tweets, such as when you Tweeted, but also the lists you create, the people you follow, the Tweets you mark as favorites or Retweet and many other bits of information. Our default is almost always to make the information you provide public but we generally give you settings (http://twitter.com/account/settings) to make the information more private if you want. Your public information is broadly and instantly disseminated. For example, your public Tweets are searchable by many search engines and are immediately delivered via SMS and our APIs (http://dev.twitter.com/pages/api_faq) to a wide range of users and services. You should be careful about all information that will be made public by Twitter, not just your Tweets.
Kind of confused by their terms of service policy about what I post. In one sentence they say I retain my rights but in the other they say by using their service I am granting them the non-exclusive rights to distribute, copy, etc.
You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
Companies that do not get non-exclusive rights to your content simply by using their product:
Flickr’s policy appears to preserve your rights to your content. It all depends on how you license your content on their site. Also interesting, Flickr recently went after Pinterest blocking users from pinning copyrighted material on Flickr. Based on their policy and the recent blocking of Pinterest, it appears that Flickr does not get non-exclusive, irrevocable, yada yada use and distribution of your content.
WordPress.org: Different from WordPress.com
With WordPress.org you are using their software to publish your material on your own domain. They have no wording in their policies stating that the use of their software grants them rights to your content. They do however have your information and they collect non-identifying information for statistics and software development. Personal data they have will only be released under specific circumstances.
However, you might want to check with your domain host to see if by using them they get non-exclusive rights to your content.
*Note* If you use WordPress.org or another blog and you post it through Facebook then you are granting Facebook permission to have non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use your blog content. Perhaps if you want your blog content featured on Facebook but you want to retain your rights you might just give the link and brief 2 sentence description on your Facebook post.
MySpace: Not many people use it any more but those who do don’t have to worry about MySpace using their content
Myspace does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you transmit, submit, display or publish (“post”) on, through or in connection with the Myspace Services. After posting your Content on, through or in connection with the Myspace Services, you continue to retain any such rights that you may have in your Content, subject to the limited license herein. By posting any Content on, through or in connection with the Myspace Services, you hereby grant to Myspace a limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on, through or in connection with the Myspace Services, including, without limitation, through the Myspace Services to applications, widgets, websites or mobile, desktop or other services which are linked with your Myspace account (collectively, “Linked Services”), including, without limitation, distributing part or all of the Myspace Services and any Content included therein, in any media formats and through any media channels, except that Content marked “private” will not be distributed by Myspace outside the Myspace Services and Linked Services.
yfrog: (Service for tweeting out pictures)
The content that you distribute through the ImageShack Network is owned by you, and you give ImageShack permission to display and distribute said content exclusively on the ImageShack Network.
You may revoke this permission at any time by requesting your content to be removed. Such requests will be processed within a maximum period of 24 hours (but usually as short as one hour). You may request deletion and/or mark your content private through our sites’ user interfaces, or by contacting ImageShack directly. After your request is processed, ImageShack will cease distribution of your content within a maximum period of 24 hours (but usually as short as one hour) and will absolve itself of any ownership of said content, implied or otherwise.
ImageShack will not sell or distribute your content to third parties or affiliates without your permission. Third parties may exercise the following options regarding your content:
- Third parties may hyperlink to the page that displays your content on the ImageShack Network without modification and with proper attribution to you.
- Third parties may request permission to use your content by contacting you directly.
All requests for permission regarding your content usage directed at ImageShack will be forwarded to you. All uploaded content is copyrighted to its respective owners. ImageShack directs full legal responsibility of said content to their respective owners. All content generated by ImageShack is copyrighted by ImageShack. ImageShack is not responsible for any uploaded content, nor is it in affiliation with any entities that may be represented in the uploaded content.
This list isn’t comprehensive, isn’t intended to be legal advice and if I have something wrong please let me know. If you use another social medial site and want to feature it in the list, please leave a comment and I will integrate it into the list.
I didn’t list every single social media company out there so if you use one and are concerned take a look at their policies. As I said in the beginning. the devil is in the details. It is almost impossible to participate in social media without some exposure and granting some companies rights non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use your content. The key is knowing what you can live with. As I mentioned, I don’t post my entire blog on Facebook. I do have a few pictures (family, renovations, vacations, etc.) on Facebook, but that isn’t my entire photobook. My entire photo collection lives on Flickr and I upload specific pictures from Flickr to Facebook. Additionally, I am trying to get in the practice of using yfrog for tweeting out pictures.
The idea with social media (and everything else) is read the instruction manual (policies) and use with caution and thought.Share on Facebook
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We need you on the team for 2012! The Official MLA blog has become a relied upon resource for both meeting attendees and non-attendees to stay current about the meeting. So apply to be a blogger! Applications will be accepted today through February 10th via SurveyMonkey.
True to the baseball theme, we have roster spots for various utility bloggers. Wireless cards are available to 12 people in select categories. Blog posts typically are 250 – 500 words in length and correspondents post 1-2 times each day (unless otherwise noted) depending on their category requirements. For complete Guidelines for Bloggers go to the blogger page. All correspondents will receive 3 AHIP points for their participation.
Blog Correspondent Categories
1 post/day about what you’re learning, 1 post must be a description of a CE course you took while at the conference
Hall of Fame Player (10+ years)
2 posts/day from perspective of a long time MLA member. Suggested topics: What has changed? What has stayed the same? What are you excited/disappointed/curious about?
1 post/day, posts about things that happen early in the game, er, day; should include the Major’s walk & a Sunrise Seminar review.
1 post/day on things of interest in the exhibit hall
2 posts/day offering the conference perspective of a library science student. Suggested topics: What events did you attend? What questions arose about medical librarianship? What are you excited/disappointed/curious about?
2 posts/day offering the conference perspective of a new member or first time conference attendee. Suggested topics: What are you looking forward to? What events did you attend? If you are presenting a poster or paper, what reflections do you have on the process?
1 post/day on NLM related events and news (NLM update, Friends of NLM reception, related poster or paper sessions.)
6 posts total on plenary sessions
MLA Business Meeting
Presidential Inaugural & MLA ’12 Invitation
6 posts total on poster sessions. Suggested topics: What were the most interesting posters from each session? What emerging trends did you observe?
Designated Hitter (3 positions available)
2 posts/day on section activities
Posts on section sponsored programs, papers/projects by section members, business meetings, incoming/outgoing officers, etc.
Membership in Section is preferred.
List of MLA Sections
Pinch Hitter (3 positions available)
2 posts/day on special interest group activities
Posts on SIG sponsored events, papers/projects related to SIG interests, informal meetings, incoming/outgoing officers, etc.
SIGs are ad hoc groups open to all members of MLA. Active SIG members are preferred, but anyone with an interest in blogging a specific SIG’s activities are invited to apply.
List of MLA Special Interest Groups
1 post/day on social events, include Bearded Pigs, receptions and other events. Photography encouraged.
Your idea here
1 post/day from a perspective of your own design.
Please consider contributing to MLA’12 by being a blogger. Providing great information and coverage of the meeting is a team effort and we need you on the team.
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Last week I wrote a post about iMedicalApps launching a forum to foster the discussion of medical apps. Well I am announcing the launch of the Medical Librarian’s Corner, an area within iMedicalApps Forum dedicated to librarians discussing the use of apps, mobile devices, licensing, support, teaching, etc.
The people at iMedicalApps noticed that a medical librarians help play an important part in the “distribution of knoweledge and useful resources” and can provide help to medical professionals dealing with information overload. So they created a specific corner of the forum (of which I am the moderator) for medical librarians to discuss everything and anything related to apps and mobile devices.
New to smartphones and apps, or are you an old pro? The forum will provide a great place for newbies and veterans to discuss and post questions. So if you are interested, create an account, login and start discussing. It is my hope that this can be a robust and helpful area for medical librarians.
Since a blank forum is a little bit like the blank page in the typewriter staring back at you, I have already started a discussion thread. What libraries have the best list of apps and mobile friendly websites? However, if you have something else that is on your mind, please feel free to post it. The only way this forum can be of help is if people participate.
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As 2011 comes to a close, it makes sense to start highlighting 2012 events. One major event in 2012 is the Annual Meeting in Seattle. The NPC has been hard at work trying to make it a great meeting. In the upcomming months there will be more and more updates about the meeting and you if you want to be in loop of what is going on then you will want to check out the Official MLA ’12 Blog and use #mlanet12 as the meeting’s hashtag on Twitter.
So go to http://npc.mlanet.org/mla12/ and bookmark it or add it to your RSS feed reader because there will be some posts in the near future on our speakers, the Opening Reception (aka Opening Day), and the call for bloggers and much more. Once we have selected our bloggers, things will really take off with posts about the meeting.
Do you have a question about logistics, programming, or anything else about the meeting? Want to pick some of the NPC people’s brains? Or do you just want to chat in general about the meeting? Try posting on Twitter. Use the hashtag #mlanet12 and type away, we will see it an respond. Not only are the two NPC co-chairs on Twitter but so are many other NPC and LAC members. Are you new to Twitter? That is ok. We plan on having another online MLA Twitter tutorial available for people. It is still a little early and it isn’t quite ready to go live, but if you want to join in on the #mlanet12 discussion and just want a little refresher check out A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.
Keep in touch!
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Multiple friends posted this article, “Studay Raises Doubts About Effectiveness of Facebook as Outreach Tool for Academic Libraries” ironically on their Facebook accounts.
The study, in the current issue of D-Lib Magazine, by Michalis Gerolimos, examined 3,513 posts on the Facebook pages of 20 U.S. academic libraries. He found that the vast majority of the Facebook posts (91%) did not generate any comments from fans and those posts that did, the comments were primarily from library personnel not faculty or students.
If you look at the Facebook page fan information outside of libraries you will see that the numbers might not be what librarians hope for. According to Sysomos only 23% of Facebook pages has more than 1,000 fans and the average page has 9.5 pieces of fan generated content (photos and video). These numbers are regular Facebook pages which include celebrities, companies, public figures, and (yes) libraries and educational sites. So the vast majority of Facebook pages out there have less than 1,000 fans. That figure seems to fall in line with Gerolimos’ findings. Only two of the twenty libraries he looked at had more than 1,000 fans.
Yet most library Facebook pages have very few fan generate content. Surprisingly most of the content on the walls (including “likes” and comments) were from library staff. It appears that most libraries are well off the mark for user fan generated content and the content library staff post is either not engaging or irrelevant, such as Fondren Library’s page that posted a close up of a librarian walking to work.
This illustrates my point that I made on my friend’s Facebook page on this article, “ Too many librarians believe just slapping a FB page up will automatically lead to engagement. Successful businesses have entire marketing departments who are trained from birth to engage the customer. We have no such departments.” Obviously, if we think a picture of a librarian walking is engaging the fans. Even if we are good at engaging people, or we all of a sudden find some social media marketing wunderkind willing to work on engagement, there is a good chance that people still might not be interested.
While people may chat with each other at the library, its Facebook page is not an online water cooler where users trade ideas, discussions, or simply ask questions. “Gerolimos found that users were not interested in sharing personal data via the library Facebook pages.”
In his article Gerolimos cites two papers stating users are more interested in personal communication and interaction rather than educational endeavors.
“Pempek et al. (2009) identified the same mentality regarding its use in academia. They found that communicating with friends was the most popular reason to use Facebook and finding help with schoolwork was among the least. In addition, a survey conducted by Valenzuela et al. (2009) recorded that 51.5% of its users do not read or post on groups as part of their daily activities, and 64.3% rarely visit the profiles of groups they have joined. Selwyn (2009) found that only 4% of a total of 68,169 students’ personal wall postings he analyzed were related to education.”
Only 4% of students wrote posts related to education. Well that doesn’t bode well for the library Facebook pages. What is even more distressing for all who have Facebook pages is ”78% of people who “like” brands on Facebook like fewer than 10 brands.” (SEO Inc.) So, competition is a bit rough to be among the 10 liked pages, but it is even more difficult when you learn that some social media pundits believe that more than 80% of fans do NOT return to the fan pages once they have clicked “like.” YIKES! Most people are getting their news and interacting from their own newsfeeds.
This brings up a whole other can of worms. Facebook does interesting things with their news feeds. With news feeds, timing is everything. People in general don’t like to scroll, so you need to know when your users are most likely to login to their Facebook accounts to see your news feed. Additionally, Facebook treats scheduled posts differently than ones that are unscheduled. Facebook wants things to be timely, it considers scheduled posts from sites like HootSuite to be less timely therefore less relevant and your post then gets squooshed together with other items in the news feed.
The good news is that you don’t have post something every freaking day on Facebook to get good engagement. According to Sysmos, the average wall post (by administrators) is every 15.7 days, and for pages with more than a million fans one wall post is created every 16.1 days.
”Unlike on Twitter, where popularity is correlated with how many times you Tweet, Facebook fan pages tend to be updated only once every 16 days. And that’s really the big difference between Facebook fans and Twitter followers. On Twitter, you follow someone because you want to hear what they have to say. On Facebook, you fan them just to show your support of affinity.” (TechCrunch)
Librarians have been traditionally talking about the fact they have a Facebook page and how many fans they have, as if by mere fact that somebody slapped up a page they are automatically engaging their users. But really is Facebook really where we should be if we are looking to engage our users? Given the small number of fans, the poor response rate, and our inability to post something interesting or relevant to our users, perhaps there other things we need to consider focusing on. We need to be in the business of engaging our users, not building a site where people just fan us to show their support.Share on Facebook
Daniel Hooker posted some nice slides on Using Social Media to Advance Your Research that he presented to a group of PhDs and post-docs at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. I gave a similar presentation to World Health Interest Group at Case Western Reserve University. I spoke about using blogs, Twitter, wikis, etc. in scientific research.
During my presentation some of the attendees got hung up on the tools and technologies as toys and the idea of communicating was lost. Social media is just one method people can use to communicate, share ideas, protocols, methods, lab notes, etc. In the very broadest of terms, email is sort of social media. You can email many people who can then pass that discussion along to others. Listservs are a perfect example of this. But email has been around with us for such a long time that there is no real discussion about its communication potential. Yet, email was once a new fangled communication toy.
Read this abstract from Science 1982. 12;215(4534):843-52.
Computer networks are an integral part of the rapid expansion of computing. Their emergence depends both on evolving communication technologies, such as packet-switching and satellites, and on diverse experiments and innovations in the software tools that exploit communications. The tools provide computer users with facilities such as electronic mail, access to remote computers, and electronic bulletin boards. Scientists can both adapt and extend tools to meet the communication needs of their work, and several networks are developing to serve particular scientific communities.
Funny how with very minor editing that same paragraph could be used to describe blogs, wikis, Twitter, or other social media programs. I am also fairly certain back in 1982 there were a few people out there who thought email was more a toy than a tool and more of a time waster than a time saver.
As I mentioned so many people get hung up on the technology, they have a hard time seeing how it can help them advance their research as Daniel would say or enhance their research as I would say. Tomato…tomahto.
The big thing to impress upon people is that they don’t have to try all of these things all at once. That would be a little like jumping in the pool and trying to swim a 400 IM all at once with no experience and no warm up. If you do that, the experience is gonna suck…trust me. You can’t jump into the pool of social media and swim all of the strokes at once, nor do you have to. Take some lessons, try it out, figure out what works for you and your schedule. Daniel mentioned Social Media University, Global (SMUG) by produced by Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic director of social media, as a good place to learn.
Social media applications are meant to save you time in the long run, not take more time out of your day/week/month. You don’t have to be the Michael Phelps of social media, using it every day, several times a day. Recreational social media swimming is totally fine too, logging into your feeds once or twice a week for 30 minutes. If you think you don’t have the time to devote 30 minutes twice a week to using social media to advance your research you’re lying to yourself. Considering the average American watched more than 154 hours of TV per month (State of the Media. Nielsen 2010), four hours a month looking through your RSS feeds to stay up to date on research in your area isn’t a lot.
I think the biggest challenge isn’t necessarily finding the time it is understanding how it can be useful to you. Unfortunately that is somewhat up to you. I can suggest some blogs, wikis, and Twitter feeds to follow.
- Useful Chemistry -Chronicles research involving the synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds. Closely tied to Useful Chemistry wiki
- Cold Spring Harbor Protocols –Discusses current events in biology with emphasis on lab techniques, protocols are highlighted & discussed in detail
- HUGO Matters –Discusses topics relevant to human genetics and genomics
Lab Notes blogs:
- Cameron Neylon http://biolab.isis.rl.ac.uk/camerons_labblog
- Michael Barton http://www.michaelbarton.me.uk/research/
- UsefulChem wiki –Synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds, including experiments. It is completely open.
- OBF wiki –Open Bioinformatics Foundation focused on supporting open source programming in bioinformatics
- OpenWetWare –Promotes sharing of information, know-how and wisdom among researchers & groups working in biology & biological engineering. It is partially open.
- WikiPathways –Dedicated to the curation of biological pathways
- Yeast Genome wiki –Everything yeast including protocols, methods, reagents, strains
- Kochlab notebook wiki –DNA unzipping data analysis. It is semi public.
- Rosania Research Group wiki –All lab notebooks of Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Michigan College of Pharmacy
Lists of scientists and researchers on Twitter:
- 100 Amazing Scientists You Should Follow on Twitter -organized according to discipline
- Biomedical Twitter People and Lists – List of people, companies, publishers, etc
The easiest way to have a rich and informative Twitter feed is to follow the people the leaders in your field are following and branch off from there. By the way, Twitter’s site is ok for learning, but it really stinks for following any sort of conversation AND you always have to refresh the page (annoying). I highly recommend using Hootsuite or TweetDeck to monitor your Twitter feeds. The thing I like about TweetDeck is that a little message pops up in the corner of my computer screen with the tweet. I can read it quickly and decide whether I want to ignore it, comment, or click on their link. Using Twitter on TweetDeck this way is very similar to how I use email because my email pops messages to my main screen too.
Really you need to sit down and figure out what your information needs are and the leaders in your field to follow. This might be hard, but I bet there might be somebody in your field who is already doing it, so ask them, build off of what they are doing and tweek it to fit your needs.Share on Facebook