I will be giving a quick 20 minute presentation on social media next week. I pretty much have the bulk of the presentation together it is just a matter of editing the slides and fine tuning. However, I thought it might be interesting to see what librarians and medical professionals think about social media and what issues are important…or is social media even important to at all.
I do think social media is important, if not important it is definitely prevalent. According to Nielsen’s just released social media report, “nearly 4 in 5 active Internet users visit social networks and blogs.” Social media isn’t just a teenager thing or something college kids do. The biggest users of social media are 25-44 year olds (hmmm in medical libraries that would be your doctors, nurses, physical therapists…not your students). While the 25-44 year olds are definitely using social media, the biggest growth is from Internet users over the age of 55 through the mobile Internet.
Since it is apparent that social media is being used and it is here to stay for a while, what are the biggest issues you face personally and professionally?
Do you worry about a lack fo privacy? As more and more companies are going on Facebook and Twitter what is your thought about following them? Do you follow them? Why or why not?
What is your library or institution doing on Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare? Yes if you want your library or institution to participate in social networking they have to have a presence, but simply occupying a space is not social. How is your library or institution engaging its users? How do you measure engagement? Do the increase of bots on Twitter and inactive Facebook followers concern you?
Is there something else that I am omitting about social media that is important and should be mentioned? Comment and tell me about it.Share on Facebook
Brian Solis wrote an interesting post, “The End of Social Media 1.0,” describing a shift in the social media landscape to value added social media. He says people are still embracing social networks but competition for their eyes and their loyalty is stiff because users are no longer willy nilly hitting the like button, re-tweeting and following like they once did. They have become discerning social media consumers, interested only in companies that have value to them.
While I kind of dislike the whole 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 way of labeling of things other than specific software updates, Brian brings up a good point. Even though he is speaking specifically about businesses and social media, the same should be said about libraries and social media. Simply having a presence on Facebook or Twitter isn’t going to cut it. So what if you have 800 fans…big deal. How active are your fans on your page? How active are you at engaging your fans? Technically I am a fan of CVS Pharmacy but that was just so I could enter to win a contest. I really don’t care about CVS, I just haven’t taken the time to “un-fan” them. I don’t read their posts, I don’t interact with them on their wall, and quite frankly I completely forgot I was a fan until I was doing some Facebook house cleaning. How many of your library fans are like that? How many of your library Facebook fans are still students or employees?
In light of the recent study “What Students Don’t Know,” few students even think of the library or the librarian in general, so you gotta do more than just have a Facebook presence to win their attention. What are you doing on library’s Facebook page or Twitter to be of value to current and potential fans? Brian says, “Businesses must first realize that there’s more to social media than just managing an active presence, driven by an active editorial calendar. Listening is key and within each conversation lies a clue to earn relevance and ultimately establish leadership.” Now change the word businesses for the word libraries or library businesses.
Unfortunately, there is a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on here. You kind of have to first have fans to listen to them. Normally I would say that librarians are pretty good listeners. But if a tree falls in the woods does anyone hear it? The “What Students Don’t Know” study clearly worries me and makes me wonder if we are good listeners but crummy overall communicators.
If your library has a Facebook presence as a way to connect to users, simply having a bunch of fans does not show how good you are at communicating through social media. What you do with those fans on Facebook, the conversations, interactions, and changes you make to your products or services is a better indicator of your social media presence. How many libraries have established a relationship with their fans? What has your library done differently as a result of Facebook communication?
I was listening to the radio the other day and the DJs were talking about who has more followers on Twitter. At first they were comparing their numbers to each other, then they started comparing themselves to outside personalities. You have 100,000 followers, big deal. How many are actively following you and re-tweeting? How many still use their Twitter accounts and tweet at least once a month? Recently there was a big broohaha over Newt Gingrich’s Twitter followers. People claimed that he had staffers buy the Twitter followers in order to boost his numbers. Mashable conducted a Twitter analysis of Gingrich’s account along with several other politicians and discovered many of his followers (and followers of other politicians) were due to being on Twitter’s Suggested User List. Many of the followers are either spambots or people who signed up but never did anything. According to Mashable 14% of Gingrich’s followers have posted within the last month. Various reports from 2009 say that most people quit Twitter after one month, leaving lots of inactive Twitter accounts. (Remember when everybody had to start a blog and all of the dead blogs littering the Internet?) These accounts are still subscribed and “following” people, they just aren’t active. Twitter is all about communication and reaching out to people, yet the number of followers you have cannot be used as an indicator of success.
Social media is about communicating with our users. Having lots of fans and followers does not mean your library or company is successful at social networking. Communication is a two way street. If your wall is dead, your fans aren’t interested and they aren’t getting your message. If your wall is dead, you are my CVS Pharmacy to your Facebook fans, something they “liked” but really don’t care about anymore.
Indifference may not wreck a man’s life at any one turn, but it will destroy him with a kind of dry-rot in the long run.
You can have lots of fans and followers but that is just having a social media presence. While participation requires presence, presence does not require participation. There are too many libraries and library vendors present on Facebook and Twitter and trumpeting their “success,” in social media. There are very few that are participating and engaging their fans and followers which is the true mark of success.Share on Facebook
Many people have lamented on how long it often takes to get an article, comment or letter published in a journal. The time delay is most often seen when the author is writing about a new technology that was new a year ago or when somebody is responding to an article by writing a letter or brief comment. The letter or brief comment shows up several months after the original article, creating what I feel is a bit of a disconnect.
Travis Saunders wrote an interesting post about his experience writing a Letter to the Editor and blog post discussing the conclusions of an article in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutritional and Physical Activity. No surprise the Letter to the Editor took considerably longer to get published. The blog post while quicker to post probably had the same reach as the Letter to the Editor. While the Letter was not the quickest nor maybe the most effective method, it is still the most important for career.
As Travis mentions, “Publications are the currency of research. These are what people (scholarship and grant committees, performance review committees, etc) focus on when determining your productivity, and having a few extra publications can make a huge difference for a young researcher.” As a result there is no way a blog post will compare with a Letter to the Editor. Travis mentions that a hybrid model using the best of both communication methods would be ideal, and points out that BMJ already does this sort of with has eLetters.
Given that the methods of assessment and professional communication still have to catch up to the way we communicate professionally via social media outlets, one would think it is pointless to even bother. Why write two “letters?” (The actual Letter to the Editor and the blog post) Why not? With some simple edits, adding of URLs (if need be) somebody can kill two birds with one stone and quite possibly reach others they would never have otherwise reached with a traditional Letter to the Editor. Compared to a traditional Letter to the Editor, a blog post has the ability to go viral much more easily thereby having a greater impact. Given how easy and little time it takes a blog postShare on Facebook
My husband fowarded me this interesting graphic.
Image Source: Spina Bifida Info.com
Some of my thoughts on the graphic:
63% of doctors are using mobile devices that aren’t connected to their practice! 79% prefer the iPad and 75% have purchased an Apple device. Another 38% plan to purchase an iPad in the coming year. Finally with 86% of physicians wanting to use their mobile devices to EMRs, hospital IT departments Needto get on the ball and deal with iPads and iPhones in their institutions. Clearly they make think it is a personal device, but the graphic clearly shows that doctors think it is more than a personal device, are using it in their medical practice.
All of that information also means that librairans and library vendors need to make sure their electronic resources are accessible on the iPad. That means no Flash. It also might mean other formatting issues like reduce the need to scroll. It is a lot easier to scroll with a mouse than to flick scroll with your fingers. Even if publishers/vendors adhere to the no Flash rule, there are still ways to build interactivity into the material and have high resolution pictures, videos, sounds, etc. I know a doctor who used his iPad to access a video on WebMD to show at the patient’s bedside what their surgical procedure would be. Give electronic resources dimension, but make sure it can be accessible on the dominant platform, which appears to be the iPad (if this graphic is correct).
Interesting that despite the growth and popularity of the Android phone in the consumer market, it seems their tablet is much less popular because only 9% of physicians would want an Android model. Like I said interesting the difference between the phone and tablet market.
Librarians interested in medical apps should take note of the four relatively inexpensive (if you don’t count the camera attachment) medical apps that doctors are using on their devices.
Finally, I find it very interesting that with all the press that Sermo and other closed social networking sites have gotten that “physicians prefer open forums over physician only online communities.” So it looks like closed sites are not the answer. Perhaps something like Google+ which allows people to share in an open forum but also selectively restrict things to specific people/circles might become more popular among medical professionals.
One statistic I find suspect is the one stating 2/3 of the doctors are using social media for professional purposes. What social media and how? I find it hard to believe that 2/3 of the doctors are on FB (Sermo, LinkedIn, etc.) for professional purposes. If it means that 2/3 of the doctors are using some form of social media for professional purposes such as reading blogs and wikis, then I totally can see that statistic. I would like to see how that question was worded because if it asked them what of the following things have you done professionally and it listed read a blog, read a wiki page, use FB professionally, tweet a conference, tweet professionally, etc. I can totally seeing that kind of question skewing things. They may be using it professionally, i.e. reading a blog post, but they may not be participating for professional reasons i.e. tweeting a conference.
I hope you find the graphic as interesting as I do. Thanks Mike for passing it along to me.Share on Facebook
I knew it was only a matter of time before the widget makers would make a widget for blogs that would add Google+ features to blog software.
I have not added the features myself. I have been testing off and on various blog skins that provide me with different looks and functionality. I have no doubt that I will add the G+ functionality in the future, but right now I am waiting a bit. I am waiting for several reasons. I am still trying to find a specfic look for my blog and I am more focused on that then whether it already can support G+. I figure most skins eventually will support G+ so if I find the one I like now, I will pounce on it regardless of its Google widget availability. I am also waiting for there to be more G+ widgets and to see what people have done to improve things. Google+ is still very new, so there are only a few widgets out there, I am going to wait to see what cool things come out after people have had time to create some things.
However, if you are happy with the way your blog looks and performs and you want to add a little G+ functionality to it, check out Mashable’s article “How to Integrate Google+ Into Your WordPress Site.” They discuss adding your profile information (good if your blog is personal, because G+ is still only for personal reasons not companies, libraries, brands, etc.). They also discuss adding the +1 button and Google inspired themes.
Regardless of whether you are going to add a G+ widget right away, it is interesting to see what people are doing already incorporate it in blogs. Now if we can get Google to think outside of the Chrome box.Share on Facebook
I am on Google+ and I am not sure if I like it. I am sporadically kicking the tires, testing it out.
Here are some reasons I like it:
- I like having everything Google together. Iam not sure if I like how it brings up another window when I click the links to my email, calendar, docs, etc. on the Google bar, but I am not sure what work better.
- I like the idea of Hangout, but I can only use it at home because it requires me to install a Google plugin and I don’t have a microphone or camera on my work computer. I can see it being used for web conferencing and other professional things. I tried Hangout one weekend but nobody in my Circles were hanging out so I really couldn’t test it. I think I would Hangout more if I could do it on my phone. I would also like to know if I could Hangout with people outside of my circle. For example, I would like to attend topical Hangouts but I may not want to add those people to my circles.
- Setting up your circles is much more intuitive and easier than setting up friend lists in Facebook. It is really easy to do, you can click multiple people, drag and drop and easily create new circles. The Facebook friends lists were always something sort of hidden.
- Posts, it automatically and easily asks you who (which circles) you want your wall posts to be seen by. In Facebook you have to play around with the post defaults and friend lists and remember to hit the arrow to change things when you don’t want a wall post to be seen by your default group.
Some of the things I don’t like:
- Not enough people. Yeah all of my geek friends are on it, but nobody else. One family member is on it but he is always playing with cutting edge stuff. So in order to share things online with family and friends, I still have to go onto Facebook since the majority of my non-geek friends are not on G+. I don’t like going to different places to share information (one reason I am rarely on LinkedIn), so I don’t see myself using it until/unless more of my regular friends join.
- +1 button is confusing, until you know it is just Google’s version of Like. After that it is just as boring as the Like button. I would have liked it if you could hit the +1 button and then comment on the item or person’s comment.
- Blog integration? Since you are reading this you already know I write a blog. A few sentences of the post and its link go up on my Krafty Librarian FB page (not my personal FB site) directing people (primarily librarians) to my latest blog post. If I can’t integrate blog feeds into my G+ wall then it is pointless for me to use G+. However, it is still too early to tell if this will be possible in the future. I am sure there are WordPress geeks working all types of widgets for G+.
- Twitter integration? Every wall post (including blog posts) on my Krafty Librarian FB page is then sent out via Twitter. This increases the abilty to share information. Again without this ability G+ is not worth it. I am told you can integrate Twitter and G+ if you use Google’s Chrome browser. Yeah, I don’t use Chrome at all. I really hope Google doesn’t limit innovation specifically to Chrome because that will kill G+.
- RSS feeds. I still need to got to at least two sites to stay on top and share information. I grab all of my feeds using Netvibes. Netvibes allows me to follow ANYTHING that has an RSS feed. That means I can follow Twitter feeds, blog posts, news feeds, flickr, search feeds (web and database), etc. Basically Netvibes is my one stop shop for finding information. It is my morning newspaper. I can also share things on Twitter, FB, and email through Netvibes. However, to get the whole picture I really have to jump back and forth between Netvibes and FB or Twitter. If G+ could somehow incorporate RSS feeds so I don’t have to bounce between sites, that would be a huge help. I know Google Reader is accessible from the top tool bar when I am logged in and I when I went into it, I tried to share a story. It looked like it worked but nothing showed up on G+ so I have no idea if I shared that story and if so where. Perhaps I something is wrong with my settings.
As I said, I am still playing around with G+ bit by bit. In the mean time I thought I would share two other people’s opinions on G+. John Halamka likes G+ better than Facebook, he finds FB’s interface to be cumbersome. Daniel Hooker shares a funny cartoon about G+ and FB and also describes his surprise at re-sharing through G+ and how you might want to disable re-shares.
They are saying G+ is the Twitter or Facebook killer. But right now it is all about people. While G+ has grown quite quickly, the people still aren’t there yet. If you don’t get a critical mass of people, then FB is going to remain the place to be. In the mean time, I am continuing to play with G+ and will write more as I learn more. If you have any ideas about it or if I am missing something or doing something wrong please comment or leave a post on G+ or FB.Share on Facebook
Last week while I was on vacation Google+ seemed to have exploded on the social networking scene. This also just happened to be the first almost entirely Internet free vacation I had in a looong time. I was on a Caribbean cruise and the .65 cents/minute of Internet time on the ship, the international roaming and data fees from AT&T, and the overall glacial pace of the network caused me to turn off my iPhone and lock it in the room safe. It was definitely relaxing to be off the grid, but coming back I was hit with the tsunami of information. Email, RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, etc. all were full to the brim with information. One of those things was Google+.
Thankfully, Neil Mehta has been looking at Google+ in the area of Medical Education.
His first post Google+ Early Impressions – Lots to Like – A Few Things to Tweak he kicks the tires on Google+ to give his first impressions on it. Like Neil, I like the Hangout feature and the idea of tying all things Google together.
He also has a nice post that explains the concept of Google Circles a little bit more. In his post Google+ Circles Simplified Neil thinks we need 2 sets of circles, one to filter the posts and the other share information. He also links to other helpful posts about Google+ circles. Then he provides another post on A 2 circle Google+ Migration Strategy for Newbies that might help those thinking about their circles.
Finally his post Educational Applications of Google+ Hangout discusses how to use that feature in medical education with posting questions on Twitter for people to discuss in a Hangout session, create hypothetical video cases to launch and watch as a group in Hangout, and it could be used to discuss topics in Hangout then record the session and upload to YouTube to share with more viewers.
Within the next few days, once I shake the sand out of my brain, I will start playing with Google+ and hopefully come up with some insights on use in medical libraries.Share on Facebook
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What we do online is normal to us, when we are online. Take our online activities, sayings, and behavior and move that to every day non-online life and all of a sudden showing your marital status to people and following them becomes very weird very fast.
So if you want a good laugh this Friday check out ENO’s viral YouTube video intended to promote Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys. The viral video makes fun of how what we do on Facebook and Twitter and is quite funny. (It also has nothing to do with the very dark opera it is trying to promote.)
If you can’t access YouTube you might try and watch it at the Two Boys Opera website just click on “Can I Be Your Friend” and enjoy. The other link the trailer for the opera which looks interesting, but it is very dark and not what I would classify as Friday Fun.
If you enjoy ENO’s viral video then you will also like this oldie but goodie video, Facebook in Reality.Share on Facebook
I don’t use my LinkedIn account as much as I probably should. I am sure I am missing out on something, but quite frankly it doesn’t draw and engage me like Facebook or Twitter. Who knows maybe a year from now I will be saying “Oh Facebook and Twitter those are soooo 2011. The new whatcha-madoodle plugin or enhancements have made LinkedIn my new must use tool.” But one of the things I like about LinkedIn are its discussion within groups. I get nice little emails informing me of a new post to the discussion. I can’t explain really why I like the discussion groups in LinkedIn and how I find them different than Facebook conversations. I just do.
I am signed up to multiple groups in LinkedIn most for personal interest like U.S. Masters Swimming and St. Louis Cardinals Fans. I am a member of the Medical Library Association group, but ironically most of the groups I belong to on the “professional” social networking site are personal. Some of the groups are a little more chatty than others but I guess one of the reasons I like the discussion part of it more than Facebook is that the chatter tends to remain on topic and even the chattiest of my groups isn’t nearly as busy as Facebook (at least in my groups).
The Medical Library Association group is not chatty at all. In fact I think it is more of a gathering of medical librarians instead of a group discussing things (that is much the same on their Facebook page). Perhaps that is because we medical librarians still do most of our chatting on Medlib-l.
As new topics and trends come to light, groups often emerge from them. The latest one to emerge that might be of interest to librarians is the Career Sustainability group. It appears their are two Career Sustainability group, this one is for librarians and was created by Deb Hunt.
About the group:
I see my colleagues struggling with layoffs and job insecurity. Yet there are vast opportunities for information professionals and I want to see us benefit from those opportunities.
We must add flexibility, insight, and recognition of opportunity to our essential core skills! We need to move outside our comfort zone and reflect on our accomplishments so we can communicate them to current, future and prospective employers or clients. Else, how will they know what we can do and what we bring to the table?
It is a new group but it already has a lively discussion regarding tips people can share on keeping your career sustainable. While I haven’t chimed in yet, I enjoy reading the responses. I hope the group continues to grow and discuss things. If you are on LinkedIn or are thinking of joining it, ou might want to consider joining the Career SustShare on Facebook
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This just in on the Onion News Network, “Facebook Program Drastically Cuts Agency’s Costs.” You all know Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, but did you know he was really a CIA agent, code named The Overlord?
“After years of secretly monitoring the public, we were astounded so many people would willing publicize where they live, their religious and political views, alphabetized list of all their friends, personal email addresses, phone numbers, hundreds of photos of themselves, and even status updates of what they were doing moment to moment. It is truly a dream come true for the CIA.”
This is one of my favorite Onion reports. Watch it and get a good laugh, especially about what they say about Farmville and FourSquare. Personally I think Angry Birds was more effective at pacifying Americans during the recession, but who is to argue with the CIA statistics.Share on Facebook