Let's Read Socially–Kindle, I'm giving you a chance…

Hello #LIS768 (and anyone else who is reading this post!) I put out a tweet earlier this week inquiring if anyone would be interested in reading a book “socially” with me via the Kindle.  For my research paper, I am exploring the concept of “social reading, ” and I will be looking at a variety of mediums (traditional book clubs, online chat forums, Social Networking sites, and eReaders, specifically, the Kindle).  What I am trying to find out is which experience is more meaningful, or, what  benefits/disadvantages there are in each situation.  That is why I was hoping to find a few friends to read a book with over the Kindle.  There would be a couple of “rules” but that’s only so I can record my experience more accurately.

If you are interested, here’s what I would need:

1.  We all pick a book that we are interested in.  We can read one of the books that has been discussed in class, or we can pick a book on a totally unrelated topic–I’m flexible.  The only catch is that is must be available as an eBook.

2.  We pick a date to start reading and then the rest is up to you.  Read as fast or as slow as you want–even if you don’t finish the book by the time the paper is due, that is ok.

3.  Highlight passages and tweet them along the way.  If your kindle doesn’t let you share the passages, then please tweet them on your own by typing them out. (We will create a hashtag for the book so all of our tweets can be kept together)

4.  Write 1 (short, medium, long–doesn’t matter!) blog post about your thoughts on the book.  Could be at the end, beginning, middle, anywhere–just make sure you tweet out a link to that blog post so we can all read it.

If this is something you are interested in let me know!  I am thinking of having the book picked out by March 11th (it’s a Friday), so either comment below or send me a Tweet if you are interested in participating!

**IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A KINDLE** You are MORE than welcome to read along with us and manually tweet your passages.  Just please indicate to me if you do not have a Kindle so that I can include it in my research!

**IF YOU ARE NOT IN #LIS768** That’s ok too!  Anyone and Everyone can read along–in fact, the more the merrier!

Thanks in advance for those who are interested!

Research Paper–Proposal: Social Reading

For my research paper, I plan on looking at the concept of “Social Reading.” I am looking for answers to several questions (in no particular order)

1. Do eReaders, such as the Kindle, create a more, less, equal to or just plain different social experience than physical and old fashioned monthly book clubs?
–To explore this beyond the written research available, I plan on visiting a boom club meeting at a local bookshop in my city. I want to compare that scenario to my experience reading a popular book on the Kindle and discussing that via amazon.com and other online portals.

2. How do social networking sites like GetGlue and Good Reads enhance the social experience of reading?
— For this, I plan on creating and monitoring accounts of my own for more insight to the question.
3. What is the history of reading as a social activity as opposed to a solitary enjoyment (the rise of book club for example)?

Here are some articles I have found to get me started:

Articles:

If anyone has any other ideas or suggestions for additional questions I could ask please let me know!

So, managing an online community isn’t as easy as you thought it would be, huh?

As an undergraduate student, I spent a lot of time on Facebook.  I mean, a lot of time.  It was my go-to distraction for avoiding all types of homework and it was the tool for keeping up on what everyone was doing, even though they were only a dorm room away and I probably could have asked them myself.  My friends I habitually posted our pictures after every weekend and couldn’t wait to choose the new profile picture for the week.  Facebook, during that time, was just fun activity; a tool that allowed me to post embarrassing pictures of my friends and witty statements on their walls.  I never gave much thought to the fact that it could one day become an integral part of my career.

Fast forward 2 years after graduation and visit http://www.facebook.com/ettractions.  I have been managing this Facebook Page (along with 8 Ettractions Twitter accounts—try following @ettractionsCHI for information on great places to visit and things to do in Chicago—a Foursquare Account and their overall website in general) since June of 2010 as part of an internship that turned into a contracted position.  When I first started, I literally thought to myself: developing an online community on Facebook—no problem.  After all, on my personal Facebook Page I have over 800 friends, how hard could it be to get 800 or even more “Likes?”  Turns out, developing, and nurturing an online community of users has been quite a  challenge, and the journey to the 302 “Likes” the page currently has was not easy (although I have to admit, that the job is fun, exciting and rewarding, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other position out there).

I thought I would take the remainder of this blog post to share a little what I have learned and use techlearning.com’s article The Art Of Building Virtual Communities to ground some of my reasoning.  Also, for those of you who are interested in the concept of fostering an online community as a profession, I highly recommend that you follow @ambercadabra on Twitter, or follow her blog, Brass Tack Thinking at http://www.brasstackthinking.com/ for great resources and insight.  She really hits the nail (or is it the tack?) on the head when it comes to thinking of online spaces and the people that visit them as communities and community members.  I’ve learned a lot from her tweets and blog posts as they have helped me keep a healthy perspective on what exactly I am doing in terms of creating this Ettractions.com community online.

What I’ve learned:

  • Don’t worry if you aren’t seeing high numbers of “Likes,” or getting a lot of people to “follow” or “friend” you:  People are definitely “linkers.”  Facebook Insights came out with this new analytic tool called “Impressions” a few months ago and at first I was stunned to see the results.  According to the Insights tool, one of my wall posts had been viewed 1,435 times.  How could this be, I thought?  I only have 267 “Likes” and no one has commented on the page in the last 3 days?  It was then I realized that people were viewing the Ettractions Facebook Page, but they weren’t necessarily ready to commit to being a member of the page  (a “lurker”) and they certainly weren’t reader to contribute to the page (a “learner”).  Instead they just wanted to take a look around, read some posts, look at some pictures and leave.  Maybe they found the page through Twitter, or maybe it popped up in their News Feed.  Whichever way they found it, the important thing to keep in perspective is that they saw the page, saw the brand, and maybe found something interesting and engaging on the page that will keep them coming back.
  • Being a community “Leader” takes time, effort, consistency, and the ability to change:  I update the page every day, Monday-Friday, and set up posts to go out on Saturdays and Sundays.  I have a schedule of things to post, when to post them, what to link to, who to respond to, etc. However, I consider my schedule to be a “work in progress” because I never know what might come up that needs to be featured or showcased.  The members of the community will tell you what they want, whether it is textually, through their comments, or, and in some cases the most telling of places, through their silence.
  • Pay attention to silence:  While I did mention before that most people are “linkers” or, another way to look at it, “consumers,” it is important to remember that the point of creating these online spaces is to create a dialogue with the visitors.  If people are never “lurking” or, commenting, then you really need to pay attention to reasons for this silence.  Maybe you are only posting information that promotes your product and you never actually invite conversation.  Maybe the topics aren’t that interesting.  Maybe your tweets sound like sales pitches.  Maybe you need to be more human, more transparent.  Whatever the case may be, it is important to change things up a bit, try new ideas and ask for feedback from your community.  Avoid getting stuck in your ways at all costs.  (***Warning*** Paying attention to silence and turning consumers into contributors is one of the hardest things I have encountered, and I still haven’t gotten it right.  I’m always learning and trying new things, hoping that something along the way will work and invoke response.  Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.  The most important thing to remember is to keep going, keep learning, keep trying.)

I wanted to end this blog post by pasting some of my favorite tips from Techlearning.com’s article.  I found these to be refreshing reminders of the attitude to have when “Leading” an online community.  I hope to keep these in the back of my head on those days where I just want to give up:

  • Size of the community isn’t as important as results. Participants ask themselves what is the benefit of membership? What is the value added? How good a job does the community do of taking all the information and redistributing in an effort to give something back?
  • Community organizers should view their role as part of the community, not feel they own it
  • Healthy communities are self-managing and self-governing. Members have a sense of ownership
  • Better title for the organizer is community instigator. Have the philosophy that everyone is a leader. Ask what do you bring? Where are your talents? There is a place for everyone and everyone in their place.

What do you think?  Has anyone else experienced similar frustrations, successes, or situations in their role as a community manager (organizer, instigator—still trying to figure out what to call it!)?  As always, feel free to share comments, questions, insights, etc.  It’s been almost a year with Ettractions.com and I still can’t believe that I’ve gone from picking out bumper stickers to put on my friend’s Facebook Walls to creating a space to not only market a brand, but cultivate community on Facebook.  Who would have thought?

#PBSDigNat Tweet Transcripts

Thanks again to everyone who joined in on last night’s #PBSDigNat Tweet Chat.  For those of you who are interested (or were unable to make it last night), below is a link to the “Tweet Transcripts” of last night’s conversation.  NOTE:  This is only a collection of those tweets that had the hashtag #PBSDigNat in the tweet.  Also, make sure to scroll down to the bottom first to read it in chronological order!

#PBSDigNat Tweet Transcript.docx.htm

There were some interesting points made in our conversation last night.  One that I want to explore in more detail is the Institute of Play School Curriculum that came up in Chapter 9.  Look for a blog post in the near future about that and hopefully about the book, “The Dumbest Generation!”

Have a great week!

Tweet Chat–UPDATE!

After our discussion in class today about the Tweet Chat, I thought I would put out a new post with the newly decided upon arrangements.  As always, please feel free to comment and change things if needed 🙂

Oh and again, a big thanks to Anna Kim for suggesting this documentary!

Link:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/view/

Date/Time: Sunday, February 13, 2011 @ 8:00pm

Chapters to watch:

1.  Chapter 4:  Teaching with Technology

2.  Chapter 5:  The Dumbest Generation

3.  Chapter 9:  Where are We Headed?

Hashtag–NEW:  #PBSDigNat. (I figured since we wont be looking specifically at kids, a more general hashtag would be better).  Make sure to include this hashtag in all of your tweets pertaining to this topic.

This will be about 27 minutes of video.  I will “monitor” the chat–basically at 7:55ish or so, everyone should send out a tweet saying that they are “logged on” and that they are ready to watch Chapter 4.  At 7:00. we can all press play and tweet away!  When that first chapter is done, I’ll probably wait a minute or so, then send out a tweet saying to start Chapter 5.  So on and so on.

Some people prefer to watch the video clips first and then tweet and some people like to tweet while they are watching.  It really doesn’t matter–just do what you are most comfortable with.  Also, something might hit you 2 hours or 2 days after watching the documentary–that’s cool too, just use the #PBSDigNat hashtag to continue the conversation.

Ask questions if you have any!

Connections: Using What You READ to Influence What you DO

2011 Summer Reading Program

Preliminary Marketing Strategy

(Planned with Advice from Deirdre Breakenridge’s PR 2.0)

Introduction: Painting the Picture

I work for the Community Services Department for a Library in the West Suburbs.  One of my assignments for the upcoming Summer Season is to market the 2011 Summer Reading Program (SRP).  Because I work in a department that mainly functions in a PR 1.0 world (we haven’t received permission to create a blog, Facebook Page, or Twitter Account, and we don’t typically employ many 2.0 strategies—users creating content, conversations rather than monologues, transparency, etc), I decided to take as many ideas as possible from Deirdre Breakenridge’s book, PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences and apply them to my preliminary marketing strategy for the 2011 SRP.

The format of this plan is broken down into 5 “rounds.”  Each round begins with a recap of one or more of Breakenridge’s main points.  I then add in the actions that I plan to take with my personal marketing strategy for the Library, based off of Breakenridge’s suggestions.  I plan on distributing this copy to the other members of my department, asking for suggestions and opinions, in the hopes of starting a healthy dialogue; focusing on ways we can move ourselves into a P.R. 2.0 state of mind.

Round 1:  Do Your Homework


Deirdre Breakenridge Says: Don’t just sit back and watch the world change.  You must keep yourself well informed and your company loaded with intelligence.  Of course, you should also practice sharing the intelligence, not just with your entire public relations team, but also others in your company (38).

Actions to Take: Before creating a finalized marketing plan, I would like to research the ways in which other libraries put on Summer Reading Programs.  I will review 5 different libraries (different demographics and geographical locations for each one). This will allow me to come up with a myriad of different promotional and programming ideas for our SRP.

Questions to ask as I am looking at each library:  How do they get the word out about their Summer Reading Program?  What media are used? Who are they targeting? Are the successful? How or how not?  How can I use “X IDEA” at the library I work for?

After creating these 5 “profiles,” I will bring the new ideas to the SRP committee meeting in order to “share” the new found intelligence with my colleague; opening the floor up for lively discussion afterwards. Hopefully some of these ideas will be adopted and implemented into our own SRP promotional calendar and marketing strategy.

Round 2:  Network:  Choose Your Own “Fave Five”


Deirdre Breakenridge Says: Develop a solid database of media contacts that will lead to tremendous opportunities in your career and for the brand you represent.  Find out what journalists expect from you and how they want to be contacted.  Each individual journalist might have a PR 2.0 preference, whether it’s communication through e-mail, IM, or blogs (69).

Actions to Take: Our Community Relations Coordinator (CRC) has a long list of media contact that our Library has used for many years.  I would like to have a conversation with the CRC to narrow down this list into our “Fave 5’—those journalists and media correspondents that are most likely to help us and deliver the best results.  These media contact should cover a wide range of avenues:  print, electronic, blogging, radio/television, etc.

After this list is created, I will take the time to personally introduce myself to each “contact person.”  I can use this opportunity to talk to them about SRP, ask if they have any questions or ideas and discover in what ways they would be interested in promoting our program.  This would also be a great chance to look for partnership opportunities—are there ways that we can advocate for them as well?  As Brekenridge points out, each person might like to work in a different medium.  By personally introducing myself, I can get a feel for how he or she likes to communicate and in what capacity.  This information will make our partnership more effective.

Round 3:  Communicate: Let’s Give ‘Em Something Talk About

Deirdre Breakenridge Says: Keep positive social media chatter going by launching new campaigns or communication initiatives around what your customers like and find pleasing.  They will continue to show loyal brand enthusiasm by sharing and spreading information on your brand.  Change with the times.  Put your old clip books away and let technology guide you into new monitoring and measurement forums (84).

Actions to Take: The SRP program has, by far, the greatest number of participants than any other program we put on throughout the year.  Our patrons love SRP because we work hard to provide great incentives for readers young and old.  Since we know that people talk about our program, it is my responsibility to find out where they are talking about it.  The Actions to Take in this step are two-fold.

I would like to use new technology like Twitter/Facebook Search and Technorati to mine the internet for mentions of SRP.  Once I find these mentions, I would like to positively interact with the conversationalists and keep the discussion going.

In order to do this, I would like to set up groups on LinkedIn and Yelp, as well as post to the TribLocal discussion boards.  I will invite our actively responsive patrons to join or follow these groups and then facilitate the discussion by posting questions, updates, reminders, etc in hopes that their dialogue will continue.

I then plan on using information from these conversations to monitor and evaluate the ways in which we currently run SRP.  These qualitative and quantitative results will be shared with the SRP committee so that we may identify patterns and use this knowledge to better plan upcoming SRPs.

Round 4:  Expose Yourself


Deirdre Breakenridge Says: Blogs go one step beyond the profile.  A blog is the best way to say, “Here’s who I am and here’s what I have to say.”  Today, people want to connect, not just to the companies they purchase their products/services form, but also connect to the people behind those companies.  If the executives behind a brand are not blogging, they’re losing an opportunity, especially if they want people to talk (141).

Actions to Take: Currently, we don’t blog or employ any Social Media platforms, but we do have a great website.  I would like to encourage the idea of having a special spot on the web page that focuses on SRP.  This page could be interactive where both Library employees and Patrons can have the opportunity to add content.  We could feature an Adult, Teen and Children’s librarian talking about the rules of SRP in short video clips.  Or have patrons suggest books to read during the program.  We could even have a space for our librarians to post biographies of themselves and what they are reading for SRP.  The point of this page would be to showcase the staff and let our patrons get to know and interact with our Library.  Having this type of 2-way communication might even encourage additional conversations that can be created and cultivated on the sites that we set up in Round 3.  The possibilities with this type of transparency are endless and not only enhance the promotional value of our Library’s programs, but humanize our staff and our building, making the Library feel like home.

Round 5:  Employ one new Social Media Tool:  RSS, Meet SRP


Deirdre Breakenridge Says: RSS is a straightforward means to reach your audience.  Although it’s a different approach for the PR pro, it is unmatched in terms of its effectiveness.  However, it is important to remember that RSS content feeds might get your information directly to your target audience, but the content and quality of your message is really they key element

Actions to Take: I would like to propose creating several RSS feeds that our patrons could subscribe to for SRP.  We could have a RSS fee for Children’s books, Teen books, Adult books, SRP information, Raffle Prize information, etc.  These RSS feeds could be curated by the librarians in each department as well as support staff who have an interest in the program as well.  If some of our patrons are unfamiliar with RSS Feeds, we could have a section on our web page that explains how set them up and what they are good for.  We could even have our librarians and IT personnel do live demonstrations for those who learn visually.  Because we do not have a social media presence at this time, this would be a great first step into adopting some new PR 2.0 tools into our Library.

Bonus Round:  Things to Remember


Deidre Breakenridge Says: Your campaign requires a fine balance between traditional PR and social media tactics to reach your audiences (257).

Actions to Take: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  There are some things that we are already doing to promote SRP that we need to keep doing.  The above suggestions should be thought of as additions to, not replacements for our SRP Marketing Strategy.

Thank you for reading!  Have you had any success employing the above mentioned tactics?  Do you think I am leaving something out?  Share, share share!  Thoughts and ideas are always welcome!

Tweet Chat! PBS: DIGITAL MEDIA: NEW LEARNERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY

A big thanks to Anna Kim for recommending this awesome documentary at is airing on PBS.  I thought it would be fun to have a Tweet Chat during and even after the program.  Here’s what you need to know!

DIGITAL MEDIA: NEW LEARNERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Date/Time: Sunday, February 13, 2011 @ 9:30 p.m. (Chicago Time)

Station:  PBS (check your guide for the channel)

Summary:  (Borrowed from:  http://bit.ly/g0oGog 0

Targeted at parents, teachers and anyone concerned with education in America, this one-hour documentary takes viewers to the front lines of an education revolution. DIGITAL MEDIA: NEW LEARNERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY examines how mobile devices and digital media practices can empower young people to direct their own learning. Documenting five success stories both inside and out of the classroom, the program demonstrates how digital media, games, smart phones and the Internet are fundamentally transforming the way young people communicate, collaborate, participate and learn in the 21st century. Featuring leading experts, thinkers and practitioners in the field, DIGITAL MEDIA is a startling preview of a 21st century education.

Video Teaser:  http://to.pbs.org/i9zwUt

Tweet Chat Suggestions

Hashtag:  #PBSDigKids (Any other suggestions?  This one is kind of long…)

Ideas of what to tweet:

–An intro tweet letting your followers know what you will be tweeting about.

Example:  Follow #PBSDigKids to see the thoughts of #LIS768 as they watch the PBS Doc Digital Media:  New Learners of the 21st Century

–Your thoughts as you watch the documentary

–Questions you have

–Favorite quotes

–Key points

–Arguments

–Connections to class

–Replies/RT’s of other classmates tweets (So that your followers can see what other people think)

Really anything goes here!  I’ve done this kind of stuff at conferences before and it is really cool to see what everyone is thinking about during a lecture/presentation.

To follow the convo in real time, just type in #PBSDigKids into the Twitter Search box and save the search.  Then it should update every time someone uses that hashtag.

Please, please, please feel free to comment below adding your own suggestions and opinions.  This was just a guide to get us started and on the same page.

See you in class this weekend!