Tag Archives: Social Media

21st Century Librarians Make Allies of the Press

As a 21st Century Librarian, if you are innovative and cutting edge…the day will come when the press knocks on your door. Sometimes that is positive – sometimes its negative…and sometimes, if poorly handled, it can be DIRE!

Dealing with the Press (print or television or bloggers) is a situation that may cause even the most capable librarian or director’s blood to run cold. “The newspaper is on the phone for you.” Or “The channel 6 news van just pulled up outside.” is enough to make any of us want to run for the bathroom and hide. Especially if you do not know why they are there! However by keeping a few key things in mind (and with some experience) everyone can use their relationships with the press to their greatest advantage.

  1. Never Let ‘em See You Sweat!
    Whether it is a positive story and the reporter is there at your request or a surprise visit asking for a comment about some new political/policy/budget situation, remember that you are in control of YOU. Take a deep breath-focus on the questions being asked- decide what you want to say and then say it confidently! If you need a moment, take it. YOU run the interview. Do not BE run.
    There is nothing worse than finding out news FROM the reporter! Things like “SO! How do you feel about losing that $2M from next years proposed budget allocation?” Speechless doesn’t begin to cover the possible reactions!
  2. Have a Designated Library Spokesperson.
    This is not about being controlling or hampering freedom of speech. It is about controlling the message that comes from the Library. That message should convey the spirit of your culture and ethics in every phrase.
  3. Talk in Sound Bites & Manage You Own Story.
    No matter how comfortable you are with a journalist, it is never wise to talk unreservedly. When you are on the record, give them the information they need but attempt to talk in short meaningful sentences or ‘sound bites’ that will simply be too good for them to pass up printing! As you hone this skill, you can almost be assured that the journalist will pick up on your sound bites and those will be what they use. Ready-made sound bites make their job easier and help shape the story that YOU want told.
    Manage the story yourself. Do not rely on the news journalist to present the story the way that you think that they will. Or the way that they should. Make sure that you present the information that you would like to see the story reflect by crafting your responses in a way that you give the information you want highlighted.  This will give a better chance that the story will cover the ideas that you’re wanting to highlight.
  4. Go “Off the Record”!
    In addition, just as you hold your ethics dear on patron privacy, freedom to read, etc., a true journalist holds the “off the record” statements made to them very dear. If you feel that additional context would be helpful to the journalist in writing their story but you do not want to risk being quoted on delicate back stories, ask the reporter if you can talk to them off record to provide them with greater detail and more context. Almost every time they will jump at the opportunity to gather more intel even if it’s something that they can’t directly use. In employing this tactic you garner their trust, their goodwill, and maybe even a few brownie points if you point them in the right direction to gather more information for their story. However, the greatest benefit of this tactic is that it provides the reporter with the appropriate context for the story and if, as you should, you have done nothing inappropriate that the newspaper is covering, such as unethical handling of the patron, policy, or financial issue, etc., then you have nothing to fear. In addition, giving them a deeper understanding of the situation will often lead to a more empathetic slant of the story toward the library – if appropriate.
    In addition we all know that much of what we do is a matter of public record. If the journalist is requesting information that you know exists in the public record such as board meeting minutes agendas or other documents don’t make the reporter dig for this information. Rather – offer it up! There is a good chance they will eventually find it and if you have given it to them rather than making them work for it garners a spirit of trust, collegiality and teamwork that will often times result in better press for the library.
  5. Use the Royal “We”.
    When you’re being interviewed make sure that you refer to the library administration and Board of Trustees rather than to yourself personally as making decisions. Not only is this good form and probably completely accurate, this will give your sound bites the ring of authority. In addition Board of Trustees members love to see that credit given to them in publications, and it will go a long way in garnering good will. In addition, always remember that you are not being interviewed as an individual, you ALWAYS represent the organization. Speaking ‘on behalf’ is your job as the spokesperson. In that sense, referring to the organization with the Royal “We” is completely acceptable and expected.
  6. Don’t Get Punked! At least not on camera!
    When it comes to a television interview, ask the reporter what questions they will be asking you BEFORE they begin filming. More specifically, BEFORE they even get the video camera out of the bag! Tell them you want to talk “off the record” before you begin. If there is no hidden agenda, they should have absolutely no problem in telling you their interview questions. And trust me, they do have the questions that they intend to ask long before they arrived at your location. If they say they are just going to “wing it” that should send up a red flag for you and then you need to push to find out what the questions are and exactly what the point of the story is. Never be shy about asking any reporter what is the point of the story they’re writing. It is entirely possible that the story may change for them over time as they gather information but it is totally appropriate for you to ask the angle that they’re planning for the story. Remember: It’s your organization.
  7. When Necessary, Be “Unavailable” instead of “No Comment”.
    In some instances you will be contacted for a story that you either for legal reasons cannot speak about or would simply prefer not to because it does not seem that there is any upside to giving a comment or statement to the press. These could include a story that you are unprepared to address, has legal ramifications of any statements, or is a personnel matter that should not be discussed. Always use “No comment” as an option of last resort. Remember when you are reading a newspaper article what no comment looks like to you. Inherent in the statement no comment is a statement. What does sound much better is “The library spokesperson was unavailable or could not be reached for comment”. Use this tactic wisely. And only when you feel that you have truly ruled out that there is any acceptable statement that can be made. Consider the statement “The library is greatly distressed/disappointed/concerned that this has occurred. We are hopeful that there will be a satisfactory resolution for all concerned.” This is a broad open ended and empathetic statement that can realistically be applied to almost any distressing situation. While this is a useful tactic, be aware that you also give up the opportunity to add your organization’s perspective to the piece. Only you know if silence is better.
  8. Press Response Should be Part of Every Plan!
    Plan Ahead!! Know your response or sound bite before the reporter ever knocks on your door or rings your phone. For example – Make sure that you know how you’re going to present that fabulous new $60,000 innovative service in a time of deep budget cuts. How will you answer the tough questions? How will you explain your decision making? Can you? A basic truth: If you Can’t defend it…Don’t DO it! If you follow this basic rule, you should never worry. Not everyone will always agree with your choices but at least they will understand them and have faith in the integrity of your decision making process.
  9. You will be Misquoted! 
    Most important – always remember that you WILL be misquoted. It is not a matter of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’. How to respond becomes the question. If it is a significant issue that needs a retraction or correction, address it with the reporter and if you do not get an appropriate response be sure to contact the editor. However, unless the error is so substantial that it simply MUST be corrected, shrug it off and remember that this is a part of the game of playing with the press.
  10. You need the Press and They need YOU! Play Nice!
    Remember that the newspaper or television reporter needs you as badly as you need them and often times more. Yes – you need them too when you want them to cover a big piece of news or new program or award. But your story is their bread-and-butter, especially when the story isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. When those tough political, policy, or budget stories come, all the press outlets will be knocking to get the best and first scoop. With this thought in mind it is safe to consider that it is not in their best interest nor should it be their desire to make an enemy out of the library. This means they should try not to misquote you, surprise you or position you in a way that is (unnecessarily) harmful for the library. (That does not mean that it will not show up in the press if you do something really stupid! They are in the business of the “public’s right to know”.) If it feels like you were dealing with a journalist who has no goodwill toward the library, or seeks out harmful angles to create a more “sensational” story, you have one option – Don’t deal with them again. Become dramatically unavailable to them for any of their stories. Invariably, they will either realize they have to deal more fairly with you or, if the breakdown in the relationship causes the paper or channel to miss a good story or scoop, it is likely the editor will assign another reporter to your beat.And if, dear reader, as you are reading this blog you were thinking “Well, that’s all well and good but the only time I ever have to talk to the newspaper is to get an article in about storytime or summer reading”. That way of thinking will leave you vulnerable when the unexpected and unfortunate day comes when there is a big story and you need a relationship with the press. When a branch closes, a policy is attacked, a budget is cut or you are being sued, these are the times that having a reporter that you already know and have a trusting friendly relationship with covering that story will be invaluable. Treating the journalist as a colleague can be extremely helpful to you by allowing you to state the Library’s position publicly or giving you good PR for things that are happening in the library. That said – never forget that at the end of the day they are a journalist and they are there to get the story.

Because this is a tough topic…One more tip for good measure:

Be Gracious! Take the High Road.
Libraries are like Girl Scout cookies – everyone loves us. What they do not love is when public figures or groups start slinging mud. They may enjoy reading it but they will never forget that that is the type of person that you are and ergo the type of organization the Library is.

The only thing that slinging mud does is get you dirty too. If the story they’re reporting is a Library budget slashing by the City Council, take the highroad. Give them a soundbite of: “The Library understands that the city has serious financial challenges and that tough decisions have to be made.” Then gently make your case for why and how this is going to impact the library – again, without slinging mud or throwing someone else under the bus. Never take the offensive approach, because it doesn’t read well in print, and in a television interview you simply come off looking bitter. In addition, by attacking others you give the “opposition” something to attack you with. A gracious response will allow the public to have a spirit of goodwill and empathy toward the Library that all the fist pounding in the world cannot illicit.

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Meet The Millennials – Harry and Katniss

Harry1. The magical wizard Harry Potter (the “older” end of the generation) These “first wave Millennials” (today’s 20-somethings) came of age in the economic boom of the 90s/early ‘00s, a time infused with the spirit of “Yes We Can” and the belief that college, working hard and playing by the rules would guarantee future success. Raised by idealistic Boomer parents, they were told they were special and gifted, with a magic wand capable of changing the world. They were shaped by a context of seemingly limitless possibilities.

2. The Hunger Game’s trailblazing survivalist Katniss Everdeen (the younger end of the generation, peeking into Gen Z). This second wave of Millennials, today’s tweens & teens, have known a very different youth. They came of age in an economic downturn, seeing college grads struggling with huge student loan debt and living through a cascade of social media-amplified tragedies like Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook. For them, life has always been a 24/7 social media show.

It’s a challenging world to traverse, and like Katniss from the Hunger Games, they are navigating life by honing specialized, self-taught (often Internet-acquired) survival skills. They are also utilizing the advice of their pragmatic Gen X parents, who don’t say “the world is your oyster,” but rather “you have to create your own oyster.”

This assessment is based on a recent study – Young Millennials Will Keep Calm & Carry On – by MTV.

MTV set out to understand the younger end of the Millennial demo, 13-17 year olds, who will soon move into the “sweet spot” of MTV’s core target demographic of 18-24 year olds. This is a landmark generational study that builds on MTV’s long legacy of deeply understanding our audience, as part of an effort to constantly reinvent ourselves and stay at the bleeding edge of youth culture.

Millennials are one of the most analyzed, scrutinized, criticized and even glorified generations ever. But what much of Millennial research fails to recognize is that there are two distinct groups within the generation, as illustrated by MTV’s new study.

Generational analysis has always been very vague and generalized because to be more specific about people who were born and grew up almost 20 years apart, as in Boomers born in 1946 compared to those born in 1964, is a difficult task. Few researchers felt the need to be more specific. Early Boomers are very different from late Boomers, because society changed drastically from the post-WWII “Rock-n-Roll” era to the psychedelic “Hippy” era.

The rest of the article goes on to elaborate on the younger segment of Millennials, focusing on four important traits.

These pragmatic youth are natural preppers in the face of an unpredictable world – whether planning for physically safety in light of violence or prepping for their futures in a more uncertain economic climate.

Young Millennials are consummate brand managers, honing their unique personal brand to stand out and specialize in a world that’s increasingly competitive (whether that’s in terms of obtaining a following online or getting into college.)

YMs are consciously taking time to self-soothe (a classic coping mechanism from hyper-stimulation) disconnect, de-stress, de-stimulate and control inputs. They “mono-task” and focus on immersive hands-on activities like baking, sewing or crafting. They claim their dependence on social media is overrated: one girl says “My parents Facebook more than I do.”

This is the first generation of “digital latchkey kids.” Though increasingly physically protected by parents, teens’ web behavior is not as closely monitored. But like the Gen X Latchkey Kids who created their own rules and regimes while parents worked, youth today are surprisingly filtering out what’s overwhelming to them online: avoiding certain Youtube videos or sites that they think are gross, inappropriate or disturbing.

So what? This is about your library’s survival!
As libraries try to figure out how to become relevant to their community, it is critical to understand the patrons/customers/ members/users who are growing up to be the ones who either support your library and become engaged with it, or ignore it as having nothing to offer them. When young people dislike something, it’s nearly impossible for parents to convince them that it is “good for them,” which means the parents may no longer support the library either because it can’t meet their family’s needs.

It is important to know that younger Millennials may be more receptive to your library website and social media – if it is designed well – because,

Unlike older Millennials who were pioneers in the “Wild West of social media,” today’s teens are “tech homesteaders” – they’re more savvy about how to use the internet, build “gated” groups, “hide in plain view”, curate and filter.



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Can We Get Real Facts, Please

Since being exposed to research and statistical analysis during my doctoral program, I have been a skeptic of much of what is reported as “research findings.” The political polls are especially troubling when one considers that national trends are based on responses of about 2,000 individuals polled. That’s 2,000 who are supposedly representative of the 300+ MILLION. Seriously? Recently I listened to a Pew Research Center analyst spout library use results from one survey of just Philadelphia Public Library patrons and make assertions that these results were representative of library use nation-wide. BULL! Attempting to generalize the interests and behaviors of one city to the entire nation is just bad research at worst, cheap research at best.

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Report “Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations” released June 25 reports the following.

Younger Americans—those ages 16-29—exhibit a fascinating mix of habits and preferences when it comes to reading, libraries, and technology. Almost all Americans under age 30 are online, and they are more likely than older patrons to use libraries’ computer and internet connections; however, they are also still closely bound to print, as three-quarters (75%) of younger Americans say they have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 64% of adults ages 30 and older.

At the end of the “Summary of Findings” section of this report website, under “About this research,” is their description of the survey – “This report contains findings from a survey of 2,252 Americans ages 16 and above between October 15 and November 10, 2012.” It totally boggles my mind that serious researchers would even consider basing NATIONAL trends, let alone make profession-wide recommendations based on a sample of only 2,252 people. We’re talking over 17,000 public libraries, with BILLIONS of library visits, and countless other academic and school libraries that are supposed to accept these findings as gospel? Seriously? I don’t, and I would advise anyone to seriously questions such results, and recommendations.

The thing that sparked my ire was that media publications have picked up the highlights of this Pew Report and drawn their own conclusions that the general public will accept as gospel also. Younger Americans still use public libraries, survey finds was the Los Angeles Times spin on this Pew Study.

Think teens and twenty-somethings who are used to looking up everything on smartphones have little use for the public library?
Think again.
“E-reading is still fairly new,” Zickuhr [one of the authors of the report] said. “We’re not seeing very high rates of e-reading amongst younger adults. But that could rise and affect the image of the library.”

Not only does this media reporting sound contradictory, it doesn’t really track with events and other data. And, if that were true, would Douglas County (CO) Library System be making a significant investment to create their own cloud for eBooks? AND THAT WAS TWO YEARS AGO!!

Even Pew contradicts itself, because the report includes this – “As with other age groups, younger Americans were significantly more likely to have read an e-book during 2012 than a year earlier.” So, is eBook reading among youth significant or not? Who can tell from this reporting by Pew or the media.

The San Francisco Chronicle blog, SFGate.com reported their headline Study: Younger folks are reading books, using libraries after all and included the following.

The stereotype: Younger Americans no longer visit public libraries and have all but abandoned paper books in favor of digital media.

Reality check: Young Americans are actually more likely than older Americans to have read a printed book in the past year and are more likely than their elders to use a library.

The Pew Study did not report that youth are reading their one book a year at the library – another fallacy of the research. AND, the youth come to the library to use the computers more than older adults, not that youth just use the library more. It is ALWAYS what they don’t tell you that really puts research in its proper perspective.

So what? you may ask. Media gets stuff wrong all the time, and sensationalizes laundry soap.

We’re talking about the future of our libraries. If the public – that includes those who make funding decisions – believes that youth are really using BOOKS, then why fund technology? Why fund eReaders? Why fund conversion to digital collections? Why fund anything new or innovative? “The library hasn’t really changed and all you hypersensitive librarians who think you’re going to be out of a job are wrong.” creates a mentality that change is not coming so why worry, or prepare. THAT is a very dangerous mentality toward libraries.

Change is here and now! Libraries MUST be innovative and understand THEIR users, not rely on questionable research results.


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Google+ = Competition for The Other Guys

Have you heard about Google+? From what I’ve seen and read so far, it appears that it is likely to be MAJOR competition in the social network marketplace.

Frankly, I don’t like Facebook. It is as far from intuitive as any online platform I’ve ever visited. Nothing about Facebook makes sense to me, and much of it doesn’t work for me either. I was beginning to think it’s ME that has the problem – maybe not!

A quick look at the first pieces of the project.
Sharing is a huge part of the web, a part that we think could be a lot simpler. That’s why we’ve been working on adding a few new things to Google: to make connecting with people on the web more like connecting with them in the real world.

You share different things with different people. But sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life.

Remember when your Grandpa used to cut articles out of the paper and send them to you? That was nice. That’s kind of what Sparks does: looks for videos and articles it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something to watch, read, and share. Grandpa would approve.

Bumping into friends while you’re out and about is one of the best parts of going out and about. With Hangouts, the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Let buddies know you’re hanging out and see who drops by for a face-to-face-to-face chat. Until we perfect teleportation, it’s the next best thing.

Instant Upload

Taking photos is fun. Sharing photos is fun. Getting photos off your phone and on to the web is pretty much the opposite of fun. That’s why we created Instant Upload: so that from now on, your photos upload themselves. You don’t even have to say ‘cheese’.


Texting is great, but not when you’re trying to get six different people to decide on a movie. Huddle takes care of it by turning all those different conversations into one simple group chat, so everyone gets on the same page long before thumbs get sore.

I’m excited about the potential of Google+ because IT MAKES SENSE TO ME. “Circles” of friends or acquaintances – naturally! “Hangouts” with friends in random meetings – great fun! “Sparks” of interesting things to see and read – very cool!

While Facebook has had a near monopoly on social networking for some time now, there is an advantage to the late-comer. Google has had a long time to evaluate what people want in a social networking platform. Ease of use! Intuitive features! Compatibility with life style! Features that actually work! And, not the least of the important features is SECURITY and PRIVACY!

According to IT World’s July 08, 2011 posting, Privacy experts praise Google+ rollout so far.

After major privacy failures in its Buzz and Street View services, Google has hit the right notes with its deliberate, measured roll out of its new Google+ social networking site, according to privacy experts.

By making Google+ available to a very limited set of initial testers, Google is showing that it learned its lesson from the privacy fiasco that followed the sudden, widespread launch of its Twitter-like Buzz service, which earned the company boos and lawsuits from end users, and investigations and fines from government agencies for unilaterally and publicly disclosing previously hidden Gmail connections.

The conservative approach to Google+’s availability is allowing Google to gather valuable feedback and patch bugs, including privacy holes, before making the site available to a mass audience, when glitches would have exponential consequences, experts said in e-mail interviews.

“Google Plus is clearly designed to give people better control over their privacy with respect to their family, co-workers and friends, … “ [Peter Eckersley, a senior staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation] said.

By showing its cards early with a limited release, Google risks tipping off competitors, primarily Facebook, to the features that it hopes will give Google+ a competitive edge. In fact, already Facebook has responded to Google+’s multi-person video chat feature with a similar — albeit more limited — capability to offer one-on-one video chat through a partnership with Skype.

I signed up to get Project updates released by Google. Maybe it’s just me, but I would love a user-friendly, intuitive alternative to Facebook. I may be alone since everybody I know who does social networking uses Facebook, but this wouldn’t be the first time I was out in left field.

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What Is Google Hiding From You?

Yesterday I posted that the last public school literacy program has been cut by lack of funding from USDOE. Information literacy is more important than ever, not only on its own merit, but it is even more critical that young people learn to evaluate and weigh information sources when we understand that Internet search engine algorithms are determining what we access. Your content is being filtered!

Eli Pariser is Executive Director of MoveOn.org, and author of a just released book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You.

Amazon.com Review
Author Q&A with Eli Pariser

Q: What is a “Filter Bubble”?
A: We’re used to thinking of the Internet like an enormous library, with services like Google providing a universal map. But that’s no longer really the case. Sites from Google and Facebook to Yahoo News and the New York Times are now increasingly personalized – based on your web history, they filter information to show you the stuff they think you want to see. That can be very different from what everyone else sees – or from what we need to see.

Your filter bubble is this unique, personal universe of information created just for you by this array of personalizing filters. It’s invisible and it’s becoming more and more difficult to escape.

A good nine minute video summary can be found on TED at Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”.

Do you think you’re getting the best results from your Internet searches because you’re a librarian?


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Another Look Into Your Future

In case you have not heard of TED – Technology, Entertainment and Design – it is the rapidly growing forum for all things innovative and cutting edge, not just in technology.

As these selected presentations demonstrate, our world is changing irreversibly and rapidly in many areas that affect us as human beings, as well as library professionals. Hopefully, these selections will reemphasize the dramatic impact change is having on our library environment.

At TEDGlobal2009, Eric Giler, CEO of MIT-inspired WiTricity, wants to untangle our wired lives with cable-free electric power. In this presentation, he shows what this sci-fi tech offers, and demonstrates MIT’s breakthrough version, WiTricity – a near-to-market invention that may soon recharge your cell phone, car, pacemaker.

“[Y]ou start out with electricity, turn it into magnetic field, take that magnetic field, turn it back into electricity.” You may never plug in again. (If you want to skip the technical electric transfer part, go to the demonstration at 6min 30sec.)

Here’s a demonstration of the technology from University of Florida.

Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist who studies the symbiotic interactions between humans and machines, presented We are all cyborgs now at the TEDWomen Conference in December 2010, making her case for the fact that we are fundamentally different now due to adoption of communications technology.

… in the beginning, for thousands and thousands of years, everything has been a physical modification of self. It has helped us to extend our physical selves, go faster, hit things harder, and there’s been a limit on that. But now what we’re looking at is not an extension of the physical self, but an extension of the mental self. And because of that, we’re able to travel faster, communicate differently. And the other thing that happens is that we’re all carrying around little Mary Poppins technology. We can put anything we want into it, and it doesn’t get heavier, and then we can take anything out. What does the inside of your computer actually look like?

Well, if you print it out, it looks like a thousand pounds of material that you’re carrying around all the time. And if you actually lose that information, it means that you suddenly have this loss in your mind, that you suddenly feel like something’s missing, except you aren’t able to see it, so it feels like a very strange emotion.

The other thing that happens is you have a second self. Whether you like it or not, you’re starting to show up online, and people are interacting with your second self when you’re not there.

The most successful technology gets out of the way and helps us live our lives. And really, it ends up being more human than technology, because we’re co-creating each other all the time. And so this is the important point that I like to study: that things are beautiful, that it’s still a human connection; it’s just done in a different way. We’re just increasing our humanness and our ability to connect with each other, regardless of geography. So that’s why I study cyborg anthropology.

Anthony Atala’s lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine makes human organs and tissue. At his presentation Growing New Organs at TEDMED in October 2009, he demonstrated a machine that “prints” human tissue.

We started implanting some of these structures over 14 years ago. So, we have patients now walking around with organs, engineered organs, for over 10 years, as well. I’m going to show a clip of one young lady. She had a spina bifida defect, a spinal cord abnormality. She did not have a normal bladder. [16:54]

At the TED@MotorCity 2011 Conference, Lisa Gansky, author of “The Mesh,” talks about a future of business that’s about sharing all kinds of stuff, either via smart and tech-enabled rental or, more boldly, peer-to-peer. Examples across industries – from music to cars – show how close we are to this meshy future.
The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing.

I’m speaking to you about what I call the “mesh”. It’s essentially a fundamental shift in our relationship with stuff, with the things in our lives. And it’s starting to look at – not always and not for everything – but in certain moments of time access to certain kinds of goods and service will trump ownership of them.

First, they really understood that a brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.

The opportunity and the challenge with mesh businesses – and those are businesses like Zipcar or Netflix that are full mesh businesses, … – is to make sharing irresistible.”
“We’re at the very beginning of something that, what we’re seeing and the way that mesh companies are coming forward, is inviting, it’s engaging, but it’s very early. I have a website, it’s a directory, and it started with about 1,200 companies, and in the last two and a half months it’s up to about 3,300 companies. And it grows on a very regular daily basis.

I encourage you to browse TED’s resources and find those innovation presentations of more interest to you personally. Let us know what you found that has an impact on our profession as librarians of the future.

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Social Networking Takes Hollywood

Well, not quite. Mashable called “The Social Network” Oscar award wins ‘disappointing’, but it did win three of the eight Oscars for which it was nominated – nominations that included Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. “Fincher’s movie, a fictionalized account of the rise of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, still won three Oscars. Writer Aaron Sorkin, also known for West Wing and A Few Good Men, won Best Adapted Screenplay (it was based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires”), while Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor won Best Original Score for the movie’s haunting music. The movie also won an award for Best Film Editing.”

Point being – social networking has taken a main stream role in our society. Ceremonies Co-Host James Franco came on stage flashing his smartphone, verifying as promised that he would be Tweeting during the awards ceremony. When social networking comes to big time Hollywood “entertainment”, you know it has arrived in the main stream of our culture.

I’ve commented on TV sit-coms using iPad as the “must have” gift, and youth texting being a topic as well. But, this past weekend I was catching up on recorded episodes of Gray’s Anatomy, and one episode especially caught my imagination (February 3 episode Don’t Deceive Me (Please Don’t Go)). It dealt with the advantages of using Twitter in the workplace – in the hospital OR actually.

OK, like the Chief of Surgery, one might think Twitter would be intrusive and totally out of place in an operating room setting. But, the writers presented a scenario that made its use not only appropriate, but highly beneficial. The result was that those “observing” the surgery were able to offer useful information – one even offered life saving assistance.

Now that’s the kind of technology use we like to see. And, you say ‘That’s just Hollywood entertainment.Surgeons send ‘tweets’ from operating room happened two years ago. Seven months later CBS reported in “Twitter Opens a Door to Operating Room” that “Twitter is opening doors to the sterile confines of operating rooms, paving the way for families – and anyone else for that matter – to follow a patient’s progress as they go under the knife.”

Is it possible that the use of Twitter in a library workplace could save lives? Who knows, but it is certain that Twitter and other social networking can change lives, change the way librarians do business, and change how customers perceive the library. It is up to us librarians to figure out how to use social networking to our benefit and that of our customers.


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