Monday, February 28, 2011
I've had a Twitter account for a couple of years now and have loved using it. It has become an effective way for me too keep up with some of my family members and friends, while also becoming a source of news and information. For news and information I read or scan the tweets like I would the headlines of a newspaper or a national news website.
Besides my personal use of Twitter, it has significant applications for libraries. This is especially true for the immediate and distant future and libraries will need to become experts in lifestreaming technologies in order to maintain their relevancy within their respective communities. In order to unlock the potential of the Twitter libraries only need initially use it for advertising their services and events. The next step for libraries is to use it to 'connect' with their patrons by interacting with them. This interaction will establish a library's sphere of influence within the lifestreaming realm and within the attention of patrons using Twitter-like technologies.
A couple of blogs and wikis that mention using Twitter and similar technologies for 'connecting' with patrons and extending the libraries' services via these trending mediums are Twittering Libraries, How Your Library May Not be Using Twitter But Should, and Twitter Update and how I was able to exploit the latest social networking site without really trying. All of these posts have wonderful, ingenious suggestions on how to use Twitter and and RSS to further a library's reach and stay relevant to their patrons.
One of my favorites is creating a blog devoted to aggregating RSS feeds and Twitter posts by the library. This way patrons only need to subscribe to the library's blog with their RSS aggregator and the library filters the content for them. This would undoubtedly cut back on the amount of maintenance needed for the blog and tweeting new content only takes minutes, the process is automated. Another great idea was to create a library Flickr account to be tied to Twitter so a library could tweet events happening at that time with text and images.
Twitter and technologies like, not to mention all the third party applications that have been developed to enhance Twitters usefulness and experience are here to stay. As one blogger has written, I cannot think of their name now, the 'stream' is the next layer of the Web, the third layer and it is in its infancy. This new layer will bring new innovations and more opportunities for libraries to extend their services and relevancy. The ride should be interesting, ... hang on!
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Recently, I had the chance to briefly talk to the Director of Library Systems at WSU Libraries, where I work, about how WSU Libraries use RSS feeds. We were both sitting in the same supervisory training session and he was able to show me on his smart phone. Not surprisingly, I had been using RSS feeds every time I loaded the library’s web page or used its vast collection of Libguides and had not realized it. The director mentioned that his department also used RSS within the Washington Digital Archives of the Washington State Library system for monitoring the archive’s most recent additions and other system updates. We did not get to discuss the topic much more, since our training was starting soon, however it did manage to pique my interests more than they already were.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
As we have seen through this week’s readings and exercise, personal branding it extremely important for individuals who want to maintain their positive ‘brand’ online. Your identity online is not only the content that your posts, it is also what others who have either interacted with you or your organization have also posted online.
In order to maintain your brand, an individual needs to have a clear idea of how to maintain and manage their brand online using social media. This idea should include what social media or mixture of media technologies will be used and the amount of personal information the individual is willing to share or what specifically the focus of their online brand will be.
As a future librarian, I think that focusing in on professional issues and leaving out most of my personal information would be the best approach. This week’s readings made me think about what kind of personal brand I am portraying online and how I could better engage it and anyone interested in it. Creating a blog would be a great start, I could create posts that are important to me professionally and that will allow me to further research those topics, link to them, and strengthen my brand. Also, creating a profile on Google, as discussed in the readings, would be an extremely easy way to manage the information that is available about me on Google, at least within the first couple of search results. Even more, creating a twitter account and linking to it from my blog will be another great outlet to manage my online brand.
Also, using Twitter, Facebook, and some of the other social media monitoring sites to monitor my personal brand online will help me find and resolve any negative content related to me. This could be the key to finding a job once I graduate from library school, especially if a prospective employer finds content about me that impresses them.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
People absolutely love Costco, they could not have better things to say about the national warehouse retailer. Here are some positive posts from twitter:
"Costco is soo cool, It's like USA in a building :D"
"You probably have other way cool stuff that we don't get. We love Costco. It's a fun place!"
However, there are some customers that don’t hold the retailer in high regard according to their Twitter posts:
“I feel fatter and dumber just for walking into Costco.”
"Costco is always fun. I do like samples"
The retailer has mixed reviews on Twitter, from what I saw it was mostly positive.
Interestingly, Costco does not maintain an official Twitter page. There is an unofficial page, Costco_online, which reminds its followers by tweeting that it is not the official feed for the company. However, this feed does boast 5,943 followers.
Costco also has an official Facebook profile. It has a welcome page and others that really add great content and create a positive and inviting atmosphere on the company’s profile. Besides the welcome page, the profile has a wall, info, what’s new, new offers, and terms & use policy page. The terms & policy page is interesting because this is where the retailer solicits feedback, stating that they welcome positive and negative feedback, will adhere to copyright law, and there is a section for Costco employees that would like to post to the profile.
The posts to their FB profile page wall are mostly compliments and thank-you’s from their customers, with a few exceptions. This is the bulk of their social media presence, an official FB profile and multiple un-official Twitter feeds.
In addition to browsing the social media tools I am already familiar with, I used Social Mention to gain a greater understanding of how Costco could at the very least monitor what is being posted to the internet about the company. Mostly there are pictures of people showing which free samples they received while shopping and others have posted their opinions of the products they purchased. Many posts are positive and some are negative. I also used Google Blog Search to see what people were saying about the company. I found many blogs related their products, such as the Costco Wine Blog and the I Love Costco blog. Both are unofficial and have a positive perception of the company.
Costco’s response via social media to user base
Unfortunately, the company does not seem to be actively engaging their customers or users through social media. The extent of their interaction is to allow customers, those that are FB members, to post to their profile wall, but not respond to them. Since it is Superbowl weekend, the company FB status update says, “Hey Sports Fans: how does Costco get your Game Day party started?” Also, the company does not use social media on their own Web site.
I am stunned, to say the least, that Costco doesn’t have a more robust social media strategy. This is because from all indications they have a huge support base to draw from. As we have all seen/read this week, there is much to be gained from using social media to help maintain a company’s brand. Moreover, social media is certainly an efficient way to help quell negative information about the company and develop better customer service and customer satisfaction.
The tools used by Costco for proactive communication
Although there are many social media tools out there, Costco is not proactively communicating with their user base or customers. There apparently is not even an official blog maintained by the company or any of its employees. As can be seen in the Balwani article, 10 of the Smartest Brands in Social Media, it benefits companies greatly to sell their products and interact with their customers by taking full advantage of social media. Costco could learn a great deal from reading this article, paying close attention to number three, soliciting ideas directly from their customer base, and number ten, creating a social media strategy that could greatly increase revenues.
The learning process
I learned much more than I thought I would during this exercise and throughout the readings this week. I found the readings regarding online social reputation and branding enlightening and informative. Browsing and using a few of the brand monitoring services was hugely exciting, since using them is unlike using a regular search engine. They are specifically for monitoring your ‘brand’ and are powerful tools for individuals and companies.
Most importantly, I learned this week monitoring your brand online is important to a company future. Many of the articles provided graphic examples of how not implementing a degree of corporate transparency and engaging your customers can have negative consequences to company’s social reputation and overall their brand.
While I was reading I could not help but think about what content has been posted about my employer or me as an individual. I was forced to think about how corporations perceive themselves, to what degree they proactively communicate to the online community, and how it engages the online community in order to maintain what they feel is their intended identity or brand. Even if the company is not actively using social media to monitor or promote their identity or brand they are still affected by the content posted by other using social media. The rest of the online community can still post content that will affect the company’s standing in the minds of current and potential customers. So whether the company’s overall revenue is affected positively or negatively by the online social content that the company is not aware of, they will still have to change and evolve. It is better for a company to be an active participant in shaping the content online regarding their company by using a social media strategy.