Survey for NZ librarians on social media and identity

Brenda Chawner and Timothy Greig, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, are running a survey on the use of social media by New Zealand librarians – particularly as it relates to online identity. You can access the survey here.  The following is the information provided about the survey from that site:

Social media services are web-based tools that allow people to share information in a variety of formats, and to connect with each other in multiple ways, including one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many. Examples of social media include blogs, wikis, microblogs, social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, and content-sharing sites such as Flickr and YouTube.

This survey is designed to find out which social media services are being used by members of the New Zealand library and information management professions, the extent to which they are used for work-related purposes, how respondents manage their online identities, and the benefits and drawbacks associated with the use of these services.

Twitter and your web strategy

Continuing along the theme of social networking applications and strategy planning –  there is a great blog post by Jeremiah Owyang about Twitter and how it might fit into your web strategy – this was posted in 2007 and with all the current interest in Twitter would definitely be worth a read. In his post Jeremiah links to another blog entry of his about measuring the impact of your social networking initiatives. A useful contribution to the tricky question of metrics in relation to non-financial marketing efforts. 

Thanks to  Joann Ransom who featured the link to the Twitter post on her Library Matters blog 🙂

Web2.0 and technology strategy planning – it’s all about the customer

On Wednesday I went to a workshop technology strategy planning workshop – organised by LIANZA and presented by Richard Hulser. This would be a very useful course for those writing a technology strategy – either those who hadn’t done one before, or those wanting a refresher on what a good model would be. Sometimes courses like this don’t tell you anything new, but they the remind you/clarify your own thinking/confirm what you already know. It would have been useful in that context for me in previous jobs I’ve had, not so much the one I have now.

 I was probably expecting a bit more of web 2.0 focus – and although this was mentioned it really wasn’t the central focus of this workshop. Having said that the workshop did remind me that while there is a lot of appeal in leaping in and giving things a go (particularly to help you learn about something), when it comes to utilising social networking technologies in customer services, this is probably better done in response to meeting a customer need/identified service delivery requirement, in the context of the overall organisational strategy.

The key thing for me is how we assess those needs. I think librarians still have a way to go to get good at this – we need to get better at  at gathering information about our customer needs, and analysing the information we already gather via surveys, feedback forms etc. 

 Further to this – Why Web2.0 projects fail

 As I have typed up my report for work I came across a very interesting blog post by Meredith Farkas who talks about why 2.0 initiatives fail – which gives some good food for thought about what you need to consider to make them succeed. 

I’ve summarised some points here, as they are quite relevant to technology strategy planning as it relates to web2.0:

  •  social software implementations need to be tied to institutional goals – the library’s strategic plan
  •  web2.0 technologies need to be planned for in a strategic way
  •  first need to understand the needs of your population (patrons or staff) and then implement whatever technology and/or service will best meet those needs
  •  need to have clear goals in mind from the outset so that you can later assess if its successful or not
  •  social software can be a pet project for an individual staff member, it is important that cross-training takes place so that if that person leaves or gets too busy, the initiative continues
  •  web2.0 technologies are easy to start but keeping them going takes time and effort. You need to plan how you will maintain the technology e.g. adding content, updating the software. “Libraries need to plan for the implementation and continued maintenance of 2.0 tech in the same way they plan for the technologies they pay a small fortune for.”
  •  Library staff can end up abandoning web2.0 projects because they aren’t given enough time to work on then
  •  Before a project is abandoned try to figure out why it didn’t have the impact hoped for – is more promotion needed, are there barriers to usage (difficult to make comments, add content etc), are staff comfortable with the technology, has training been offered
  • Just because a web2.0 technology isn’t a good fit now, doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future (worth remembering!)

Social networking sites more popular than email?

They are in Australia according to a report today: 

SOCIAL networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are now more popular than personal email with Australians spending one in every 10 minutes online inside their “virtual homes”, research shows.

And it is not just young internet users who are behind the trend.

The biggest surge in social networking was among 35 to 49-year-olds, while almost a quarter of Facebook users were over the age of 50.

Nielsen Online’s Global Faces and Networked Places report, released yesterday, found the use of social networking and blogging sites in Australia jumped 4.9 per cent last year.

It would be interesting to see if there is a similar trend in New Zealand. Certainly from my own viewpoint I am communicating with most of my friends and family far more via Facebook than via email these days.