Category Archives: Things on a Stick

>Thing #56 – Linked In (recap)

>I am guilty of being one of those people that started a Linked In account, because someone told me I should and then I ignored it because I didn’t know what to do with it.

Well, now that I revisited my account, updated it, and joined a few groups, my opinion of it has done a 360.

What can I say, I love Linked In.

I’m still not in the business of looking for a new career, but if I were, this would be where I would go. It was the groups that changed my mind. I found some groups to join that matched my interest and have joined in a few discussions. Already I have learned some new things that I want to try for my library. I’ve always wanted to beef up our YouTube channel, now I’m in contact with people who have experience in that and are sharing their knowledge with me. Excellent! I’m in contact with other people that use social media in different ways to advocate their non-profit organizations. Awesome! When I have a little more time I’m going to find some graphic design groups to join, maybe there are some specifically for non-profits or libraries!
If you haven’t given Linked In a chance yet, I highly recommend that you do. And don’t just create the account and ignore it like I did. Use it, learn from it, make new friends, get and give advice, share knowledge, etc. That’s what it’s for!

>Thing #56 – Linked In

>My LinkedIn account has been pretty much stagnant since I set it up a long time ago because I didn’t really know what to do with it. Sure, I can connect with other professionals and share my resume, get recommendations, etc. But I am perfectly happy at my current position so thought, why would I want to do this? I’m not looking for a job. Besides, the only people on Linked In that I know are a small handful of my colleagues whose profiles are as plain and boring as mine. The people who I would call for a recommendation – my supervisor or boss, do not have Linked in accounts (as far as I know), so, even if I wanted to get recommended, I couldn’t unless I asked them to join Linked In too.

After reading Thing #56 I updated my account by adding a previous position and inviting three more people to be part of my network. I currently only have 5 people in my network. whoooo, impressive.

I decided to join some groups, that might jazz up my account a little. So, after what seemed like forever, I finally found three groups that I would fit into. I’m waiting to be accepted into the elite groups of my choice for Library Technology and Social Media for non profits. Another group for Social Media for non-profits accepted me right away so I started looking at the discussion pages.

There were discussions about getting your non-profit started with facebook and twitter. How to take advantage of applications to supplement your social media accounts. Hmmmm, this is interesting stuff. There were a couple of discussions I wanted to jump in on but noticed I didn’t have a profile photo and didn’t want to be one of those people, you know who they are. But time is short and I don’t have time to find and upload an appropriate photo of me – I don’t think my yahoo avatar will work for that if I want people to take me seriously. Time to grow up a little.

As soon as I am accepted into the other two groups, I’ll upload a photo of me and start giving LinkedIn more of a chance than I had been giving it. I recognize the potential of this and want to tap in on it.

>Thing # 55 – Google vs. Bing

>Humphf, I almost didn’t want to do this Thing because I tried Bing when it first came out and wasn’t too impressed with it. But, in the spirit of trying new things, I’ll give it another shot.

First test: Search Engine’s Home Page
They both have easy links for images, news, maps, etc. Both have large search field where its obvious to type in a search.

Google: I like the plain simplicity of their home page, I know you can select themes through settings but I prefer to leave it as generic as possible. I don’t like all the “pretty” stuff getting in the way of my searches.

Bing: Oooh, pretty picture with hot spots on it that give you information about the photo. Um, I just want to search, I’m easily distracted as it is, I don’t want all that extra stuff.

One point for Google on this one for being simple and less distracting.

Second test: Looking up “Rochester Public Library”
Google: Since it’s what I use all the time, I only had to type in R- and Rochester Public Library came up as a suggestion. And it was the correct one too, not the other Rochesters in the world.

Bing: I had to type in “Rochester P” before Rochester Public Library was offered and even though Rochester, MN was selected as my location, it pulled up Rochester New York as a first option.

Another point for Google

Third test: search results

Again the search was Rochester Public Library
Google: About 1,170,000 results (0.35 seconds)
Bing: 12,800,000 results
With all those results, both search engines had what I was looking for on the first page. Google had it the first entry, Bing had it the second entry. I do like the way Bing has the instant preview of the page before you open it. Would be handy on questionable pages.

I have to give the point to Bing on this one.

Fourth test: Maps
I love maps, always been fascinated with them and could lose huge chunks of time just exploring them. Here is where I get easily distracted.

Google: I love Google maps and Google Earth. I have them on my Droid too and it’s just really cool – when the GPS is working correctly – to watch yourself move around on the map.

Bing: I like the Bird’s Eye view option. It shows a slightly different point of view than Google does. My only gripe on that is that it only shows small sections at a time and takes time to load the next views.

I’ll give both of them points for their maps. They are different enough so that I can’t really compare them.

Fifth test: Images
Again, Rochester Public Library was the search words.
Google: About 485,000 results (0.23 seconds)
Bing: 9,150 results

Both had a mishmash of photos, most of which were not my library, but then again, both showed actual photos of my library on the first page. I like how you can narrow your search for size and type of image with both search engines. I like the way Google has the option to show the actual size on each image and how it enlarges the image a little bit when you hover over it. Bing shows the size of the image when you hover over it but does not enlarge it. Bing does have other options to narrow down your search by layout and by people.

Again, they had enough different features that both scored points.

Sixth test: News
Search – Rochester Public Library
Google: About 116 results (0.31 seconds)
Bing: 43 results
I was impressed that Bing had the latest news article where the library was on the local news and Google didn’t!
Bing had 4 out of 10 articles on the first page that pertained to my library.
Google also had 4 out of 10 on the first page but strangely enough, three of the four were different articles. This is an eye opener. It seems I would have to search for news with both if it weren’t for the fact that I have Google alerts set for Rochester Public Library and I was already alerted to all of the news that both were showing.
I think neither gets a point for that. Bing had the latest news, but Google alerts covered with Google news didn’t.But I have to give one of them a point… Hmmm. Ok, I’ll give the point to Bing on this one because if I didn’t have my alerts set, I wouldn’t have caught the latest news.

Ok, I’m tired of all the comparing, I know I didn’t do an exhaustive study on this, but time is limited and I do have better things to do at the moment so, let’s summarize the results…

Google = 4
Bing = 4

It’s a tie. They both do wonderful things – it just depends on what you’re looking for and what you’re comfortable with. I’ll probably stick with Google but won’t be so hard on Bing anymore.

>Thing #54 – Hyperlocal Sites

>I was going to stop at Thing #53 today and get some other work done, but we were notified that our server was running out of space so I’ve been archiving lots of photos just to give the servers a little more breathing room. And while I was at it, I decided to clean my own hard drive off since it’s loaded down with videos from our new flip cam! While my computer is burning discs it doesn’t really like to do any graphic design work so I thought I’d continue with the Things while the discs were burning.

On to the wonderful world of Hyperlocal Sites. Ooooh.

I read the Thing #54 – Hyperlocal Sites blog entry from 23 Things and thought, well, they probably don’t list anything from my city so why would I be interested? (I’m always skeptical at first but I always at least try it.)

First thing, I like that they let you look at them without creating an account. I have so many social network accounts right now it’s not even funny.

I explored Charlotte, NC on Everyblock. I was impressed with all that they had available for this. I only wish they had more cities. I wonder how long it will take for our city to make it on this. I was impressed that it showed you current photos taken, news articles, police reports, real estate, and even what’s new at the local library! The layout was easy to understand and navigate and the little map feature was pretty cool too. The red dots on the map showed local stories, you just click on the dot and it gives you a short blurb about what happened at that location. They even have neighborhood announcements like block parties, lost pets, things for sale, etc.

Over all,I was pretty impressed with Everyblock, but until they get something that’s a little more local to me I don’t think I’ll use it. I will have to remember this if I ever plan on going to any of these places though, that would be handy to find out what’s going on before we get there.

I tried Patch.com and wasn’t as impressed with it – the layout wasn’t as easy or attractive as Everyblock – yes, I’m a website snob – so I didn’t spend too much time with Patch. Plus, they didn’t have anything local to me either.

I breezed through Outside in when I noticed that the feeds for our area just came from our local newspaper – I get that through my RSS so wasn’t anything new there.

Placeblogger may be helpful if I’m planning on going somewhere – like Everyblock – to explore the area a little before I get there. But again, they didn’t have anything local for me.

The Examiner – I didn’t like the look of it so didn’t even explore it very much. It was too crowded with information it was hard to navigate.

American Towns.com did have my local area and listed local bloggers and tweeters. This was pretty cool! I noticed that our Friends Bookstore blog wasn’t listed so I emailed them and asked for that blog to be listed on that site. I’ll let you know what happens with that. They also listed some local events – including some that are happening at the library! I didn’t put them there so they must take the information from some other source! Which is great as long as the information is correct. I’ll look more into that tomorrow.

Overall rating of Hyperlocal Sites: Interesting, but not on my “Have to Have” list.

>Thing #53 – Location Based Social Networks

>I can’t believe I’ve fallen so far behind on the “Things on a Stick.” I haven’t posted about any THING since March. But it’s not like I didn’t have anything else to do! Work and life have been extremely hectic lately. More on that later – but now it’s time for one of the “things.”

Location-based Social networks… I admit, at first I was a little creeped out about this. I mean, what a great tool for a stalker or a burglar! Any burglar could make some friends on Foursquare and find out when they’re not home… nothing like making it simple.

But after I created my Foursquare account, I realized that you can hide your whereabouts. Or even check in when you’re leaving a place instead of just arriving. Just like any social network you can set the privacy settings to match your comfort level.

After playing in the Foursquare world for a bit and reading a virtual ton of articles on how businesses are using it for marketing purposes, I wondered if we could use it in the library. We could have a special prize or something for the Mayor of the library. But then when looking at who the Mayor was – it turned out to be someone on staff so that wouldn’t work. Even after I told that particular staff person what I was planning, he stopped checking in at the library and gave up his mayorship – only to have another staff member take the role. Realizing that we didn’t have much planned for this, I gave up trying to use Foursquare to promote the library other than putting up tips now and then for a special event that is coming up.

I allowed my Foursquare app on my blackberry to get outdated because I didn’t really think it was that much fun. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time to check in where ever I go? Maybe because I lack the ambition to make the time? Or Maybe it’s because I really don’t care to let people know where I am. Even on Twitter and facebook, I rarely give any indication of where I’m at.

My rating of Foursquare: Meh
But that’s just me.

In light of this, I didn’t even try Brightkite.

>Twapper Keeper

>I just found another cool twitter tool… Twapper Keeper.

This site pulls all the tweets that contain a certain hashtag, keyword or a person and puts them all together into a list, called a notebook, for you. I noticed that @rudibrarin made one from the #libtech2010 conference.

I tried to make a notebook with that hashtag but mine didn’t work. I guess you’re not supposed to put the # in when it asks you what you want. When mine came up, it showed ## so didn’t pull up any tweets. I couldn’t find where to delete that one either so it’s just sitting there with 0 tweets and my twitter name next to it. I noticed that someone tried to get the notebook and noticed it didn’t have any tweets in it.

Great, a non-deletable public fail!

My apologies to anyone who tried that notebook only to find nothing. I’ll try to make another notebook with Twapperkeeper later, after I recover from my humiliation.

Here’s a great Twitter cheat sheetcreated by @bananasuit.

>Library Technology Conference 2010

>I learned a lot from this conference, even though I didn’t attend it.

Thank you to everyone that was twittering while at that conference using #libtech2010.

Some of the things that I’m going to check out as a result of “hearing” about them from the twitter feed.

Hootsuite: I already checked this out and really like the potential. I love the fact that you can schedule your tweets and see your followers/friends and how many followers/friends each one has. I tried to send a few tweets with it, but for some reason it wouldn’t work. I had to revert back to Tweetdeck to do that. Just a bug? I don’t know. I also like that Hootsuite wasn’t a download where Tweetdeck was. Sometimes I’m not too sure about downloading stuff from the internet.

Fences: Speaking of downloading stuff from the internet. I want to try Fences because it looks like a great way to keep the desktop organized and so I can see my awesome wallpaper better. But when I get to the download page there are all sorts of disclaimers that it’s save to down load, no spyware, no adware, etc… for some reason that made me nervous. I haven’t downloaded it yet. Still thinking about that one.

Friendwheel: interesting but not too excited about it. Not too sure what it really does.

Atomkeep: something to keep all social networking accounts in one place. I will probably check this one out later. I don’t feel overwhelmed with my accounts – yet.

Scratch: This looks very fun and will probably show my kids this one. It’s a site that allows you to make little animated clips.

Prezi: Awesome way to do presentations to get away from death by powerpoint. Will look into this one for sure.

Pachyderm: another presentation tool. I don’t know what this one does but will check it out when time allows.

Google Wave:
I’m waiting patiently for my invitation…

Second Life:
I tried this the first time during the 23 Things and thought it was very cool and could see potential in it but it really creeped me out and don’t think I’ll ever use it.

Other things I learned:
One of the speakers sounded like Carl Sagan.
Someone was spotted wearing an argyle sweater.
There were plenty of bagels in the morning.