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Continuing the Conversation: Social Software and the Library, Session 1

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on December 1, 2010 - 3:26pm

Earlier today, Robin Hastings and David Lee King held the first session of their ALA TechSource Workshop Facebook, Twitter and More: Using Social Software in the Library. The following are some of the questions asked during the session. Robin and David will be chiming in via comments, and you can as well.

  • What kind of training is involved in getting staff to use meebo and other chat-based tools? How much time do you think a library needs to commit?
  • Can you share some samples of policy statements for posting on Facebook, blogs, etc?
  • Can you share some ideas for getting people to participate in, rather than just looking at, your Facebook activity

Preliminary Reading Material

This was the preliminary reading material for the event, though it will certainly still be helpful after the event as well.

Robin Hastings, Collaboration 2.0: Chapters 5 and 6, Library Technology Reports, (45:4) May/June 2009

Kate Sheehan, Keeping up with Keeping Up, ALA TechSource Blog, August 3, 2010:

Darlene Fitcher, Seven Strategies for Marketing in a Web 2.0 World, Marketing Library Services, (21:2) March/April 2007

Brian McManus, The Implications of Web 2.0 for Academic Libraries, Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, (10:3) Winter 2009


Links to sites mentioned on the slides and in the discussion:  

Robin’s Slides are available at:

Her collaboration tools worksheet is available at:

And her marketing metrics worksheet is available at:

Comments (3)

There was a discussion

There was a discussion tonight on Twitter about Wordpress category feeds and how to get them from your blog to send targeted information to a social network (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). There is a category URL that you can use ( - from the Wordpress Codex at to feed into the social networks that you want. This will take all category 42 (whatever that may be) categorized posts and pipe them, and only them, into your other social network. Let me know here if you all have any other questions about that!

Here's my take on those three

Here's my take on those three questions:

2 and 3 I'll try to cover in next week's webinar.

For #1: "What kind of training is involved in getting staff to use meebo and other chat-based tools? How much time do you think a library needs to commit?"

Meebo is extremely easy to use - you need a username and password, and have to be able to type in a box and press a send button - anyone who can use Word, Excel, or email already has the skills required to use Meebo.

So as far as training goes - at my library, we held maybe a 1 hour training session, then went live with it the next day. The harder part of Meebo is figuring out the logistics of who will answer those questions - at the reference desk, someone off-desk, another department, etc.

I'll leave the meebo

I'll leave the meebo questions for David, since he's used it, but I can tackle the Facebook stuff - though I'm sure he'll have something to say about it as well!

We have a very short Facebook comment policy on our Info tab on the MRRL FB page -!/pages/Jefferson-City-MO/Missouri-River-Regional-Library/110130657103?v=info - that welcomes comments, but puts limits on what can be said (off topic posts, spammy or vulgar posts, uncivil posts). This is the same basic policy that we use across our various social networks. I know there are a lot of examples of other policies that are in use out there, too - hopefully others will comment here to share theirs.

As for encouraging involvement in Facebook, we get pretty good responses when we ask direct questions that specifically ask for a response. I know David has posted about this very topic in the past on his blog and he recommends the same thing - ask and you may be surprised at how many responses you get. The other thing that I try to remember is that many people are not quite comfortable with this whole "online" thing and they may be reading my content, but not yet interacting with it. That's ok, but it will mean that you don't get nearly as many responses as you might wish sometimes. Mainly, I try to remember to post as a human occasionally. I like repurposing content on the FB wall, but if that's all I do, there is no incentive for people to respond. Even making comments about the weather will get responses! Once people are used to you asking questions and see others responding, they will become more willing to respond. If you aren't getting *anything*, you may want to cheat and get your staff to respond occasionally - that may prime the pump!!