Archive for the 'facebook' Category

When I write, talk about and present on social tools, media distribution and library futures I ALWAYS talk about functionality. Brand names are important but *functionality* is what really matters. It has always been my strong opinion that LIBRARIES need to be creating the spaces where people interact with each other the way they do on facebook/Twitter etc. Why?

Facebook, and a dozen other for profit orgs, reaches too deeply into our REAL lives and connections to be held responsible to business principles/concerns only. Meanwhile, library orgs understand community and the deeper issues of privacy and democracy more than any company tasked with making profit ever could. But quite frankly, we (the entire library industry) generally stink at software development. Happily though, for thoughtful (and talented) software development companies, library folks get privacy and the sacred trust of protecting information (and therefore democracy at large) in ways that would escape most any other professional. The understanding libraries have here is built into our mission statements and policies. These aren’t vague promises or “statements” to “not be evil” that have no teeth when it comes to how we operate in our communities. No, these policies and practices demonstrate understanding of and commitment to protecting privacy all the while focusing on developing communities for the benefit of the community at large. Once a company like facebook get the critical mass it has now, this sort of consideration must be part of its operational intent. If not, there will be dire consequences for our society.

So will we make the next sea change as an industry or will we get cast about by the whims of info fads, social buzz, and shiny tools…at the cost of our core democratic principles? Or, just maybe, can we find a work together for the betterment of all involved…

And to Twitter, facebook, etc, I would personally challenge you to approach us, and work with us. Step up and be more than a business. You have a powerful impact and your promise is inspiring…in much the same way libraries are inspiring (after all we are both all about information and community, aren’t we?). In many ways you already are fulfilling your promise, but you are treading on dangerous ground for society at large if you don’t guard information based on a higher set of principles than business success. We want to work with you, honestly. Please get in touch with us. Heck, start with me here! I can get a slew of us together to help you and we’ll all be better organizations for it.

http://www.facebook.com/libraryman

Yeah, buddy! Here’s to facebook username URL’s! As of this Friday night! W00t! Hey fb, what took you so long?

Libraryman

A Tricky Facebook Background

Admittedly this post is more for geeks who like to jazz up their facebook profiles and can also do a little photo editing. Even if that isn’t you it might be mildly amusing to see. :) Usually your profile image on facebook fills a little box that sort of floats there in the upper left corner of your profile. But with a little photo editing you can make a pretty spiffy “floaty” profile image. You don’t have to do the first step yourself because you can use this image for your background (be sure to click on it to get the largest size for your background):
fb empty background
The next part takes a little bit of experience photo editing but it really isn’t too hard. What you need to do is layer a picture over the background above. It will look like this after you have completed the layering:
second image layered on transparent backgound for fb
Then you just upload that pic as your profile image on facebook. On your profile page you’ll look all floaty:
floaty facebook profile image
People will say “Oh wow! That’s cool!” Or not. Either way, you can do it yourself if you really want to. If not, you know, thats totally cool too. :)
Thanks to Katie for having this on her profile. Such a neat idea!

It is slightly freaky that six years ago there was a post here about another scary bug floating in the air, eh? My advice? Between chicken club sandwiches and checking cnn for panicky hybrid bird/swine flu updates, why not take a moment and just have some good ole’ geek fun and change your facebook interface to Pirate? Avast! It be simple, matey!

Here’s what it will (partly) look like after your customization
(Click the pics for access to larger versions):
Pirate facebook Interface

Here is another image with clear instructions on how to make this simple customization:
facebook Pirate Instructions

Your pandemic stress can walk the plan and be well forgotten. Besides, scurvy is worse than swine flu, right?

PS-Check out imeem.com, my latest tech crush, for seemingly endless eternally glorious musical distractions.

—————-
Now playing: Don’t Touch Me (Rock mix)

In doing presentations of the years, I’ve been really lucky to make friends and stay in touch with a few folks out there doing the real work in the libraries I visit. We’ll occasionally exchange emails and ideas and just keep track of each other. Today I got a message on facebook from one of those friends who is now preparing to teach a class in his library that will be somewhat similar to the session I presented to their lib a couple of years ago. How cool is that?! :) At any rate, this person asked if I had any suggestions or topics that are top of mind for me lately that they might be interested in using too. But of course! Here is the email I sent my friend. Maybe you’ll find it interesting too? Or perhaps you might have other/different ideas? We’d love to hear them here if you have any different ones to share!

Oh, and ______, if you want to do a conference presentation like this *with me* some time just say the word, k?

Hey _______,

Always good to hear from you and glad we are keeping in touch as you keep things rolling with your library career. Super cool, man! :)

At the moment, I am especially keen on these things/concept. Not sure if they all fit your class, but they are all sparkly in my brain:

1. Ubiquitous computing
2. Mobile computing (not now but in 10-15 years)
3. Grooveshark.com (and its ilk like imeem.com)
4. freiendfeed as a model for the next iteration of social networking trends (this piggybacks on RSS in a way as I see aggregation being the thing will see this will all come together. I’ve been hollerin’ about aggregation being “it” for years, but until it get wrapped up in the right package it (and isnt called aggregation) it isnt gonna REALLY happen imo.
5. WebJunction, boyeee! lol
6. Acceptance of tools by wider society. It’s like the movies….before there were movies there was more live theater, right? The wider adoption of online tools is a similar sea change…but with serious implications for libraries in relation to:
7. Electronic content distribution and ACCESS. Media companies didn’t want libraries to circulate VHS tapes back in the day, right? Now they are finding and have found some ways (via hulu.com, netflix.com, amazon.com itunes, etc, etc) to effectively cut libraries out of the content distribution model on this “new” intwebs based platform. It is very disturbing and not being talked about or addressed sufficiently by our industry (and its something I hope to work on actually). Again, all my opinions here.

Hope that helps or at least sparks some thoughts. Always great to hear from you.

PS-I’m gonna blog this now. lol! :)”

Libraryman

Public Service Reminder 1: facebook

Oh facebook! You big sillies!

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses.”

I mean, we *knew* this, and we do *trust* them. Riiiight?

built by the people...for FACEBOOK
Read this for more:
http://webtechlaw.com/what-facebooks-revised-terms-use-mean-your-content

And, well, just read this guy too regardless. Sensei Rheingold!
http://www.rheingold.com/

This still is taken from a promotional video about facebook*:
built by the people...for FACEBOOK

REALLY?
Well…maybe not so much.
You see, as things continue to evolve in relation to social networking and information access online, this premise starts to become something startlingly close to propaganda. And it is a premise I am beginning to disagree with more strongly. Why? Simply because facebook is a for-profit company. Their motivation as a business both officially and in practice is to make money. While I am positive there are many lovely people working there that are generous, kind and philanthropically minded, the bottom line is that facebook is a company that is very simply most interested in getting people to use their product; not so they can be useful to society, but so they can make money. And they will use they information they get from you to do just that. With no obligation beyond laws (largely constructed to facilitate money making in business) to guard your privacy. And they are under absolutely no obligation to return anything back to the community. Even if the *say* they are nice and want to do good, they are, in fact not formally bound to taking any actions in this regard.

Now, it is very true that facebook is an amazing service that many of us use, appreciate and are grateful to have access to (myself included). But society needs the opportunity to use these sorts of tools and features in a venue that both understands and guards privacy while at the same time protects information access rather then sells information paths of choice (through ads). An institution that is designed to build up the community it nurtures…you know, like libraries and schools.

And it goes beyond facebook-like tools (for community futures). I would suggest that Google-like tools (for search/basic information discovery) should have the same non-profit, ad-free (for the most part), purely motivated capacity as well for the greatest public benefit.

Problem is, when it comes to the future of libraries, and modern/connected civilization’s access to electronic (and physical) community and information access this is blatantly missing from the too dominant tools in electronic search (arguably, Google) and electronic community building (arguably, facebook). And what is missing is starting to feel more dramatic and chasm-like with each passing month.

Libraries need to continue (and significantly grow) their work as professional guardians of community access to information. This means we (libraries and library professionals) need to be the most highly trained facilitators the world has when it comes to information access, community connections, community interactions, privacy protection and electronic tools. You know, the things at the root of the popularity of tools like facebook and Google. The things libraries have been best at for decades (sans the electronic tools part, which is our only real achilles heel in this scenario).

I wish both information professionals and society at large would really seriously think about this. And then act on it in an organized fashion. College professors, primary school teachers, parents, politicians, students and anyone else concerned about the positive growth of humanity should think about this. The “market” does not always dictate what works best for society and this is an instance that requires larger forces than “the market” to intercede. If that doesn’t happen, because of Google-ish and facebook-like tools, our free, unbiased access to information and community stands at risk. There is a potential crisis brewing here and there are not enough people talking about solutions to this crisis in the context mentioned in this post.

It becomes more clear to me with every passing month: some amalgam of social networking tools (like facebook) and for profit search tools (like Google) should be a non-profit that helps people along in their community and information access journeys. All the while guarding their privacy in ways facebook and Google would never dare. Perhaps opt-in’s for users to accept ads could be built into that system to generate revenue to support the system, but in a less integrated way that didn’t affect workforce in the manner it currently does, particularly on facebook at the moment.

So far, facebook has been thumped on here, but Google is in the same boat. Like almost all of you, I use Google almost every day as well. And I am grateful for Google. But words like “Don’t be evil” as a corporate “Code of Conduct” legally means NOTHING (as opposed to a library’s mission statement and governance structure) If you do believe Google cares about ideals more than money, ask who controls their purse strings. Or look at the official Google URL the describes their code: http://investor.google.com/conduct.html. investor.google.com tells us quite clearly where their corportae priorities exist. And what their official mission and business plan entails. Compare Google’s “Code of Conduct” to ANY mission statement** at a Public Library and ask yourself: “Who do YOU want to control and steer you along as you seek information?” Which point of view would most people choose to support given this information?

Misleading content like that in the facebook video above and things like the Google Librarian Librarian projects hold more potential threat than it would first seem. At recent ALA conferences the Google booth was a very popular stop. Many librarians eagerly made videos about how great Google was for libraries…and then *poof* Google disappears from Libraryland for almost a year on their project blog and are nowhere to be found at this years ALA conference. It is that we aren’t importnat enough customers to get Google to stick with us? Did they get what they wanted from us (support) until they didn’t need it anymore? Each side has it’s perspective, but I assure you, Google attends the conferences it feels it needs to. They certainly aren’t staying away because they are short on funds. It most certainly is, at the very least a curious case of unexplained absence. Not the thing to do in the electronic information and community access environment we find ourselves today. It seems that if Google clearly understood this and did have their mission at the front of their minds, they would have thought this through more carefully and acted accordingly.

To this information professional and electronic community activist, it comes down to this: Google and facebook are both businesses, out to make money. Libraries exist to serve their community with information access and community connection opportunities. If individuals or corporations like Google, facebook, etc, really want to get good things done with community, and if you truly care about community and information access, I would implore you to work with library and information professionals, library schools and organizations like OCLC and ALA. Give them resources, support their work with what you are good at, bind yourselves intimately to their success. THAT would do no evil! Most importantly I would ask you to support your local library. And do so in a way that guarantees that participation as long as your company thrives. THEN I will think about giving you wider support and endorsement and not just think of you as a case study in what Libraryland needs to do to succeed without being taken advantage of and potentially usurped by you. Technology is a tool, and we simply mustn’t allow libraries to become a tool that gets less and less useful as it is usurped by a tool that is guided simply by money, with no permanent obligation to give back. That is one of the deepest societal tragedies I can imagine and its consequences would truly be severe and horrible.

*facebook image taken from this video. It appears you are required to be a registered user to view this video.

**Yep, that is a Google search result link.

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Now playing: Beck – Youthless

Libraryman

You Got Your WorldCat In My facebook?

I try hard to keep work separate from this blog. Very rarely though, there is some spill over beyond me saying “I did this at work”. And now is one of those happy times. Actually, it’s more of a “I know these great folks from OCLC who shared a sneak peak and now I am allowed to share a bit of the juicy stuff as well”. At this point it is mostly informative and less participatory. And it is very beta. A test. What is it?

It is the WorldCat application for facebook! It is NOT listed in the application directory on Facebook so you have to receive an invite to get it. It may change, it may stick, it may not. Regradless, as a dutiful beta tester, I’ve included a couple of screen shots here for the curious. Click any image to got to it’s flickr page and be able to see it much larger:

Logged in view of the facebook WorldCat app:
facebook WorldCat app

If you get an invitation to beta test it will show up looking like this once you are logged in to facebook (I circled it in red so it would stand out):
facebook worldcat invitation

When you click the invite, you get something like this explaining the app:
facebook worldcat invitation details

This bug has gone bye bye (I was an early beta tester, lol). You really likely won’t ever see this, but it was funny:
facebook worldcat error

And again, a view logged in to the app. I know, I know, it gets cut off, but this time its bigger (Go away giant MONK ad!:):
facebook WorldCat app

I am very grateful to be looped into the testing and am also happy to share that I generously told:

If you want to, you could blog it. But your readers will need an invite to get the app so that could create some overhead for you.

Ok. I can handle that. I think. :) How about this, if you have a facebook account and want to give this a beta run, drop me a line. Email or on facebook is fine. Feel free to friend me on facebook while your at it. :) If possible, you will get an invite to test based on speed of response. I’ll pass the info along as quickly as possible given the holiday weekend. Assume though at this point that you’ll be put on a list of potential beta folks and that if you get an invite then you get to test. This is a very informal get the word out a little bit of community sharing, not an official work initiative by any means. I am doing this ’cause I like it and it is pretty darn neat in theory. Not really for work (though from work I know) Ahhh.. overhead reduced (and level of my tertiary involvement revealed).

Does the title of this post make anyone wonder about our information creation and consumption environment? Wouldn’t it be good to be able to have a WorldCat that would allow us to flip it and say “You got your facebook in my WorldCat?”

PS-If you look at the pics and ask yourself “Who is Bob Robertson Boyd?”, I would guess you might expect to ask yourself that question a bit more in the future. Bob works with a team of folks on “social stuff” at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio and does some fine work. And just to clarify, I work on the team at WebJunction in Seattle that works on “social stuff” and, as most of you know, WebJunction has some nifty connections to OCLC.

Libraryman

Sing A Song Of Innovation

My friend and fellow practical library tech booster, Steve Campion, sent me this message on facebook today:
Hey Michael,
Is singing in your new job description? Someone suggested that either you or I need to sing this song at ALA Midwinter. I’m not going, so it might be up to you.
~Steve

His post says:

To the tune of “The Major-General’s Song”
With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan… and you… :)

I advocate creation of a social network library,
Dispense with thoughts a-plenty in my blog much like a diary,
And show how common MySpace is, it dominates the territ’ry
‘Cuz people like to share their lives; it’s really quite extraordin’ry.

I upload pix of our events on a communal Flickr page,
And make it easy to YouTube; that latest clip is all the rage.
Encourage interaction for our young and old of any age,
Makes working here as fun as anything they do at Cam-ba-ridge.

I recommend Delicious, Facebook, wikis, Ning, and R-S-S,
Use tag clouds, gaming, apps and widgets, and I twitter to excess.
It matters that our patrons are involved with our transparency.
I advocate creation of a social network library.

Well firstly, I wish you were going to be at Midwinter. Secondly, while I’d be willing to give this my best effort, you must know the outcome would likely be more in line with Homer Simpson’s performance cited below:

Homer: Well, here I am, right on time. I don’t see Barney “Let’s
crash the rocket into the White House and kill the President”
Gumble…
Assistant: Actually, he’s been here since sunrise.
[Barney works with a punching bag]
Barney: Hi Homer. Since they made me stop drinking, I’ve regained my
balance and diction! Observe: [does backflips] “I am the
very model of a modern major general, I’ve information
vegetable, animal, and mineral.”
Homer: Oh, that’s nothing. Watch this: [does cartwheels] “There
once was a man from Nantucket, Whose –” [smashes into a
wall]
*link to full episode script*

homer and bender
In related news, the new Futurama DVD was released today. W00t!

In completely unrelated news: Pretty song, pretty books, pretty people

search engine marketing consulting Optimal SEO search engine marketing youtube promo video

October 2007 SLJ: We're In There!

Our Posse in the October Issue of School Library Journal. Well, teeny parts of our posse. Also, SLJ staff tells me: “we’re sending a special edition newsletter on 2.0, that includes this short piece”. The posse approves.
Original pic they so politely asked to use. Hi Rochelle!:
ALA 2007 218

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