Goodbye Listservs, Hello Branch Groups

For the past few months, I have been thinking about Branch.  I originally wrote about the service here.   Basically, what Branch does is allow you to expand on conversations.  Say a 140 character tweet gets your attention and you wanna expand that conversation?  Take it over to Branch and you can do just that.

Recently, Branch announced a new feature called Branch Groups.  I had the honor of being asked by the amazing folks over at Team Branch to start up one of the first Branch Groups.  I did just that, and you can find the Branch Group “The Library” by clicking right here.  Has it taken off like a wildfire?  Not just yet, but patience!  Good things take time.  Consider this a post to give Branch Groups a kick in the butt.

Branch - Groups

I started to think about how librarians could better use Branch Groups to extend their professional conversations.  I struggled with this question for weeks…how do I convince a bunch of librarians to get involved in another thing online?  And then it hit me….Branch Groups can replace the Library Listserv.

I’m not here to critique the listserv.  They’ve done an amazing job at keeping librarians in touch, sharing ideas, and more.  For a lot of people, these are their social networks.  However, things are changing.  I look at my own listserv reading habits and I see a pattern: I log into my work email, look at my listserv folder, and scan the subjects for anything interesting.  If I see something, I try to read the first message in the conversation.  But most times I get lost…am I reading the initial post?  Am I reading someone’s reaction?  How did this conversation get way off the original topic?  What happens to me then?  I give up.  I’ve asked a few of my colleagues about their listserv reading habits and it’s pretty much the same thing: “I see a large number of unread items in my inbox and I panic and just start deleting.  I don’t have time to sift through them.”

But there’s also another layer to overcome: how do you get your employees to switch over to a new way of having a conversation? Most people feel VERY comfortable with listservs.  Change is a really hard thing.  Plus, most people will not want to have one more login and one more thing to check.  But here’s one way to work around that.

There are a lot of librarians out there that:

  1. Want to get better at using social media.
  2. Want to make their library better known on social media.
  3. Want to START using social media.

This path offers those folks the opportunity to dive in.  Link the Branch groups experience to the listserv experience…it’s all the professional conversation you’ve come to know now in one nice and organized place.  The bonus?  It gets you involved in social media.  It’s like a kick in the butt for those that want to try things out or get better at them.  And it’s a good kick in the butt…you learn to share, contribute, and from that you develop a comfort with social media.

The Library

To start, here’s a link to the Branch Group that I created for this sole reason: THE LIBRARY.  Can we take our listserv conversations, move them into this nice and organized format, and in turn grow our social media saavy?  I like to think so.

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