Libraries, Life, Technology

Sensory Overload

Jonny Nintendo, I like this tweet and you know what? I can’t prove you wrong because I agree with it so very much.

I’ve never seen the show Rick and Morty but someone tells me it is about time travel. I really like time travel. But you know what? I read about what their fans did after they didn’t get some special sauce at McDonald’s and you know what? I don’t ever wanna watch this show.

I struggle with being a Weezer fan, and a big part of it has to do with the band’s fan base. Sometimes it is great and sometimes it sucks. It is a thing that now weighs on me heavily when I listen to this band.

This is the way of the world these days. Fans believe that passion should be brought to the table at every moment. Coupled with the internet, a place where people feel the need to be as loud and obnoxious as they can dream of being, and what you have is a hot mess. Things just don’t feel right these days. The world feels a bit off, and I just can’t help but to point a finger towards fandom and being loud on the internet as one of the things contributing to this feeling.

Of course I still have social media accounts. We all do and we’re not getting rid of them anytime soon. These feelings have been brewing in me a long time. Facebook has basically replaced email with Messenger as one of the defacto ways to communicate with another human being (texting being the other). The Facebook News Feed however, is a mess of rubbish, noise, and advertising. Twitter seems to be the place to figure out a way to wittily relevant things in 140 characters or less. It used to be my favorite social media channel that would inspire me endlessly. Now I just want to close the window and log out.

Things are moving so very quickly. Things are so very loud. Sensory overload has taken us all over. We need a break from the fans, from social media, from the world. We need to learn what how to be human beings again.

 

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Family, Fidelia Hall, Libraries, Life, Music, Technology, Three Things

THREE THINGS 2016.9

THANK YOU TECHNOLOGY

Brief shout out to computers, the internet, and technology in general. It’s easy to be negative about technology and computers, especially since they are a bit confusing and sometimes don’t work properly. But in the long run, wow, technology helps us out quite a bit. A large portion of my summer has been spent working on budgets, grants, and building maintenance and without technology it would have been much more difficult. Google Drive allows me to keep everything I write related to grants and budgeting in one place and gives all of my proposals and work a continuity that is much needed. It is also really helpful to communicate project updates and changes with my board and the community via email and social media. Conversation and communication are key!

KISS

Thank you to KISS for all of their music and their makeup that my son Aero seems to love oh so much. Over the weekend he wanted to dress up as Paul Stanley aka Starchild from the 80’s version of KISS. That’s the version of him you’re seeing in this video. He was amazed that KISS could take off their makeup. Even neater is that he think that their song “Lick It Up” is actually titled “Pick It Up” and is about picking up toys.

SUMMERTIME

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I hope everyone reading this is enjoying their summer. We’ve been spending a lot of time with our rabbits and chickens and also watering our plants and gardens. Just last week we got to eat our first crop of the season, radishes. It feels great to live in what basically amounts to our own little semi urban farm. It fits our family.

Books, Libraries

Reinventing Reference: How Libraries Deliver Value in the Age of Google

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Radical! Reinventing Reference: How libraries deliver value in the age of Google is finally in print!

I was honored to be a part of this book! Back in 2011 when I was just beginning my “outside the library that I am currently employed at” librarian journey Katie and Vibiana were one of the first people in the library world to give me a shot at doing something in the greater librarian community. I am eternally thankful to them for asking me to be a part of this!

It was really neat and interesting to write a book chapter. I found it to be a really great learning experience: I had to balance my enthusiastic and untrained writing style with something more….well, book-ish. Was it tough? Sure, but it was a great learning experience.

I got my own copy a few weeks ago and have been digging through it. I LOVE all of the stuff said by the collaborators and I found it very useful and informative.

If you want to check it out, you can purchase it in that old fashioned yet very handy print format here: REINVENTING REFERENCE

ebooks, Google, Libraries, Music, Social Media, Technology

Post Holiday Library Technology Help

Like most librarians in a public library, I am expecting a sizable number of patrons visiting the library after the holidays in search of technology help.  For the last few years, I’ve watched this phenomenon grow a spattering of random technology questions to something that libraries need to plan in advance for.  Luckily, we’re already doing that.  I point to these two awesome examples:

PrincePLTechHelp

Over the next few days, the Princeton Public Library in Princeton, NJ is having a number of programs focused on helping patrons with their new devices.  The program mentioned above, Help Desk for Holiday Gadgets, is just one of many offerings that the library has to help out their community.  You can click here to see the full list of programs being offered by the Princeton Public Library that focus on post holiday technology help.

MSLTechHelp

The Maine State Library tweeted about their Getting Started with eBooks page and it caught my eye.  If your library can’t have programs like the Princeton Public Library, offering an online walk through will no doubt help out your community.  You can view the full Getting Started with eBooks page here.

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The Darien Library in Darien, CT does a great job at throughly collecting technology help resources for you at their eBooks page.  They offer both print and video resources to help you navigate your new devices.  Double bonus points goes to them for offering this digital only catalog: http://digital.darienlibrary.org

And finally, why not give YouTube a try?  There are many public libraries out there utilizing YouTube to share video walk troughs for their community to view.  I really liked this well put together video by the Hennepin County Library.  It is well made and very clear and easy to follow.

In closing, I pose this question: Should public libraries begin to look to next year when there will most likely be even more of a need for technology help?  Should we look to establishing year round technology help departments in our library?

Online Identity, Social Media

Online Identity

I have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about our online identities and how much cooler the world would be if we open sourced our lives.  What do I mean by this?

define open source - Google Search

FREELY AVAILABLE is what stands out to me.  A life where nothing is hidden, everything is on the table for everyone to read, share, comment, and discuss.  I’ve talked and presented about this topic in the past (here) and I feel that it’s about time to bring it up once again.

As I said above, I believe in a life where everything is freely available.  That means putting it all out there: Embracing the icky stuff, celebrating the joyous moments, admitting confusion…..Everything.  Social media has great power at connecting people and giving everyone a voice.  For me, I never felt like I was using social media properly until I realized this.  Over the past few years, developing my voice and connecting with people has taught me two things:

  1. Professionally, it has connected me with some amazing people and given me the opportunity to do some amazing things and travel to some amazing places and talk about the things I am passionate about.  Without social media, I may not have had this opportunity.  
  2. Personally, it has allowed me to open source my life to my friends and family.  We’ve all had great moments in our lives and at the same time we’ve all been miserable.  It’s been great sharing these moments with my friends and family.  That way, they know where I’m at, where I’m heading, and how I got there.  The best part about it is the discussion it stems from these posts…people open up and share their lives with you.  You quickly find out that you’re not alone in the world.

There are different ways to approach this lifestyle and it takes some time to find exactly what works best for you.  I’m happy to show you what’s been working for me:

Here’s my approach:

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Before you go laughing off Google+, let me state my case for it. I love Google+ for sharing things professionally.  There’s just something about the Google+ interface that encourages sharing and discussion.  The way you determine how you want to share something (through Circles) gives you amazing options as to how you decide you want to share something.

The conversations I’ve had over the past year on Google+ have been very stimulating and the things I’ve discovered via other folks that I’m following have really helped me think differently about how I approach my job.

Google+ isn’t a Facebook killer, replacement, or anything else like that.  Google+ is Google+, a great tool that you can use to really develop your professional image.  Give it a shot.  I gave up on it shortly after it was released and came back to it a few months later…and I’ve never left it since.

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Simply stated, I don’t think I would be where I am professionally without Twitter.  It has given me the opportunity to share and discuss everything with the world and for that I am very grateful.

One of the great things about Twitter is that it’s so quick and in the moment that it really can be something to everyone.  Having a really focused moment talking about libraries?  Go for it.  Then it’s OK to switch that up and talk about music or something else.  I do it all the time.  It’s also great for finding new things to read.  The people I follow are always sharing great stuff to absorb.

What really makes the Twitter experience most useful for me is watching who I follow.  Over the years, I’ve been endlessly dabbling in this specific area.  I’ve found that when I follow too many people my Twitter feed becomes unmanageable and really turns me away from the service.  It’s almost as if there’s an information overload.  You can always turn to something like Twitter lists to manage this, but I’ve found those very ineffective.  Tweetdeck is also another tool you can use to manage your streams.

Twitter is great for developing your professional identity and at the same time mixing a bit of personal into everything.

facebook-logo

And finally, we come to Facebook.  With over 1 billion users, there’s a chance that everyone you’ve ever known is using this service.  That can seem like a very overwhelming and scary thing.  It was for me for the longest time.  There was this thought in the back of my head that SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME and I did not like that at all.  However, I’ve found that if you take the time to really look at your privacy settings and use at least one or two lists that Facebook can be an amazing tool for achieving an open source life.

Recently, I opened up about something going on in my life on Facebook.  I was embracing the icky stuff.  I shared it privately with Friends only and used a list that I created before to limit the post even more.  My privacy setting looked like this:

FB privacy

What was the end result?  My initial post got a lot of comments.  People opened up, shared, discussed, and more.  It was a beautiful thing.  I also received 5 personal messages from people that read my initial post who wanted to talk a bit more in depth.  The end result was that I didn’t feel bad for having these feelings.  I felt like a lot of people understood me, offered worthwhile suggestions, and I was able to grow and learn from it.

My conclusion?  Have a look at your online identity and see what you’re sharing and where you’re sharing it.  Think about what you want to get out of each and every post.  Do you want an open conversation?  Do you want to live an open source life?  If so, how do you develop your social networks to best meet your needs?  With some time and effort, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

 

Google, Libraries, Social Media, Technology

Google Knowledge Graph (and other cool stuff)

I’m not posting this to have a rousing debate about Google and their effect on libraries and share this Neil Gaiman quote with you and ask for applause.  So, I’m just going to say this: I love the recent changes Google has made to its search engine.  I love the knowledge graph results.  I love the personal recommendations.  I love being able to have my email show up in my search results (hey, I’ve already answered my question in the past!  Why do it again?)

Now I just step back for a moment and think: “just imagine how awesome this could’ve been if we would’ve focused on doing something like this for our OPAC instead of debating on and on about Google and libraries in the past?”

Technology, Things

SIX THINGS I’M CURRENTLY THINKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY

I REALLY LIKE  
It’s only been a week, but I am fond of Google+ and here’s why.  Facebook is good and all, but I always had trouble with just putting it all out there.  Yes, I know there are ways of limiting what you share, but so much emphasis is placed on controlling who you share to on Google+ that it just makes it feel easier.  The layout of the stream is easy on the eyes and has yet to overwhelm me.  Granted, this thing is just starting out, so it may only be a matter of time before it all gets clogged up, but for now I am enjoying it very much.
QR CODES ARE REALLY BORING
I don’t see what the rage about QR codes is.  Personally, I don’t know a lot of people with smart phones.  The ones that do have them will just do a quick Google search for what they’re looking for.  The teens I work in my library don’t even have access to their own computer let alone something to scan a weird looking barcode.  At the same time, this isn’t boring but I don’t see many folks going this route.
I LOVE/HATE GOOGLE CHROME NETBOOKS and I LOVE/HATE APPLE PRODUCTS
I was lucky enough to be one of the people that got a Google Chrome CR-48 netbook before they hit the stores a few months ago.  It is an amazing little machine that pretty much does everything I need to do when I’m on a computer.  Between a steady internet connection, Google Docs, and Google Talk, I’m all set for about 99% of my computer needs.
It drives me nuts though that I can’t do anything but that.  As much as I am a Google super user, I still really like iTunes and iPods for organizing/collecting/listening to music.  I wish there was a bit more flexibility with both companies in regards to their products.  I have all that I need when it comes to computing needs, so please don’t make me go out and buy another netbook just to manage my music.  This proprietary “THIS IS MY PRODUCT AND YOU HAVE TO USE IT LIKE I WANT YOU TO USE IT” shit is killing me and ultimately driving me away from your product.
CLOUD BASED MUSIC SERVICES HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO

I’ve only dove into Google Music and Amazon’s Cloud Player, but overall I’m not that impressed.  It could be my phone that needs some work (LG Ally Android) but Music Beta is slow, clunky, and many times unresponsive.  Amazon’s Cloud Player is just boring, and I’m not all that into buying MP3’s through Amazon (I think it’s an age thing.  In my youth I relied heavily on them for import CD’s).  I love the idea of having a vast library of music at my fingertips, but I actually want it to load, stream well, and sound good.  So far, that isn’t happening.
MERCURYAPP.COM IS AWESOME
“Capture.  Reflect.  Improve” is their slogan, and that’s just about all you need to know.  I log onto MercuryApp twice a day to record my mood while at work.  They send me an email, tell me to update, and I do it.  Since I started using it about a year ago, my overall mood is 3.83 out of 5 while I am at work.  There’s also a log that allows me to give keywords to describe my moods, and it tells me that my most used words are “feeling, person, teens, day, work, library, good, ready, are, here”.  You can learn a lot about yourself through this little website.  Now, MercuryApp.com developers, where’s my Android app?
TABLETS ARE SUPER AWESOME
I see the power of tablets  everyday.  Sitting around the house, I use my iPad to tune into the news, check Twitter, and just stay connected to the world.  I explore Wikipanion and learn about topics that pique my interest at the time.  But the real beauty comes through when I see my 2.5 year old son Finn pick up the iPad and explore.  He’s been using it for about a year now to watch videos, draw, and more, and every day I see him getting more proficient at using it.  He’s skilled at finding the YouTube videos he wants to watch.  He scrolls, looks through recommendations, and finds what he wants.  I’m just waiting for the moment where he discovers spelling and searching.  This one observation has led me to end this blog post by standing up on virtual soapbox to proclaim this: tablets are the future.  Their ease of use, portability, and just interesting nature are the things that are going to guide us into so much more interesting technology in the near future.