Exercise Six: Screencast of a Social Software

For Exercise 6, I created a screencast for the website Sparkpeople.com using screenr.com. This website was one I addressed in my social software impact paper regarding health, fitness and weight loss.

Screencast for Sparkpeople.com

Advertisements

Exercise 2: Thoughts on Library Blogs

1. What do you see as the differences between the five blogs I asked you to subscribe to in terms of the type of blog and type of post (genre, length, etc.).

Librarian with the Lead Pipe: Group Blog with seven contributing authors. The posts are substantial in length on varying subjects with the overall goal of improving their communities and exploring new ideas for use in the library field. There seems to be approximately two posts per month.

The Librarian’s Commute: Single author. The blog was started early in her career when she was commuting between a few different jobs, but has evolved into a blog about a librarian figuring out her way in the field and concentrates on topics surrounding libraries, technology, and higher education. Posts are relatively long, a few paragraphs in length.

The Distant Librarian: Single author. Mostly consists of reviews (books, software, electronics, etc), how to’s, and general commentary. Posts are not all that long, but he includes a number of links for reference and further reading. Each post also seems to end with a section of links that are related to the post’s subject called “You Might Also Like.”

Librarian by Day: Single author. Blog seems to be centered around digital and technology services and the digital divide with overall goals of helping libraries find their place and get in tune with the digital age. Author seems to like to keep things on the cutting edge through long, well formatted posts with pictures and links.

David Lee King: Writes about library websites (branding, managing, marketing, etc) and emerging technologies such as video blogging, screen casts, etc. Posts are generally longer in length, but well formatted with pictures and links where appropriate.

 

Librarian with the Lead Pipe and Librarian’s Commute seem the most different of the five blogs. Lead Pipe being a collaborative effort is the most unique, while Librarian’s Commute seems to just be random musings and experiences of a Community College librarian with no specific theme.

Though they vary in post length and style, The Distant Librarian, Librarian by Day and David Lee King are the most similar by focusing primarily on technology related subjects and how they relate to and can improve libraries.

2. What types of posts do you find most appealing to read and why?

I am more drawn to the blogs surrounding technology and how it can be used in the library. I feel that many libraries are definitely lacking in this area and I like reading about new and innovative ways to incorporate technology into a library environment.

I’m also very interested in Teen Services, so I enjoy blogs about Young Adult literature, teen programming and how to serve teens in general. So ultimately, the best blogs would be those that combine my interest in teens with my interest in utilizing technology.

3. What three library blogs did you subscribe to? Please include a 1-3 sentence description of each one.

Sonoma County Library Teenspace Blog: Contains fairly regular posts surrounding new YA literature, book reviews, events, and other things relevant to teens in the Sonoma, CA community.

University Laboratory High School Library Blog: Another teen-centric blog for the library at University Laboratory High School in Illinois. The blog is maintained by the librarian, Francey, and posts surround school and library events and provide a unique look into life in this High School library.

Palos Verdes Library District Director’s Blog: The blog of Katherine Gould who is the director of the Palos Verdes Library District. It seems to be just a general blog of whatever she finds interesting. She addresses library issues, things that are relevant to the community, and also personal posts.

4. Based on the blogs you chose, what are some of the characteristics that you think make a library blog successful?

Since content appeals to differently to everyone, I think the main characteristics of a successful blog are more along the lines of visual appeal, formatting, and writing style. People in general are very visual, so if a blog is poorly laid out and looks boring or confusing people will probably be less likely to read it. Posts themselves should also be formatted properly. Posts should be broken up into easily digestible paragraphs or sections, since a wall of text can be incredibly overwhelming. Good formatting also seems to utilize numbered or bulleted lists, and include links and pictures where possible.

And lastly, the writing should be engaging, relevant and interesting. I consider blogs to be less formal and should appeal to the average person. Vernacular and colloquialisms are welcome, if not encouraged. A blog doesn’t necessarily have to follow a certain theme, as long as the author writes his/her posts in an entertaining and easy to read manner.

Exercise 1: Online Reputation and Marketing of Threadless.com

What are people saying about this organization online? What tools are they using to talk about the organization?

I chose to analyze the online effectiveness of the clothing retailer Threadless. Their unique concept involves designs submitted by customers and artists that are then voted on to be made into the t-shirts available for sale on the website. I felt like this company would be a pretty good example of internet branding and marketing since their target demographic is essentially young, hip, avid internet users who would find it important to feel a strong connection to the company and be repeat customers.

As a frequent customer of Threadless myself, I was already familiar with some aspects of their online marketing, such as their Facebook page, Twitter account and Flickr stream. I was also familiar with their weekly Ustream show “Tee Time with Bob and Kristen” which ran from about January through June 2011.

To further analyze their internet presence I consulted reputation monitoring websites such as How Sociable and Keotag. Through these websites I discovered more great attempts at reaching out through the screen to their customers such as the world wide Threadless Meetup day, July 28, 2011 organized through Meetup.com and their Vimeo channel.

 

I also browsed the Threadless Facebook fan page and used previously mentioned reputation monitoring websites, and a Twitter scanner called Backtweets, in order to get an idea of what people and customers are saying about Threadless on their own.  The vast majority of the comments that I found were positive and involved people posting about their favorite tees or posting pictures of them in their favorite tees as well as spreading excitement about sales.

Is the organization responding to these people through social media? If so, how effective do you think they are?

Threadless seems to be very prompt at responding the questions posed via Facebook and Twitter. This dedication illustrates their respect for and connection with their customers. They wouldn’t have t-shirts to sell without users submitting designs and other customers voting on them. Being open and accessible is really the least they can do, and they seem to go above and beyond.

Here is an example from their Facebook page of how quick they are to respond to inquiries:

What social media tools is the organization using to proactively communicate with their user base (rather than just responding)? How effective do you think they are in building relationships and engaging their customers online?

According to How Sociable, Threadless has a “visibility score” of 807, and appear to be most active on the websites where the company has a large presence such as, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, and Meetup. A similar competitor, TeeFury has much less web visibility with a score of only 283. While their score is miniscule compared to a large company like Google with a score of 24,997, they also appeal to a smaller audience but clearly have a dedicated fan base.

Threadless seems to care strongly about their relationship with their customers, and take their online presence very seriously. On Facebook and Twitter, they interact with their customers by posting interesting statuses and building enthusiasm for their events and sales. Also, while they broadcast the last episode of “Tee Time with Bob and Kristen” on Ustream back in June 2011, it is a perfect example of the kind of relationship they strive for with their customers. The interactive webcast aired live on Ustream, hosted by Threadless employees Bob and Kristen. They would interact with the users who tuned in and chatted with them on the Ustream chat window. Bob and Kristen would announce Threadless news, tell stories and jokes, and also ask trivia questions. Trivia winners won the opportunity to spin a prize wheel for free shirts, gift cards, and other Threadless merchandise.

View the last episode of “Tee Time”

Overall, Threadless is a friendly and accessible company with a quality product.