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Social Media Applications for Content Delivery


Social media are widely used as communications tools and a way to create a community, but they are finding uses for other tasks as well, and content delivery is one of those. In fact, as Barbara Fullerton, Manager of Library Relations at 10-K Wizard, said, they are becoming the wave of the future for companies and their products.  Most social media systems have search engines, but they have somewhat different capabilities and differing interfaces than we are used to seeing in conventional search engines.  And their advanced search features may require the payment of fees.  Many of the search engines are time consuming to use because of complex interfaces.  Nevertheless, social media systems have firmly established a market niche for themselves and are useful for finding information on individuals, emerging trends, and rumors.  Several advanced tools offer repackaging capabilities for creating reports.  Here are some of those:

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Barbara, Ellen Naylor, and Donna Fryer demonstrated some of the advanced searching and repackaging features of a number of systems:

  • Filtrbox has advanced capabilities, such as sorting and ranking search results by a number of criteria, and even by the sentiment (positive or negative) expressed by the author.
  • Radian6 can filter, weight, and tag results.  Results can be displayed as “conversation clouds” showing the  most prominent terms in the posts.  Graphs of statistics showing highly posted terms can be generated.  The “sphere of influence” of the poster (the other social media to which he/she belongs)  can be displayed.
  • AttaainCI is for competitive analysis and can search and analyze results from Hoover’s profiles, blogs, and other social media.  It also provides current awareness snapshots of latest activities, people, and business profiles on a desired subject
  • The Social Studies Group sets up customized searches for a customer and can brand it to a group.  It searches millions of blogs, Facebook posts, and more.
  • RiskIQ focuses on security, branding threats, data loss prevention and searches over 90 million blogs, wikis, and other social media and can generate reports containing both raw and customized or analyzed data for clients.

Although most of these services are not free to use, if you need information from social media, the cost may be well worth paying.  One thing you get for your fee is access to extensive customer services that help their users set up their projects.  Of course, free trials are also available, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with these very interesting services.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today, and IL 2009 Blog Coordinator

Evaluating, Recommending, Justifying Social Media

I thought that some of what Roy Tennant talked about when exploring the digital landscape for libraries dovetailed rather nicely with what I had to say about evaluating, recommending and justifying 2.0, social, tools. You shouldn’t adopt new technologies just because they’re new, bright and shiny, not just because all the cool kids are doing it. You should introduce tools that solve problems within your organizations and recognize that decisions about these tools can have wider ramifications outside the library. It’s a good opportunity for librarians to position themselves as technology leaders.

Marydee Ojala, Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals

No Avoiding Shirky

The person I heard quoted the most during ALA wasn’t even in Chicago. It was Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody. At least 3 different people quoted his comment about technology from page 105, “Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.”  (Or were they remembering his appearance last May on The Colbert Report? The quote is 1 minute and 16 seconds into the clip.)

Other people may also have quoted him, in one of the many sessions I wasn’t able to attend, given how spread out the conference was. I actually think the sentence that follows the one quoted is equally pertinent, “The invention of a tool doesn’t create change; it has to be around long enough that most of society is using it.” Librarians are talking about, and using, a wide range of new social media tools to communicate both within and outside the profession. They blog, Flickr, Facebook, FriendFeed, Twitter, receive and send RSS feeds, wiki, IM, podcast, vlog, tag, bookmark, and share like mad. Some librarians are beginning to find these tools boring, but others are just getting started with social technologies. Plus, most of society isn’t using them.

Issues surrounding the social media, 2.0-type tools, include measuring the impact, ROI, not getting too far ahead of library users, data ownership, loss of context, permanence versus ephemeral, and involving library staff and administration.

Marydee Ojala, Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals

LITA Demonstrates Its Social Networking Skills

Practicing what many a technology pundit preaches, the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) used a number of social networking tools to conduct its Top Technology Trends forum yesterday.

A web-based poll of LITA blog readers in July was used by emcee Maurice York (N. Carolina State University) to lead the expert panel in a discussion of trends to watch.

Results of the LITA Poll

Results of the LITA Poll

The event was video-streamed live, and both remote and local audience members commented throughout the event, within the LITA blog.

The running blog script, which also includes a stream of messages posted by audience members  using Twitter, contains some gems, though, as these things go, you may need to mine for them.

Participants and remote observers commented throughout the forum

Participants and remote observers commented throughout the forum

To search our your own nuggets in the thread, access the session blog/Twitter archive within the LITA blog.

Dick Kaser, ITI VP, Content