Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Week 4, Thing 8 - RSS Feeds & Bloglines

*phew* well that was fun! I had never poked around Bloglines before. Interesting set up. But since Livejournal's "Friend List" function also doubles as an aggregator, I probably won't use my Bloglines account as much.

I will confess, the problem with things like Livejournal, Bloglines, etc.., is that you sort of stop browsing. If it's not published in one of my RSS feeds, then I won't know it! I hardly ever venture outside of my livejournal anymore because I've added so many blog feeds to that reader! So be warned, RSS feeds are addictive and if you start collecting them and reading them religiously, your reader will be the only site you ever visit! (Though, Livejournal is part blog part social networking site, so I have a lot more random people/things that I read on there, probably why it cane take me an hour to read my entire "flist" some days...).

I really think libraries should take advantage of all of this technology and create active blogs which, by default, should have public RSS feeds. (I say active because if you want to get anyone's attention, you need to update your blog on a regular basis, weekly, if not daily). Like I mentioned above, if you get into RSS feeds, you tend to never leave your reader page, so if libraries want to stay in their patrons lives, they should have blogs that update when new releases are on their way ("We know Harry Potter won't be out until July, but you can place your holds starting today!") or programs ("Don't forget, Cathy and Marcy will be here in a little over a week") or even just boring old marketing ("New Releases this week that you might not have heard about..).

My public Blogroll is here . I added a few of the recommended sites from Maryland Libraries Learning but also tossed on a couple that I am a fan of - "No Flying No Tights" (a graphic novel review site) and Whedonesque (because I am a total fangirl for all things Joss Whedon...um...and he had a character in his show that was a librarian so its work related...sort of).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Week 4 (the pre-show)

Okay, just looking at what I have to do for Week 4. I'm pretty familiar with RSS feeds. I don't use Bloglines, Livejournal actually has an RSS feed incorporated into it's "friends list" feature (I currently have 56 friends, 60 communities, and 18 outside feeds that I watch on livejournal - mind you not all of them are active posters, but still, that's a lot!)

Though, I have to say, I was a bit freaked out that my livejournal is syndicated on Bloglines...wonder if there's a way to see if anyone reads it outside of livejournal land...not like I post anything scandalous, mostly just babbling about fandoms I enjoy.

(note to self: to avoid confusion when on a work-related blog, do not refer to Livejournal as "LJ" as that is also the code for "Library Journal").

Week 3, Thing 7 - Tech post

Well, the most recent technology (and when I say "technology", I'm assuming we are referring to the internet) that has caught my attention is "micro-blogging". So far, it's actually one of the few new trends that I haven't been completely sucked into! (well...almost).

The biggest "micro-blogging" slash "social-networking" site right now is Twitter. This site allows you to update your status in a short sentence or two from your computer or cell phone. While on a regular blog, like this one, I can ramble on about my life, tv shows, etc., a micro-blog consist of "I am eating food now and it's good" or "I am at work, call me there if you need me".

My first interaction with microblogging happened on 'Facebook'. I joined this site just to see what the fuss was about and found it odd that people were updating their "status" with little notes like "so-and-so is suffering from a headache" or "so-and-so is ready for friday". These updates happened every few hours!

I'll admit, when I log into Facebook, I feel compelled to change my status. Usually it's just to kill time or amuse myself. But since there's no method of feedback, who knows if anyone cares!

Anyway, I find the whole thing interesting because of the type of people that use it. First, you have to have some tech-savvy if you're going to use your cell phone to send message to the internet.

Second, you have to have a teensy bit of free time all the time - not a chunk of time to write a full blog, but enough time to say "so-and-so is craving pizza" and then get back to work. Which means you have a certain kind of job/lifestyle that sits you in front of a computer or cell phone all day and you can goof off like this.

And third - you have to be even more delusional than a regular blogger. I mean, yes I've fooled myself into thinking other people would want to hear my opinion on tv shows, movies, my life etc. But I don't know if I can convince myself that anyone wants to know what I'm doing at any given second!

Though, I've heard the powers of micro-blogging can also be used for work rather than play. A friend of mine told me his office uses a similar updater to alert co-workers to what they are doing. (I'm in the office, I'm at lunch, I'm working on such and such).

It's a bit scary. Cell phones bother me because people let them take over their lives. They drop everything to take cell phone calls no matter where they are. Why? Back in the day, if you weren't at home, people left a message. Why must you answer the phone when you're...oh gee, I dunno, at the library. ;-)

Same with micro-blogging. Before you would just leave home. Or if anything, put up an away message on instant messenger that said "be right back". But soon, will people be compelled to document their trips to the grocery store? to update us on their every movement?

And that's the story of technology I guess - it goes from a total distraction, something silly, then slowly becomes part of our culture until we can't live with out it!

Wow, that was a really long post. If you made it this far, treat yourself to a cookie!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Week 3, Thing 5 - Explore Flickr

I've had a Flickr account for awhile now (I sort of "grew" one when Yahoo bought the site) but didn't really start using it until earlier this year.

One of the things I liked about Flickr, because it is such a popular site, is it has worked out deals with several blog hosting sites to allow you to post your Flickr photos from Flickr right into your blog. (This is how I was able to post my mash-up in the previous post). It's a nice addition, so that after you've uploaded photos you don't have to go back to the Flickr site, find the URL of the image, create the HTML to post the image, and then return to your blog site to post it all.

There are several different kinds of "groups" on Flickr. I have never signed myself up for one, though I was contacted by the 501st group - a Star Wars costuming club. We had the members come to my branch last October for a program. I had posted my photos on Flickr to share with friends and co-workers. One of the 501st members found the post and contacted me about marking them to be included in that groups album. That was the first time I had done that. It's a very cool way of sharing photos.