Final Thoughts

For my last post, I thought I would take the time to reflect on my course, LIS 503: Social Media for Information Professionals.

First, I hope you enjoyed reading my blog posts! I thought that the blog was a great way to reflect upon the reading and course materials of the social media learned in the units.

While I have familiarity with social media as I use it regularly as user, I thought the class would offer insight of using social media, but most importantly, using it as a as information professional in a library or information organization setting. I thought it was important to know how to improve marketing and strengthening a library’s social media presence.

Through the course, I learned about social identity, social publishing such as blogs, the participation and construction of Wikipedia, authenticity of posts, social games, social commerce, augmented and virtual worlds and games, and social media analysis and measurements.

I thought the unit on social media analysis and measurements was interesting because I wasn’t really familiar with using these kinds of tools to monitor a social media presence. These help measure a social media’s likes, posts, and activity–these tools can help  improve a businesses or organization’ social media by seeing what’s working and what’s not. It’s good to know what tools are available out there to analyze and measure social media because it would helpful and useful for future use.

I thought it was a valuable class as I think social media is a big part of marketing and promoting library services. I think with technology evolving and advancing, social media is here to stay.

 

Social Media Analytics

With using social media, it’s hard to know if you are using it right or to keep track of what content you are posting is resonating with your audience and/or followers and users.

For businesses and organizations, there are social media analytic tools that measure the data and stats of the social media presence. These tools can help a business or organization to improve their social media presence and compare and contrast of how they are using their social media versus other competitive businesses’ and organizations. With these emerging tools, the question is, though, if the data being monitored is correctly accurate and reliable.

One social media analytic tool is Facebook Insights. Insights is only available for PAGE administrators and shows you full stats behind your posts, your fans, and your reach.  Insights also gives you information on other competitive Facebook pages. Instagram offers a social media analytics tool for businesses’ profiles only, called Instagram Insights.  Like with Facebook Insights, this analytic tool offers stats on posts, stories,  and your profile. It also offers information about your followers, like when they are active the most.  Another example is Twitter, which offers a 28-day overview of reviewing your stats on retweets, mentions, favorites, clicks and impressions of your tweets.

These social media analytics tool can helpful by giving you insight of posts and content your followers like and/or engage with the most. It also shows what content is not being reciprocated by your users. Again, the negative aspect of using social media tools is the accuracy of the data, but the outcome of using these tools could better shape the presence of a businesses’ social media presence and usage.

Goodreads: A Social Commerce Site?

Goodreads is a social cataloging site where individuals can share information about books–based off of recommendations, reviews and ratings–and keep track of organizing books by creating “shelves.”

Individuals can create shelves of books based off of books to-read, currently-reading, and read. Users can also create their own shelves like making shelves by genre (mystery, fiction, young adult) year (books in read in 2016) and author (james patterson) This is a way to keep track or archive an individual’s preferences of books. This aspect of the site is part of social cataloging, but there are other features that make it a social commerce site.

Users can also rate a book of 1 to 5 stars. They can also write reviews of books an there’s a feature that users can recommend books to other users. Reviews can guide users if a particular book will be something they will like or not. A user can decide if they want to buy it or maybe even check it out of the library.  Features like this can also increase circulation of books based off of high ratings and reputation. Like other social commerce, sites, ratings and reviews can determine one’s purchasing goal or desire, a result of reading’s one experience with or about the product. In essence, Goodreads does share information about a product, but the products are solely about books.

Goodreads also offers communities and forums by discussion boards, Q&As, groups, and book clubs. Book clubs are a great way to engage with other readers in a virtual environment. Book clubs are created by users and they pick a book to read by the end of the given deadline. Users then discuss the book via discussion boards. This feature can also be implemented in libraries, too.

Goodreads can be served as BOTH a social cataloging and social commerce site to users because users share information to other users, discovering new products, and organizing products virtually.

Social Commerce Constructs

An important aspect of social commerce is sociability in an online environment. With social media, not only can an individual share information of their purchases or interest of buying or purchasing something, but they can interact and engage with other buyers by providing conversations and messages, going on forums, and ratings and recommendations of the products. These acts of sociability are constructs of social commerce. Theses constructs of social commerce are important to the buyer because they help determine their intention to buy the item from that seller and to trust the seller or not.

Ratings and reviews

Buyers can review products online, adding comments of the quality of the product and their experience with it. Users can also rate items using a scale, like on Etsy or Amazon, rating an item from 1-5 stars (1 being the worst to 5 being the best). These reviews can give substantial information about the product and this benefits buyers for potentially buying it or not. This seems effective for other buyers. Describing one’s experience when purchasing a product, whether negative or positive, can determine if this is something a buyer wants based on that experience written.

Recommendations and Referrals

Recommendations and referrals are also part of social commerce constructs. Recommendations are not so much the experience, but whether the buyer would express interest or recommend it to someone that they know, or give recommendations to potential buyers about the item itself. An example would be a recommending a dress: “I would recommend buying this dress for formal occasions, but not to casual events.” Something like that would be a recommendation or referral. It’s expressing the buyer the cons/pros or what to or not to do for the product.

Forums and Communities

The third construct, forums and communities, provides social interaction. Individuals can support each through the provided platforms. These constructs allow other buyers to share their experiences, communicate, ask questions and share information about their purchasing or buying experience. This is a great way to communicate to buyers about sharing information about a specific product. Amazon has message boards for products where buyers can post questions, and other buyers can post their responses, helping the buyer gaining more information on that product.

Trust 

Trust is a key aspect in social commerce. Because these interactions are online, trust is a high factor of importance when it comes to social commerce. Of course a buyer wants to buy from a seller that is legitimate, credible, professional, quality, customer service, efficiency, and so on. It is best to buy from a seller who has respected credentials, quality products and good customer service. This all comes from having a high reputation. Having trust and a relationship with the seller enhances the purchasing experience online.

Intention to Buy

This is the engagement to buy or purchase items through social networking sites. As described above, these three social constructs and trust play a role of the buyer’s intention to buy. The purpose of social commerce is intentionally to buy an item or shop for a product for whatever the buyer’s reasons, goals, or purposes are. As you can see, the constructs affect the trust of the seller and the trust of the seller affects the intention to buy. These all go hand-in-hand and affect one another. To include, the sociability and communication between the buyers and buyers, and the sellers and buyers, with the advancement of technology and social networking sites, plays a huge role of shopping in an online environment.

 

References: Hajli, N. (2015). Social commerce constructs and consumer’s intention to buy. International Journal of Information Management, 35(2), 183-191.

Sellers Vs. Buyers

With social commerce, there are two user groups: sellers and buyers. These two groups use social commerce for different purposes and reasons. Social commerce is the sharing and exchanging of purchasing information by individuals. Social media is part of exchanging this information. Sellers and buyers differ in ways and types that they use social commerce.

One type, utilitarian motivations, deals with sharing information in a “rational and goal-oriented manner” (Yang et al., 2016). For sellers,  with this motivation in mind, they use social commerce. Sellers’ goals are to sell their products, while buyers tend to just share the information with potential buyers, i.e. individuals. This motivations is more beneficial to sellers because can built relationships with buyers and sellers. They can also reciprocate rewards (i.e. incentives, income, etc).  Buyers can also build information with other buyers by sharing products they have purchased, perhaps items of the same interest or from the same seller. Sellers share information with buyers to enhance their relationship with their buyers, as buyers use sharing of information just to exchange with others, with no gain in mind.  As stated, utilitarian motives–with building relationships and receiving rewards–is more oriented with sellers.

Hedonic motivations deals with users buyers using social commerce for their own enjoyment, such as shopping for themselves. Buyers seek “online shopping as a pleasant experience” or the “emotional connection with other shoppers” (Yang et al., 2016). This involves in the enjoyment of helping others, so this motivation is oriented towards buyers than sellers. Sellers rarely seek this, in the case if they themselves seek a purchase online. But buyers can help other buyers purchase something or recommend purchasing something online. Reviews and ratings help with other buyers decide on what to buy online–this is part of the sharing of information to individual to individual with social commerce.

Social motivation deals with status–with popularity and reputation with being the two out comes of social motivations.  So this motivation is oriented more towards sellers, because the more fans or followers they have, the more their popularity is reputable. To gain more followers–to keep them engaged–the interact with them and post and make quality products. Sellers also need to have a high reputation to keep their users’ interested and to gain their trust to keep shopping their site.

With these three motivations, sellers use social motivation for their own gain: to share information to sell their products by building relationships and rewards with their buyers, while also building popularity, status and reputation. Buyers use social commerce for their own fun and enjoyable experiences.

References:  Yang, J., Sia, C. L., Liu, L., & Chen, H. (2016). Sellers versus buyers: Differences in user information sharing on social commerce sites. Information Technology & People, 29(2), 444-470. doi:10.1108/ITP-01-2015-0002

 

Apps for Libraries-MyLibrary!

This week’s topic is social commerce. One of the topics discussed is connecting users through engagement and interaction on mobile apps to enhance a purchasing or shopping decision or using services. Through an information professional or library and information lens, one of the apps introduced is called MyLibrary!

I’m unfamiliar with library-related apps. The apps I introduce to patrons are mostly services that we offer the library. For example, we have an ebook and audiobook system, called OverDrive. Patrons can download the OverDrive app onto their Kindle or iPad tablets, or even iPhones, and listen to eBooks and audiobooks. There’s also Hoopla, which is a streaming service for TV shows, movies and music. They can download the Hoopla app onto their devices, as well. But, what MyLibrary! does is connect these services and their library account all in one place.

With MyLibrary! users can scan books at the library to know what their looking for and retrieve information for that book. They can also see all the available formats of that item at the library. The app also provides checking out ebooks from OverDrive and putting holds on items on their account. They can also search items in their library’s catalog. They can also see their account information like checked-out items and what is overdue. The app also features seeing the libary’s social media platforms. I haven’t taken a look at the app, but they said that a new feature being added was self-checkout. With this, users can check out the item by scanning the book themselves with the app.

Since the app can offers many features, doesn’t this take away from using the library’s services and what they have to offer, in a way? Doesn’t the app dissuade a patron from using the library’s catalog or calling the library with assistance of acquiring holds or looking up information of an item? What this app offers are also duties that circulation performs at the library. In a sense, doesn’t this app take away a circulation clerk’s role and job? While an app like this can be convenient, fast and accessible, I am concerned that it takes away of going to the library and using their services. Again, there is nothing that can beat human-to-human contact and personal assistance and conversations.

While these apps can be adapted or already are in LIS environments, one must think what their place will be like in the future for library settings.

Social Games

James Simpson, CEO and founder of Goldfire Studious, a HTML 5 startup focused on real-life, community based gameplay. In this talk, he focuses on the power of social games and how they are valuable within the gaming community to form connections.

Simpson first talks about how the internet has introduced new levels of connection.  While personal and social space still have a lot of advancing to do, video games have the power to sweep the social change on a global scale. Video games or social games offer basic form of communication. Simpson offers that half a billion people play video games every single week, and these numbers keep rising.  It’s not just teens that are a part of these statistics, but the gamers go into their twenties and thirties.

The main issue of perception of social games is being far from reality, that it presents anti-social behavior. An example Simpson uses is World of Warcraft. This game, in reality, is truly the most reality social game ever made. For a game to be truly social, it has to have the actual act of social interaction and forming new friendships. Simpson interviewed and talked to gamers, who had met their best/lifelong friends and couples who met through social games, such as World of Warcraft. This is real world stuff; it’s real world impact on real people’s lives. As you interact with people in “real” life, people also get these “real” and personal interactions with other people through a virtual world.

A point that Simpson brings up is that the gaming community lifts people up in times of struggle. Social games has become more than just entertainment and fun, but something that is a community and a family. Games started as something fun, can become something more.  Social games can bring people together; it’s a whole new different way and experience to meet people–people from all over–who have the same interest, likes, thoughts, and views with each other.

What is the future of these social games? It all comes down to personalization; to begin to collectively gather information of how to play, interact and form connections. As true matchmaking can be built into these worlds, there can be an algorithm inputted in these games that can determine who you will enjoy interacting with and who you will connect with. While these games are a misconception of being bad for society, these games set apart of being able to transcend the cultural barriers and form new connections that can be a positive impact on people’s lives.

 

YouTube for Librarians

Hello, everyone! Spring break is over and I’m out of blogging hibernation! I will continue to write about the current unit, social entertainment, and today I will write about how libraries are using YouTube.

One of the readings this week featured a webpage created by librarians for librarians depicting 40 samples of videos of how different librarians are using YouTube to promote their libraries. They break down the reasons for using YouTube into five categories:

  1. Marketing the Library
  2. Depictions of Libraries, Librarians and Patrons
  3. Contests
  4. Instructions
  5. Just Plain Fun

I will write about one video that the librarians shared in each category. Keep in mind, this webpage was created TEN years ago, and then I will focus on a how a library today is using YouTube. For that part, my example will be The New York Public Library.

For the first category, marketing, librarians use YouTube to promote their library and to get their patrons interested in events and programs that they are hosting. An example video of this is the Denver Public Library posted a video to showcase a “summer of reading.” The video was about “Kitty” (a man dressed in a kitty costume) who takes a summer job, but would rather spend the summer to spend some time at the library. The video shows him reading, hanging out with librarians, and playing games. This markets what the library has to offer during the summer time.

The second category, depictions, portrays representations of libraries, librarians and patrons. One video to illustrate this category is from Weird Al Yankovic’s movie, UHF, and focuses on his character, Conan the Librarian. This depictions is more comical. For example, when a patron asks for books in astronomy, Conan the Librarian lifts him up and says intimidatingly, “Don’t you know the Dewey Decimal system?” This category is to show how librarians and libraries are viewed, seen or depicted generally or maybe even stereotypical.  Some of these videos poke fun, too.

The third category, contests, is another way to market a library, but also a way for patrons to engage and interact with their library creatively. This video, from the Columbus Public Library, was a video submission for Gale’s “Why I Love My Library” contest. Their video was was one of the top five finalists and the winner receives $100,000. The video uses pop-up book combining digital still images and live footage in 3 dimensional space. The video is about “discovering a new world” at the library.

The fourth category, instruction, is for librarians to show tutorials, how-to’s and basic instructions of using their services, databases and other educational and research matters.  For example, this video provides a useful explanation of using boolean operators in a library’s subscribed databases when conducting a search.

The last video, just plain fun, is self-explanatory.  The purpose of these videos are to show the “fun” side of the library–to engage patrons in a interesting and fun way. This video, from University of Illinois library, shows books being used as dominoes.

As I previously stated, this webpage was created ten years ago. So, let’s look how a popular today, The New York Public Library, is using YouTube today! The New York Public Libary’s YouTube channel has over 9,000 followers and about 645 videos.  Most of NYPL’s videos comprise of the first category, marketing their services, programs, events and the library itself. The NYPL has a series of videos called “Inside the Library,” which takes a closer look into different sections of the library, like periodicals, buildings, maps collections and other features. Their are videos on their programs, like story time for toddlers and short films of author talks. They also have a series of videos called “Library Stories” where people talk about inspiration, knowledge and lifelong learning.

YouTube can be a visual and interactive way for libraries to connect with their community and users.

Can Online Gaming Be Educational?

This week for class, I watched a video of 13-year old, Lewis Tachau, talking about how online gaming has helped his communication, cooperation, and socialization skills.  Here’s the video below:

Tachau explains that the game he plays, “World of Tanks,” made him interested in World War II and began to learn about tanks, like the ones that he played in the game, and their part in the war. Tachau spewed facts about the tanks’ advantages and disadvantages in the war, how tanks were used, their strategies in battles, how they are hard to make, and so on. It’s interesting to see that from playing an online game such as this, that a kid Lewis’ age, can become interested in a subject and take upon himself of reading about it. Lewis also then explains the socialization skills of this online game.He connects with other kids who have the same interests, personality and thoughts.

With that in mind, should libraries incorporate more of these online educational games for children? Are they beneficial? Can children really learn from them? And develop these kinds of skills that Lewis did in his presentation?

I’m no expert in games or any sort of video games at all. I remember when I was a kid in elementary school and playing Zoombinis during computer class. With no knowledge of what kinds of educational games are out there, my teacher posted links to three online educational games: Webkinz, Penguin Club, and Moshi Monsters. Webkinz is an online game where you can adopt and take care of a pet, while playing educational games, puzzles and activities. Penguin Club is where they explore different islands, play activities and socialize. Moshi Monsters is just like Webkinz, but taking care of a monster! What I find important of these games is that the moderators stress for a safe and fun environment. The social chat and interaction is closely moderated and restricted to provide a safe space for kids for online chatting. These kinds of games would be fun to have at libraries I think! I think these kinds of games could serve the purpose of both having fun and learning.

It also introduces kids to an online network and communication for the first time. Since this will be a new experience for them, it’s good for the games to be moderated. Also, it will prepare them to use social media in a couple year’s time!

What do you think about online educational gaming? Good or bad for kids? Should libraries use them?

Uses for Social Media Other Than Marketing

For this blog post, I want to address the question: “What can information professionals do with social publishing tools other than marketing?”

Social publishing tools, such as blogs and Twitter, are great to market a businesses’ brand, services, products and content.

For information professionals, social media is ideal for marketing their organization. Such as librarians marketing their library’s services, materials, events and programs. Could libraries use these social media publishing tools for personal use? For example, librarians can create blogs and have different staff members post something that is thoughtful, creative or personable. A staff member can comment or post about a book they recently enjoyed, or a book that they disliked. Other topics could include music, movies and TV shows, or respond to news related to literature or other information organizations.

On Twitter, information professionals can share or retweet news from major information organizations like New York Public Library, Library of Congress or the Smithsonian. Librarians can share tweets of exciting news, promotions or facts. For example, Library of Congress usually tweets “Today in History. Librarians can retweet this to their followers for them to see.

Information professionals can also use social publishing tools for education means. Librarians can post facts and interesting tidbits. But importantly, information professionals can offer how-to’s and instruction guides on how how to use a library catalog or database, or how to search for an article. Librarians can post tutorials for students of how to write a paper, how to use citations or how to read an academic paper. For adults, librarians can post tutorials on how to use devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Androids.

With social media, to reach your audience, sometimes you have to think outside the box!