Having taken Andy Burkhardt’s suggestion and set up a few feeds from Twitter searches, I’ve seen local tweets about books, reading, study etc ….
And so I wonder (because I am not yet a reference or social librarian): if a social librarian were to pick up messages like these, what would be a suitable reply? Ah. That, I guess, will derive from the strategy which would have preceded (and been reviewed perhaps after) the listening stage 😛
Jesus. Barely an hour into Ryan Holiday's "Trust Me I'm Lying" and I'm already blown away. You need to read it. Yes, you.
I want another word for that… for the way this idea is like hunting people to serve. I can see a comedic Monty Python skit with librarians in deerstalkers or pith helmets carrying tablets and nets, stalking tweeters in the wild to answer questions they didn’t even realise they had made 🙂
But, if reference was my job in either place, would that be appropriate? I think it would be fantastic marketing, but if not, why not?
Target searching and responding to bloggers
A similar suggestion made back in 2006 has kept a part of my brain buzzed about ubiquitous reference ever since. Brian Mathews described [pdf] following 40 blogs of people who had identified themselves as students of his institution and searching them for specific keywords.
article, assignment, book, group, help, journal, library, librarian, paper, project, professor, research, reserve, and test
He gave examples of help he gave that students appreciated. An important discovery he made in the process that students objected to official “librarian” contact but welcomed responses under his name (he had librarian in his profile). Brian concluded that
such a service provides “timely, meaningful, and intuitive assistance … creates a personal connection … [and] allows them to see us as allies”.
Now, just so that I can finally close the tab that has been open since I was researching RSS uses; a quick synopsis of what Elyssa Kroski had to say in April about monitoring social media.
She proposed and describes using the start page tool protopage. (I am enjoying Google Reader, it lets stuff disappear when you’ve skimmed it).
She lists how to find search feeds on a variety of tools: blogging services Google, WordPress and IceRocket; the search tools naturally Bing and Google Alerts; a few aggregators and LinkedIn and Facebook – although I think that one is already out of date.
Leave the bubble
Monitoring for public comment is one reason to search for mentions of the library – but it detects only those who are already aware of the library and service. Searching the wider community for the keyword book or article , read or reading, or someone suggested “?” allows you to pop the bubble, even if it does risk getting wet.