Tag Archives: Facebook

Why I’ve started using a third party app for Facebook

I’ve recently noticed that posts I’m writing on Facebook for pages I administer aren’t then popping up in my feed. At first I thought maybe it was just random, or related to the fact that I am the author of the post, but after talking to someone I’m on the West Midlands Members Network with I realised it wasn’t just me, as the author, who couldn’t see the posts – it was our users too.

This is obviously problematic, if my users can’t see my post they can’t engage in it. So I did a little digging online to try to solve the problem and found this article: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/03/the-filtered-feed-problem/ Essentially, it is not a problem or a fault at all, but caused by Facebook filtering what it’s users see in their timeline.

The article talks you through a simplified version of the actual equation, but the most powerful determinants of whether a post is shown in the feed include:

  • How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are the post creator’s past posts with everyone
  • How popular is this post with everyone who has already seen it
  • How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer
  • Does the type of post (status update, photo, video, link) match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past
  • How recently was the post published

though there are many more factors that impact visibility. This does not make me happy, either as a Page administrator, or as a user.

Take the CILIP West Midlands Facebook page as an example. The committee, for a variety of reasons, was fairly inactive last year and that included all of their social media, including Facebook. This means that our engagement with our followers is low and has been low for some time. I thought that by starting to post regularly it would help signify to our users that the new Regional Members Network (CILIP Branches merged with the local CDG and PTEG groups on April 1st) was up and running and active. But this won’t work if our users cannot see our posts.

As a user I want to be able to filter my news feed myself. I have friends on there that I’ve blocked from my feed, (and Farmville and Candy Crush Saga!) the friends and pages that I want to hear from, I want to see everything, not just posts from people I’ve interacted with recently, particularly because I use it for staying in touch with old uni friends. I don’t contact them regularly, but I still want to see updates! It shouldn’t matter how recently I’ve interacted with them up until that point!

When I got an Android tablet last year I wanted an app that would list my Twitter feed on my homepage, instead of just a link to the app. I tried a few, but Plume offered me the feature I wanted. It also gives you the ability to link more than one Twitter account so I’ve found it quite useful for browsing my personal and work/CILIP WM Twitter accounts as well. When I realised that Facebook was essentially hiding some of my news feed from me I linked my Facebook account to it as well. It doesn’t display third party images very well, but it means I don’t miss things coming into my feed, and I’ve been able to like posts from people whose posts I haven’t seen due to the filtering, which means their posts are now showing in my feed in the Facebook app!

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Facebook and general Social Media ramblings!

Social media, specifically their use by libraries, has been a bit of a theme for my work life for the last week or so.

Last week I submitted a book review to the Health Libraries Group newsletter on ‘Building Communities: Social networking for academic libraries‘ which focussed mainly on Facebook and Twitter. While the book is aimed at academic libraries, I think the ideas can be implemented in all types of libraries.

I administer the Facebook Page for my Library service, and while our number of followers is low, it is (very) slowly growing. Garofalo suggests sending out posts twice a week – enough to keep you popping up in the followers feed, but not enough to bombard them – and in all honesty I haven’t sent out many posts recently. Facebook is blocked on the work network so I have to use the one computer in the IT suite that is on the University network or do it at home (which isn’t really in my job description, but happens occasionally anyway!) The only problem with using the university computer is that if a student wants it I can’t have it, and typically when I make time to post something there’s a student sat there!

So I decided this week, with my post-book-review renewed enthusiasm for all things social media, that I was going to have a play with scheduled posts – I’ve known about it for some time, but never thought much about experimenting with it. I sat down yesterday and went through my diary for a few things to post about – I’ve picked a good few weeks to trial this with, we have a cake sale, two roadshows and three drop-in training sessions over the next five weeks so I’ve scheduled posts advertising all of them. The first scheduled post is due to go out tomorrow, which should be interesting!

Another piece of advice that Garofalo gave was to link your Library’s Facebook, Twitter and blog – which is something I did when we set up the Facebook and Twitter about two years ago – so as well as my scheduled posts users will be seeing anything that comes in from our blog – which we post to quite regularly – and our Tweets. Our Facebook doesn’t post to Twitter, I recall some logic to the decision when I made it two years ago, but can’t for the life of me recall it now, so I’m planning to set that up soon which will help populate our Twitter a little. We have managed to get our Twitter unblocked for a small number of library staff so that we can send messages from our desks, but we don’t always make time for it – maybe I should schedule some tweets too?!

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Organising Events

Sorry for the long break between posts – but recently I have been so busy I honestly haven’t had time! I’m doing my PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course at a local college as I’m hoping it will help improve my Training skills At the very least it’s a qualification, as well as being something I identified on my ACLIP PDP. Staying late at college on Wednesdays combined with my latest attempt to actually use my gym membership as well as all of my other usual commitments hasn’t left me with a lot of time lately, but I feel like I’m finally settling into a routine!

One of the commitments that’s taking up most of my thoughts, if not the hours in my day, is organising various events. For over two years now, I’ve been a member of the West Midlands Health Libraries Network’s  Para-Professionals group which organises training events for Library and Information Assistants. Last October I attended our event on High Impact Displays, which was very useful and we’re planning to running it again, although it looks like this will be next year now, so this year we’re planning to run a session on Information Search Skills in May.

I also sit on the Committee for the West Midlands Division of the CILIP Career Development Group and we are working with the Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) to run a ‘Librarians as Teachers Event’ in June. I’m in charge of the publicity for this one, which includes the event’s website as well as posting to the CILIP WM Facebook page and promoting the event on Twitter  and co-ordinating sending messages to various mailing lists. I’m gaining invaluable experience doing this – even in my role with the Para-Professional Group our courses don’t get advertised this widely so I tend not to have the range of opportunities that the LAT event has opened up.

Moving forward I think that one day I’d like to get involved with organising larger, even national, events – although I might practise with local ones for a bit longer!!

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Lean processes

I recently read The Wikiman’s ‘The curse of ‘oh, we already did that’’ and he made some good points about trying things again when they’ve failed before.

As part of my Masters I wrote my dissertation on the use of Web 2.0 tools by Libraries and during this I spoke to our Site Librarian about tools such as Facebook, to find out we used to have one before I started, but no one was interested. This year we tried again. I’m not sure whether we just haven’t promoted it adequately or if people just aren’t interested but it’s not doing very well at all (the only ‘likes’ we have are from Library staff!) but honestly I’m not going to let it put me off. We’re planning on completely re-doing our website in the next twelve months and this will include a new content management system – I’m hoping that a plugin for Facebook will be a bit easier to embed than with the current CMS, which should drive more traffic towards it.

The Wikiman also talked a bit about Lean – there’s no distinct definition but it’s a way of looking at your processes and asking ‘can you make it more efficient?’ We recently did this with a few processes in our Library and I like the changes that have been made. We looked at our registration process first: we had different forms for different types of users; now we have one. OK, so there are some boxes that aren’t relevant to everyone, but it’s better than interrogating new members. Another change was that for NHS registrations we now sign up to NHS Athens on their behalf. Yes, it’s added a few minutes to the time it takes to process the registration form, but we’re saving hours troubleshooting the process over the phone when we can’t see the screen to point out the problem (assuming of course they’re seeing what I think they’re seeing!) Obviously our Athens users statistics have gone up, but our usage statistics are also going up too so these accounts are being used, when previously they might not have registered at all.

One of the reasons we did it was to save staff time. Typically this eventually leads to the question,  ‘if we end up saving a lot of time, will my job be at risk?’ Firstly, we haven’t saved that much time, a few minutes a day each – but the idea of us doing this was to free up our time for other things. Various possibilities are floating round for long term plans including an instant messaging support service (which our university partners offer on their own websites) and just generally being in the library helping people (instead of sitting in the office processing registration forms) but they are things we just don’t have time for at present.

If you get a chance I recommend reading the Wikiman’s article – he had a rather nice example of asking ‘yeah, but WHY though?’ in the penultimate paragraph!

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Thing 19: Integrating ’Things’

I have to say I don’t really know where to start with this one! There are a few tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Calendar that I was already using. My use of these tools hasn’t increased, although I have joined library related groups on Facebook and found some new people to follow on Twitter. I’m still considering joining LinkedIn, but I don’t know a huge number of people who use it, so I don’t know whether it’s worth my time, especially if I won’t have a large network (the value of what you get out of it seems proportional to the size of your network).

Thanks to CPD23 I have discovered Evernote – which I think is fantastic. But a lot of its value comes from being able to access it from my Smartphone, so even when I have no internet access I can still view notes and add new ones. It’s a very handy way to store information, not just in notes, but by saving the documents themselves too. When I’m out and about, especially at Brownies meetings, having access to a document someone has sent me is very useful. Especially if something’s unexpectedly popped up in conversation (usually starting with ‘I didn’t get that email about …’) and you need to look up training course details etc without having a computer or a mobile internet signal. Again, I could previously use these documents on my phone, but I couldn’t group them together, nor could I find them easily, so Evernote really has been very useful to me.

The real-life networks Thing was very good too – I had a chance to socialise with some new (and a few not-so-new) people when we met up in Wolverhampton. (Honestly, it was just nice to make a change from my normal routine!) Since then, I’ve also attending my first NHS Midlands Regional Trainer’s Forum meeting, so I’ve expanded my network in that direction too. It was nice to meet up with everyone, some of whom were previously just names in email headers, and we discussed a variety of things from e-learning to open access journals and we even had a talk from someone from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) about some of their online resources, although he admitted we, as health librarians, might be just as familiar with them as he was!

Prezi is another Thing that I can see being useful in the future. Especially if at a conference, or at an interview, where you want to make yourself stand out a little bit, or even just to show off your new IT skills! I think that Prezi is a much more flexible presentation tool than PowerPoint and highlights a different set of skills, as well as allowing the presenter to be a bit more creative than a ‘standard’ linear presentation.

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Thing 6: Online Networking

I originally joined Facebook to keep in touch with University friends, but since then I’ve added old school friends, various current and former colleagues and even some cousins I don’t see very often. I’ve always tried to keep it more for personal stuff, but as I’ve ‘liked’ CPD23, and my CILIP Special Interest Groups (CDG and HLG) it’s also being used for more work related stuff.

I’m not what you’d call an active user; yes I check my friends’ updates regularly, but I don’t post all that often. There’s a mixture of reasons, including ‘my daily life isn’t always exciting enough to post about’ and ‘I don’t see the point in photographing my food’ (you can laugh, but I know people who do this and mobile internet has made it worse!) but I think as I get more involved in professional networking that my Facebook use might pick up – not so much the posting, but talking to people through the site. It’s a great way to talk to someone you’ve only met a few times, or know of, but haven’t properly met yet.

I think the main advantage of Facebook is photo sharing and advertising events. With Twitter you can post one photo per ‘tweet’, but with Facebook you can add whole albums of photos. With the events you can put all of the details and discussion in one place and people can be invited and asked to invite others – it’s a good way to spread word of mouth, while making sure that the correct details are being passed on.

This year the library that I work for joined Facebook and Twitter – I’ve been put in charge of the Facebook account and while I try to post to this regularly and advertise it on our monthly newsletter we still only have library staff who follow it. Short of sending invites to all of our library members (which seems a bit over the top) I’m not sure what else we can do to bring the numbers up (any ideas would be greatly appreciated!) but it tells me that our library members want to keep Facebook for personal not work related things as well.

I have joined CILIP Communities, although I have yet to make any friends because it’s difficult to find time for a good browse of who is on there. I do like the Announcements section and the ability to store documents – as well as the feed from my blog on the left! (On a side note I couldn’t get the RSS feeds from CILIP Communities to work on my WordPress blog – does anyone know why? Without being able to see any error messages I’m not sure why it’s not working!) I also like the blogs section on CILIP Communities, especially the Bloggers Landscape where members blogs are included as it’s a good way to find library related blogs (it’s how I first found herslantfinely and the CILIP WM Blog) I’m planning on using my blog over the summer to record my reflective writing from the HLG 2012 conference and various other things, so I might look at getting my self added to the Bloggers Landscape in time for this.

I haven’t joined LinkedIn yet – although I have been thinking about it. What do people think of the site? I’d be really interested to know if people find it worth while. I have to say though that I did like the quote in the CPD23 post: “Facebook is the backyard BBQ; LinkedIn is the office” I think that it is an apt description!

I think LISNPN might be useful too. I’m planning to work towards my Chartership after I finish my Certification so I think it’ll be a handy place to be able to seek advice and make connections.

 

 

As a preview for Thing 7 next week I’m planning to go to the CILIP WM/CPD23 meet up in Wolverhampton on Thursday 14th June. Details here: http://communities.cilip.org.uk/blogs/cilipwestmidlands/archive/2012/06/07/informal-meetup-for-cpd23-participants-and-others.aspx I look forward to meeting lots of new people!

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