Make ALA Connect Work For You: An appeal for Notifications ON!

July 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm 3 comments

UPDATE 7/28/09, 3:00 PM: Check out Jenny Levine’s post on changes coming to ALA Connect–esp. regarding improvements in notifications!
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I’m excited, hopeful, and joyously optimistic about ALA Connect, ALA’s hybrid social network, bulletin board, listserv, calendar, project management tool.

Like all networks ALA Connect is only as useful and powerful as the number people that use it; and in fact it is getting exponentially more useful and powerful with each new user.

The more I use the ALA Connect, the more I realize that selectively turning on Email Notifications is key (for me) to integrating Connect into my professional life. This ensures that updates (the ones I want anyway) are pushed out to me, which is important as I only tend to pay attention to whatever wanders into my field of vision…

I’m appealing to you, dear reader; help ALA Connect thrive and grow by logging in and turning on your notifications too–and help spread the word by posting this attractively designed and competitively-priced banner ad (in both border and non-border stylings you’ll notice) on your blog, homepage, or social network of choice. Extra points for tattooing directly upon your body. No pictures please, I’ll take your word for it.

Another feature I’ve found useful for keeping up in Connect is the ability to view my unread messages through the “My Unread” page and feed. Links to your “My Unread” content can be found on the lower right of the ALA Connect page under “Community Notifications”. (These links will work for you if you’re logged in to ALA Connect–otherwise you’re seeing “access denied” messages.)

To learn more about ALA Connect, check out the these great video tutorials created by Emerging Leaders Group I (aka Melissa Dessent, Ahniwa Ferrari, Jaime Hammond, Jennifer Jarson, Jason Kucsma). The videos are in the process of being uploaded to ALA Connect proper.

Thanks everyone, see you on ALA Connect!

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3 Comments

  • 1. Emily Ford  |  July 31, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Right on! Not saying I'd add this to my tattoo collection, but I agree with you that if a user-generated movement starts to use and promote ALA Connect, it will become a much better resource for us.

  • 2. Lazygal  |  September 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    If ALA really wants ALA Connect to work, it’ll drop all the e-lists. It’s too much for me to keep up with if some information goes to AASLFORUM and the ISS List (for example) and other bits to to ALA Connect. Every time I look at the site, I find no content for any of my groups. So what’s the point? Sorry to rant, but it seems like either “inside” ALA buys into and uses it as the primary form of communication, or it’ll just die on the vine.

  • 3. Peter Bromberg  |  September 15, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Thanks for your comment Lazygal.

    I think there are two distinct issues with implementing ALAConnect and it might be useful to separate them. The first issue is: Does ALA Connect have the potential to be a useful tool for ALA Units and Member groups? I think it does, and I’ve seen it working in action. The Young Librarians Working Group (http://connect.ala.org/node/73093) is one example of a group that is using ALAConnect VERY effectively to conduct their business.

    The second issue is trickier: How does ALA migrate members/units over to ALAConnect when there are already existing tools and channels of information (like the lists) that are already being effectively used to conduct and support the business of the association?

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Young Librarians group is making such great use of ALAConnect because they are “ALAConnect Natives”. In other words, they came into existence after ALAConnect and were “born” into that system.

    There are a few things ALA can do to help the association make better use of what ALA Connect has to offer:
    1) Develop and implement a structured marketing/training initiative to raise awareness of what ALAConnect is, and how to use it. (easier said than done–but I suspect it would be worth the effort)
    2) Set a deadline at which time the listservs will cease and ALAConnect will become the sole means of intra-unit communication.
    3) Change the default so email notifications are “on” rather than off for all members. I call this the nuclear option, and it’s probably not a realistic, or even a good choice. But it would be interesting to try it on a limited scale (say with a smaller Round Table if they were willing) to see what would happen.

    Finally, your point about how keep checking your ALAConnect groups for activity, finding none, points out a basic conundrum for any new network. The network is only as valuable as the number of people using it–but how do you get people to use it if no one else is? Think, if you were the first person to sign up for Facebook, would you have ever returned??? :-) Networks need a certain critical mass before they reach that tipping point of usefulness. The only thing I can suggest is that if you want to see ALAConnect work for the Association, start adding content yourself–and start communicating with your colleagues across ALA, encouraging them to turn on their notifications and start adding content. As more people do this, ALAConnect will hit that Tipping Point and it will become THE mode of communication and collaboration for our Association.


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