I had the opportunity to go listen to Jack Dorsey, one of the creators of Twitter, talk the other night at The College of New Jersey. Janie Hermann found out about it and let me know it was happening, and we met up with Julie (Strange Librarian) there for the hour long talk. The talk was recorded by TCNJ and the video is posted here: http://www.tcnj.edu/~pa/video/twitter09/ .
I definitely recommend you take a look at the video and listen to Jack for yourself. Below are just a few of the things that stood out for me.
A soft-spoken guy, Jack talked about how he had the idea for what today is Twitter since he was 15. He said that when starting something the hardest thing to do is TO START, and I think we can all relate to that! He spoke about getting your ideas out of your head, onto paper and into discussions with others so you can find out if there really is something to the idea or not. If you don’t get the idea out of your head and start sharing and playing with it, then you’ll not only never know if that idea is anything, but it will be difficult to move on with the next thing, the next idea, that might be something!
This relates to the transparency and openness that Jack talked about a lot. Communication and fostering a community where ideas (and even mistakes and problems) are shared is really important to how Twitter has been able to grow and to become so successful. The best lesson he said he could offer is to start from a place of transparency and to be open to criticism and suggestions. Some of the best features of Twitter did NOT come from the company. The “@” replies feature, the retweet (RT), the hashtags, and even the concept of each update as a “tweet,” all came from the USERS! The awesomeness of Twitter today is all because they went out with an idea and said this is what we have. We’re not sure what it’s good for, but we think you’ll know! As a result, today Twitter is something they couldn’t have even imagined when they started it.
These days Twitter receives thousands of suggestions and ideas every day. As a company, their challenge is deciding which ideas to say no to, and then to actually say no to those things. Based on all of the input how do you decide? Jack said he realized that the business had to become a good editor. Company as editor.
As a business, Twitter has to choose what suggestions might add to the value and usefulness of Twitter. They would like to say yes to ideas that speak to 80% of the users and that sustain the technology and the company. They have to edit out those ideas and suggestions that will not improve Twitter. He also spoke about the business as editor when it comes to who works there – how do you choose who to hire and how do you decide when the relationship is no longer beneficial and it’s time to part ways? It’s all about editing.
He also said he isn’t interested in what market is using Twitter when a question came from the audience about how teens are (supposedly) not using Twitter. Jack said he wasn’t worried about what market uses Twitter, but about building a great product people love to use.
We also got a glimpse into what might be coming in the future when Jack talked about being really interested in immediacy and transparency and the health care and finance industries. He spoke about the fact that health and health care, especially one’s own health, is probably one of the most important things to and for us. However, most of us don’t understand what’s going on with health care. It is similar with global finance. This has a huge impact on all of our lives, but there are very few people who understand any of it. He said that health care and finance are two huge areas that he feels could really benefit from immediacy and transparency. I wonder what he has in mind!?
Check out some photos and more info here: https://www.tcnj.edu/~business/Twitter.html
You can also see the TCNJ press release for the event here: http://www.tcnj.edu/~pa/news/2009/dorsey.htm
Do take a look at the video – I would love to hear what you all think of his talk!
November 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm Amy
Just a quick post to share a few articles and links that I have found interesting/useful/funny — and sometimes all three. These are in no particular order and with no particular theme.
Why Facebook is for Old Fogies: A humorous article from TIME with lots of truth mixed in about why adults want and need to be on Facebook. A great handout to add a little levity for classes on social networking or for any bibliography for a presentation. My favorite reason from the list:
10. We’re not cool, and we don’t care. There was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook. That time has passed. Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up. At this point, it’s way cooler not to be on Facebook. We’ve ruined it for good, just like we ruined Twilight and skateboarding. So git! And while you’re at it, you damn kids better get off our lawn too.
Building Your Base Toolkit: A great resource for those who do library programming from the New York State Library and hosted by the Mid-Husdon Library System. This site is designed to give libraries “tools for connecting with your community” and has lots of good marketing advice in addition to tips for running successful library programs. I am always on the lookout for new programming ideas and they have a lot of good ideas on the Creative Programming page.
Twitter Basics for Librarians: This post is meant to help libraries and librarians start using Twitter, but it could easily be adapted for any group or for a handout for a basic class on twitter at your library. This post also led my to discover Tweeters Directory: Librarians, twitter resource that I had not seen before (although I am undecided about adding my name as I like to keep my following/followers list small and hate to decline people).
Flickriver: My new favorite way to browse and explore flickr, but be warned that this site can be a giant time suck. If you want to have lots of fun, do a search for the tag “librarian” and sort by “interesting” — here are the results of this search. It is so cool that Cindi’s photos comprise 3 of the top 5 and very telling that many of the “interesting” shots comprise photos of the stereotypical “sexy” librarian image. Oh, and the “librarians in shower caps” mosaic ranks quite highly too! Of course, it is always fun to search for your user name too. The black background and not needing to click to get to the next image just makes the browsing so much better.
Best and Worst Blogs 2009: The second annual list by TIME “spanning politics, housekeeping, astronomy and everything in between”. I found a few new blogs to check out thanks to this list and was happy to see many of my favorites included. The Most Overrated Blogs list is short but right on the money.
March 5, 2009 at 8:50 am Janie Hermann
A colleague and I were discussing the recent Facebook TOS kerfuffle and she said she was fascinated by how much privacy people are willing to give away in exchange for a desired experience. I agreed that I am equally fascinated, and that it is vitally important for librarians to be on the vanguard of monitoring these trends, and educating our customers as to the possible risks of sharing too much information.
But I also think that librarians, at times, can be too knee-jerk about privacy issues, and I wonder if while looking at one end of the Facebook dustup (big corporation trampling on privacy rights) we might be missing some important lessons on the other end (big corporation letting customers control their own information in exchange for a highly engaging experience. And Facebook DOES give customers a tremendous, leading edge, amount of control. See: “10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know.)
We all know that people (myself, and probably you included) will share personal information in exchange for a quality experience. We share personal renting and buying habits in exchange for Netflix and Amazon recommendations. We share personal reading habits on GoodReads and LibraryThing to connect with others who share our interests and tastes. We share our credit card numbers with many online vendors in exchange for the convenience of “one-click” ordering.
We know all this, and we personally experience the benefits, but librarians still seem generally loathe to let our customers share their personal information in exchange for anything. We don’t just protect customer privacy, we paternalistically protect it from the customers themselves, rendering them childlike. Our privacy philosophy often reduces down to, “We know better”, or “You can’t be trusted with that–you’ll hurt yourself.”
Our choice to disallow customer control of their own information means that their needs for connection and social networking go unmet, which in turn creates opportunities for entrepreneurial companies like Library Elf, GoodReads, and LibraryThing (created by frustrated library lovers, I wonder?) to come in and fill those needs. Which is great, but why aren’t libraries creating and offering these experiences?
I worry every day about whether libraries will be relevant, three, five, or ten years from now. Unless we start allowing our customers to make decisions about their own personal data, AND start building systems that offer them a social networked experience based on their ability to selectively share their heretofore private info, I fear that libraries will grow increasingly irrelevant to our customers.
February 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm Peter Bromberg
Man oh man was there a lot of twittering going on at ALA midwinter. Ain’t it great that so many librarians are using Twitter to shed light on the decision making going on in Committees and let the rest of the organization know — in real time — what’s getting a thumbs up or a thumbs down, who’s arguing for what, and why.
As Karen Schneider brilliantly put it, (ALA) “Council may not be interested in transparency, but transparency is interested in Council.” All good. All good.
Since this radical real-time transparency thing is all still kind of new to some of us I thought a short guide on the etiquette of live twittering of committee business might be helpful:
- Twittering the real-time decisions of your committee: GOOD
- Twittering snide, insulting, remarks about your fellow committee members while they speak: NOT GOOD
- Twittering snide, insulting remarks about your fellow committee members while they speak and marking it with #ala09 hash tag to ensure that the widest possible audience sees your comment: REALLY VERY NOT GOOD
Yes, this really happened. No, I’m not naming names. I can tell you this though: My respect for the committee member that was twitter-slagged remains
in tact intact. My respect for the slagger is in the toilet and I’m reaching for the handle.
I’m still deciding how (or if) to address what happened. Any suggestions are welcomed.
February 3, 2009 at 7:36 am Peter Bromberg
Confession: I don’t get Facebook. I try to get it. Really I do. But my experience has been, well, kinda like this:
May 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm Peter Bromberg