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ALA Program - Virtual Reference Discussion Group

Sat. July 11

Opening presentation by Julie Strange, Coordinator Maryland AskUs Now

using Twitter and Facebook/MySpace - for different reasons/purposes

using twitter because staff page was running off Front Page (not easy to work with) - wanted a way to update staff page frequently with questions being asked by patrons from chat service - moved to twitter feed

-not promoting but to use the feed it has to be public - people started seeing the posts and began replying/answering them via twitter
-also post customer comments (from feedback forms)

-following others because they wanted to open up the direct messaging
-they're opening up communication/starting relationship
-use search feature in twitter to find what people are saying about your library - gives you an opportunity to insert yourself in the communication - being proactive

-proactive reference - putting answers to (anticipated) questions people may want to know about and adding - jumping the gun
ex. for Thanksgiving Day - add to page "How do you create a vegetarian Thanksgiving?"

Q: Have you had any issues with privacy?
A: No, we haven't had anyone objecting or complaints. We just decided to do this and put it out there.
AskCO (also on twitter) has statement on their website: "We reserve the right..."
Managing the social network sites:
-3 people work on them - it was starting to get to be too much for one person so Julie asked for volunteers from participating libraries for help
-one person solely works on MySpace
-her and another person work on updating Facebook and Twitter

looking at saving more time by repackaging content from one point - drupal. staff page is moving to drupal platform which will allow management and updates from one location to go out to all points: twitter, facebook, myspace, staff page, portal

they're finding us through statewide portal but also through serendipity - no promotion

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