After Google Reader: Feedly & Digg Readers

People who have been using Google Reader have been scrambling to find an adequate solution to replace their beloved feed reader.  Back in March, I wrote post on reader options for those looking to migrate before the end of Google Reader.  I never really got into the Google Reader.  I was a Bloglines girl who threw all of her feeds to Google Reader in a panic just before Bloglines disappeared.  In months following the Bloglines blow up, I settled on Netvibes.  At the time, I liked Netvibes integration with my social media and feeds.  As I mentioned in my post in March, I haven’t been reading my Netvibes as much as I used to.  While I liked Netvibes, something was missing.  I suspected it was because it didn’t have an app, but now I think it was a combination of things.

When Google decided to pull the plug on its reader I decided to investigate different feed readers again to determine if I found one better than Netvibes or if I really even needed a reader now.  These days I get a lot of my information from Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook.  People are tweeting their blog posts, or interesting questions, topics, issues, etc. and I wondered whether my social media feeds caused me to move beyond a feed reader.  This is kind of the same thing Marcela De Vivo at Search Engine Journal wondered with her post, “Google Reader Is Almost Gone, But Do You Really NEED An RSS Reader Replacement?

Could it be that Google is transitioning away from the RSS Reader format entirely? They’re switching over to Google Plus, and they want you to come with them.

Consuming social media as part of an RSS feed is not exactly new—that’s exactly what Digg is doing when it launches its own reader, the same day Reader shuts down. But to do away with readers entirely, relying solely on a social platform? When we’re looking at large-scale data consumption, is it a viable transition?

The answer is yes—if Google can pull it off. With the latest Google Plus redesign, this social platform is now much more social, making it easier to stream and share information. It could be possible to amass “feeds” of information… if you’re following the right people. And in order to make sure the right people are on Plus, Google got rid of it’s eminently popular Reader.

It could also be said that Google is simply following on the heels of a major trend in how we access information. RSS readers were designed for people to sit down and browse their collected feeds. But with the increasing number of those who use smartphones and tablets as their primary internet checkpoint, it’s more common to see people who are accessing information all day long, checking the latest news on a constant basis—which makes an integrated social media/reader platform much more probable option.

It is an interesting concept.  Right now I only use Google Plus for work at my institution. (The Department of Education is exploring its use for connecting and sharing within the department and increasing synergy.)  I play on it a bit for personal and library stuff, but I just haven’t gotten into it yet.  Maybe Google knows me better than I do, and Google Plus will be attached to my hip in a year’s time.  I remember saying years ago that Twitter was fun but I couldn’t think of using it professionally. Doh!

In the meantime I have not yet given up my feeds.  I decided to explore Feedly.  I don’t like the fact that Feedly doesn’t work with IE.  I know everybody talks about IE’s decline in the browser wars but the problem is that many major hospitals and larger companies use only IE.  Academia and the open natured technology industry have the flexibility to shun IE in favor of other browsers, but there is a large group of the working population that can’t.    I am not the only one who reads feeds at work, Feedly’s suggestions page has many comments on the IE issue.  Apparently the new Feedly Cloud feature might help IE users, but there are those on the suggestions page that seem to have problems with Cloud.

Now I am lucky in that I am able to use Firefox and Chrome on my work computer.  However, because there are a lot of hospital resources and other web resources that were created specifically for IE, it tends to be my browser of habit at work.  I noticed I am breaking that habit slowly.  I have Chrome up almost all the time for two reasons. 1. Our the Department of Education is exploring the use of Google Plus. 2. My life is on Google Calendar and I need to consult it often.

One of the nice things about Feedly is that it integrates very well with Chrome.  As soon as I launch Chrome the Feedly tab launches with my feeds.  This is actually is quite helpful to me and works perfectly with my morning current awareness reading habit.  When I login to my computer each morning the first thing I do is bring up Chrome for my calendar, so the Feedly tab with my feeds is right there too.  This has gotten me back into the habit of reading my feeds.

Feedly has an app and it is on my iPhone, but like Marcela mentioned, it is a bit clunky.  I don’t use Feedly on my phone as much as I thought.  I still use it more than I used Netvibes, mainly because it is an app on my phone.  I have found that on my phone Feedly has to compete for my attention among my other apps.  I tend to use apps that have the alert icons on more than the ones that don’t.  Because Feedly doesn’t have alerts showing up on the icon, it often gets ignored for other apps like Facebook, Hootsuite, mail, Words with Friends, news apps, etc. that all have alerts.  I see a little red number next to those apps and my brain says, “Ooh what’s new that I need to know about?”  I know I am easily distracted.

I have pretty much left Netvibes, it just didn’t fit into my work flow anymore.  I have moved to Feedly and while I am using it more than I used Netvibes, the jury is still out as to whether I keep it or move to only get information through Twitter.  Intellectually I am not ready for that kind of switch, but we’ll see if my daily life’s actions tell me otherwise.

For those that don’t like any of the options I mentioned in March, Digg is creating a reader that might interest you. They are certainly cutting it close, as they mentioned on their blog, their public release of version 1 will come just before Google shuts Reader down. Currently they sent out their first batch of invites to the survey participants who helped with their development process.  “Over the next few hours”, they’ll open Digg Reader to the rest of the users  signed up for early access.  If you want to try Digg you can sign up here: digg.com/reader. As they scale up over the next day or so, they’ll be adding users in increasingly larger batches. According to Digg, “this beta version is aimed first and foremost at Google Reader users looking for a new home in advance of its imminent shutdown.”  They have instructions on how to migrate from Google to Digg.

As they mentioned the beta version is very basic but they have plans to really improve it in updates.

Things Digg will be rolling out in the next few months include:

  • Search
  • Android app (before end of July)
  • Additional options like “View Only Unread” and “Mark As Unread”
  • Useful ways to rank and sort your posts and stories, such as (1) by popularity within your social networks, (2) by interestingness to you, and (3) by article length
  • Better tools for organizing feeds and folders, as well as support for tagging
  • More options for sharing and sending (e.g., to LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace, Evernote, Dropbox, Buffer), and integration of IFTTT functions
  • Browser extension and/or bookmarklet
  • Ability to import and export your data
  • Uber for cronuts

After reading more about Digg, it looks like I am going to have to check it out.  However, I am going to wait a bit.  I don’t need to jump Feedly’s ship just yet and the things I am interested in are not in the product yet.  Still it is interesting.

Business of Hospital Libraries on #medlibs Tomorrow

Join me tomorrow April 25th for a #medlibs Twitter chat at 6pm Pacific/9 Eastern on the topic of the business of hospital libraries, hosted by yours truly (@Krafty).

The Affordable Care Act has changed the way hospitals are reimbursed for medicare patients. In the past hospitals made more money off of patients who were readmitted for things they were orginally discharged with. Now, they are penalized for readmissions happening within 1 month of discharge for certain conditions. This means that a lot of hospitals are going to be seeing losses of millions of dollars.

Where does the library stand in the face of these losses when technology has changed the way we search for things and users often search Google before asking a librarian. The librarian needs to get lean and mean and start operating his/her library like a hospital department that is responsible for achieving the specific goals of the hospital. So if the hospital’s goal is to reduce readmissions by x% then the librarian needs to figure out specifically how the library can help the hospital do that. (If your answer is I can give them more literature searches, then think again because that won’t help you keep your job because administrators think they can do that already.)

This tweet chat will discuss the various ways librarians can specifically show their worth to their own administration instead of passivley pointing to some standard or study illustrating the need for a hospital library. We will be discussing ideas of what we can do to answer our administration’s always constant question “What have you done for me lately and why should I give you money instead of another department?” The game has changed and we need to change our strategy.

If you are new to Twitter or the idea of tweet chats then I highly recommend participating using the website http://www.tweetchat.com.  Login to the site using your Twitter username and password then type in the word medlibs into the box at the top of the page next to the go button.  You will be able to follow the discussion very easily and you won’t have to worry about adding #medlibs to every post because it already does that for you. For more information about tweet chats check out this quick guide.

Moderate a #Medlibs Discussion

The last month we have had some really good #medlibs discussions on Twitter.  Many have been moderated by guest #medlibs who host the discussion on a specific topic. 

Previous Topics:

I hosted the Apps and Tablets discussion (as well as several previous ones) it is not only fun but pretty darn easy to do.  You welcome everybody to the group discussion and then you get the ball rolling with a question, thought or talking point that you post.  From there the discussion almost takes on a life of its own.  If there are specific points or topics you want to make sure you hit, then you monitor the discussion and throw them in either when the discussion moves that way or after a certain amount of time. 

One important thing you need to know is you don’t have to be an expert in the topic to moderate.  You just have to have an inquisitive mind and the ability to ask questions.  The rest of the group will take the discussion and move with it.  Often there are several people with many different perspectives that can help educate you and the rest of the group.

So if there is a topic you are dying to discuss, please become a #medlibs moderator.  (Remember I said it is very easy.) Go to the #medlibs Calendar and click on a date that works for you.  Then enter your topic and information in the details link.  Once you have done that, you are on the schedule and we will look forward to tweeting with you.

Alternatives to Google Reader

I know I am a bit late with the news that Google is killing Google Reader.  I know lots of people who are upset about this.  For me the sky started falling back when Bloglines died.  Back then I migrated all of my feeds to Netvibes.  I could have gone the Google Reader route, but I just didn’t quite like Reader as much as Netvibes.  So while my feeds were both in Reader and Netvibes, I used Netvibes more.

For all of you Readers, you are probably wondering what you are going to do with your feeds.  First, let me tell you this is a really good time to evaluate and weed your feeds.  You also might want to evaluate if you still need a reader.  I have noticed that I have been using my reader less and less.  I don’t know if it is because of my personal and professional life changes and time constraints have made reading my feeds more difficult or if it is because I am getting my more of my news from Twitter.  I have noticed with my adoption of TweetDeck (and Hootsuite iPhone) for monitoring tweets, my reader use has dropped.  I have debated about dropping my feeds altogether.  But old habits die hard.

So if you still need a reader then you might want to check out a few of these sites to see if they suit you.

Netvibes – It has a free and premium version. Free is all you need and has plenty of features  Has very good social media integration.  Makes tweeting or facebooking  blog posts and other feed items very easy.  I still recommend using  TweetDeck or Hootsuite for monitoring Twitter overall.  It doesn’t have an app, but is mobile optimized but that has limited features.  Perhaps that is why I don’t use it as much.  As my husband will tell you, if it isn’t on my phone, it isn’t on my mind. 

The Old Reader - Is free.  Is designed to look and feel like old Google Reader, so if you liked that style, it  might be the perfect option for you. You can also follow other Old Reader users and share with them, similar to Google Reader.  They don’t have a mobile app but are supposedly working on one.  It is looks fine on a mobile device.

Feedly – Is free and has been around for quite a while.  Bad news for IE controlled institutions, Feedly doesn’t work with IE. It only works with Firefox and Chrome. It also requires you to install a plug in and if you have a locked down computer, it won’t work for you.  It too is a social media tool that easily lets you share things with your social network friends.  There are several layouts that are available for you to choose from.  They have the straight top to bottom feed style , full articles, or the Flipboard style.  Easy to transfer feeds from Reader, in fact I signed in using my Google ID and everything migrated seamlessly.  Feedly does have an app for iOS and Android. With demise of Reader there are quite a few upset people posting to the Feedly board about the lack of IE use.  There are many more people with companies that force IE use than just hospitals.

NewsBlur – Premium version costs $24/yr.  They have a free version but it caps the number of blogs, stories and public sharing options.  The blog and stories cap is the deal killer for me.  It caps you at 64 blogs and 10 stories at a time. Additionally they have temporarily stopped free users from signing up. Ptthhbbb.  I normally wouldn’t even mention them (I didn’t link them) but since other sites are recommending them, I felt obligated to at least mention them with their fees and stopping free user registration. Stupid considering this the time to grab users leaving Reader. Once they find a reader they won’t magically switch unless forced to.  Very short sighted of them and makes me thing even less of them.

While I wasn’t using Reader, I also dialed back my Netvibes reading considerably.  So instead of worrying about my Reader feeds from Google, I am going to take this time to investigate whether I even need a reader anymore by investigating Feedly.  I am not a big fan of the Flipboard style of things but that is no big deal because I can use the plain ol’ reader style.  While I like Netvibes, clearly I evolved beyond it for some reason.  My guess is because it doesn’t have an app.  That is why I am giving Feedly a try.  I am going to see if having my feeds synced to an app on my phone increases my use of them.  I am lucky to be able to have Firefox on my computer, but I rarely use it since much of our hospital stuff is IE.  So the whole Feedly experiment will be interesting to me.

Chat About Apps and Tablets Tomorrow on #Medlibs

Tomorrow (Thursday 3/7/13) at 9:00pm est, I will be hosting the #medlibs chat on apps and tablets.  What are you doing with apps? Are you creating a library specific app, catalog app, etc? Or do you have a good app guide that you want to share with others?  Is there a push for tablets within your institution, if so which one?  Can tablets access the EMR so that your docs & nurses can treat patients and do research with one device?

What other trends do you see or want discussed about apps and tablets?  Let me know?

Here are some sites you might be interested prior to the #medlibs chat.

Setting up iPad lending program
  • Nova Southeaster University Health Professions Division Library http://bit.ly/HApZqW – tips, resources
  • University of Groningen Central Medical Library http://bit.ly/15vCVqE -finding medical apps, information on adding bookmarks, (side bar has a lot of info)
  • Setting up a library iPad program: Guidelines for Success – http://crln.acrl.org/content/72/4/212.full Full text article in ACRL News by Sara Thompson at Briar Cliff University
  • Continuing the conversation: Integrating iPads and tablet computers into library services http://bit.ly/wgnMRS -ALA Tech Source article by Daniel Freeman

Policies and Procedures

App Stuff

Hope to see you on the chat tomorrow!  If you haven’t participated in a chat before, the easiest way to do it is use the cite TweetChat, login with your Twitter password and the follow #medlibs.

Mellen Drops Lawsuit against McMaster and Askey

According to this article from CBC News Edwin Mellen Press says it is dropping at least one of its lawsuits against Dale Askey.  The article does mention that EMP filed two lawsuits against Askey and McMaster for a total of $4.5 million in damages. 

EMP told the CBC that it “discontinued the court case against McMaster University and Dale Askey,” citing in a statement “financial pressure of the social media campaign and press on authors is severe. EMP is a small company. Therefore [it] mus choose to focus its resources on its business and serving its authors.”

So it appears according to this article that at lest 1 of the 2 lawsuits was dropped.  I couldn’t find any information on whether they planned to also drop the second.

If anybody knows please leave a comment with a link to the information.

Emerging Technology and Hospital Libraries

Thursday #medlibs will discuss the 2013 Horizon Report- Higher Education edition, “a decade-long research project designed to identify and describe   emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education.”

When we are talking higher education it is barely just a hop, skip, and a jump to think of how all of it will impact libraries in higher education.  While academic libraries will see the impact quicker, hospital libraries aren’t immune to the changes.  Because what is considered trending technology by medical students will be common place when they enter their residency programs in the hospitals and will be outdated when they are staff physicians.

So what kind of technology does the Horizon Report list and what will be talking about on #medlibs?

Happening in one year or less according Horizon:
(I say it is happening now)

  • Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Tablet Computing

Happening 2-3 years:

  • Big Data and Learning Analytics
  • Game Based Learning

Happening 4-5 years:

  • 3D Printing
  • Wearable Technology

As a hospital librarian I have to say that tablet’s have exploded and it is in our world now.  Big Data is the next “big money” thing that hospital librarians need to be aware of.  There are already academic librarian positions for data management dealing with research.  Hospital librarians might think that they don’t need to worry about data management because their institution doesn’t really do research. WRONG?!?!

If your hospital has an EMR, it has tons of data that it needs to manage and most likely that data is either just sitting there in the EMR or communicating poorly with a few of the hodge podge of other computer systems within your hospital.

Hospitals eligible for Medicare EHR Incentive Programs must demonstrate meaningful use of the EHR technology. “Eligible hospitals and CAHs that do not successfully demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology will be subject to Medicare payment adjustments beginning in FY 2015.” Read that as penalized.

Personally I see data management as a natural extension for libraries that have already been involved with IT and the EMR.

Here are two examples of many where hospitals are mining the data within the EMR to improve care.

  1. The Value of Data: It’s How You Use It.
  2. Health Fidelity Receives Grant from National Science Foundation to Support Use of EHR Data to Improve Quality of Care.

Perhaps I am old and my memory is failing but weren’t librarians talking about data mining in 2000? IT was mining for data withing bibliographic databases, but aren’t the principles the same?  Data mining and the EHR are one avenue that hospital librarians who are interested in the future of librarianship need to consider.

The Horizon Report lists other technologies, how do you see them impacting hospital librarians and when?  Feel free to comment below or better yet, join us Thursday at 9pm est. for the #medlibs discussion on Twitter.  (The easiest way to follow a discussion on Twitter is go to TweetChat, login using your Twitter login, then follow the #medlibs hastag.)

 

Host a #Medlibs Discussion

Due to Valentine’s Day there will be no #medlibs Twitter discussion this Thursday.  But the discussion will continue in the Thursdays to follow.  What started out as an experiment in discussing medical library issues with others via Twitter, has grown considerably.

Previous discussions have been on:

  • Disaster Planning (with participation from NLM Disaster Info https://twitter.com/NLM_DIMRC)
  • Embedded Librarianship
  • Data Management
  • Single Service Desk
  • Library Education

People are online every Thursday at 9pm Eastern time and it is always a lively informative and entertaining discussion. 

Now that the discussion has grown, it is difficult for one person to play host every week.  Nikki Dettmar (@eagledawg) has done a great job but she needs help.  She needs people willing to host the discussion on a Thursday.

Speaking as somebody who has hosted a few times, it is VERY EASY!!!!!  Nikki has done the heavy lifting.  She has created a hosting calendar and she has a service that already records the #medlibs tweets posted during the hour long discussion.  So all you have to do is sign up for a day to discuss a topic.   You don’t even have to do it alone!  February 28th will be on the Horizon Report and it will be hosted by @pfanderson, @kr_barker and a few others. 

Thursday Feb. 21st is still open as well as a whole bunch of other dates.  So if you are a #medlibs participant go to the calendar and pick a date.  If the date is somewhat far out then don’t worry so much about the topic, you can always add that as it gets closer.  *Please note the calendar is set on West coast time…so make sure you adjust your private calendar for your own time zone.

On the day and time of your hosted #medlibs chat, you just welcome people, state the topic and have 1-3 questions available to pose should our loquatious group fails to talk.  That is it!  See easy peasy.  Hope to see you hosting.

 

Social Media Tracking Illnesses

Greetings! Happy 2013! This is the first full week after the holidays and I thought I would start off the new year right with a blog post. 

Hopefully you got your flu shot and weren’t hit with the flu bug that seems to have hit hard and early this year. We got a small stomach bug in the Krafty household.  Thankfully it was a 24 hr thing that was gone as quick as it came. 

Over the holidays while dealing with the stomach bug, I noticed a reference to a site that tracks illness via social media posts.  Sickweather.com, tracks self reported illnesses using social media.

“Just as Doppler radar scans the skies for indicators of bad weather, Sickweather scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness as easily as you can check for the chance of rain.”

Sickweather trolls the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter looking for when people post that they are sick.  Using the location based information from the social networks, they are able to map the illness. Their system supposedly is smart enough to differentiate between somebody saying, “I’m sick” and “I’m sick of the Browns losing.” (Interesting little fun fact: According to All Things D, “The company has found it must filter out messages with any mention of the word “fever” that also include the word “Bieber.”  Hee hee)  

There is one fairly BIG caveat.  The social information has to be publicly available.  Most people I know lock down their Facebook accounts which means their posts usually aren’t publicly available.  (I say usually because Facebook likes to change settings and some people like myself might find themselves posting publicly for a bit thinking they were posting privately.) 

Sickweather is an interesting concept, it isn’t the first time people have used the Internet to track illnesses.  In August of 2009 FluPortal (seems to be  no longer active) used the Internet to “collect and curate content from across public media as well as from trusted governement sources.”  They were using the reports from the news media and organizations like the CDC and WHO to build their outbreak maps.  It appears that Sickweather is the first company to use social media to track the spread of diseases.  (Others like Salathe and Christianini & Lampos for example, have studied the use of social media to track illnesses.)

Despite only having access to public social media updates, Sickweather claims to have declared the start of the flu season 6 weeks earlier than the CDC and may have dectected two whooping cough outbreaks.  Clearly there are enough people out there with public accounts (for example my Twitter feed is public but my Facebook isn’t) mentioning their illnesses to make for some interesting results. 

Several people have mentioned that you probably don’t want to rely on Sickweather if you have serious health concerns. Duh.  However, what I find interesting is the data.  There is a boat load of data out there ripe for the plucking and Sickweather is just another example of somebody finding and using the data.  There is already an overwhelming amount of medical data out there, and I’m not just talking about “I’m sick” tweets.  Data management is big right now.  Why? Because as I mentioned there is a ton of data out there.  Do a quick search on data management and librarian. The whole first page on Google retrieves pretty relevant results on data management and librarians, including information ARL’s Guide for Research Libraries: The NSF Data Sharing Policy (top result), MIT Libraries support of management & curation of the MIT community research data (second result), and a position description for a Data Management Librarian at Oregon State University Libraries (fourth result, the third result was a slide presentation). Data management has been mentioned several times during #medlibs chat sessions as an emerging role for medical librarians.   Margaret Henderson (@mehlibrarian) even stated “Data is the new book. That is where we need to go.”

So how are medical librarians positioned to deal with the onslaught of data?  How are library schools teaching librarians or information professionals to work with and manage data?  Or are we still playing around with our cataloging systems and copying the journals tables of contents and routing them?

*update*
Just seconds after this post went live I saw Kevin the Librarian’s post “A Data Management and Data Sharing Bibliography for Librarians” where he compiled a list of all the literature on data management a librarian would find useful.  He and his colleague @fsayre hope to have “Mendeley group where more librarians can join and share their experiences and ideas about working with data management.”  So if you are interested in learning more about data management, go to his site.

Social Media and #Medlibs

Last Thursday the #medlibs group met on Twitter to discuss social media and medical libraries.  As usual it was a fun and interesting discussion.  We primarily discussed three areas of social media and medical libraries.  The transcript can be found here.

Vendor Communication 

It should come as no surprise that companies monitor what is said about them on social media.  What used to be a word of mouth activity, “Did you read that blog that blasted that company” has now become quite automated and much easier to find even brief mentions.  Twitter is a perfect example.  Personally, I have TweetDeck and HootSuite set up to look throughout the Twittersphere to find any tweets that say krafty.    I want to know if anybody is asking a question, has an issue, or just how my re-tweets are represented.  I also have those two programs looking for any tweets that mention the terms medlib, medlibs, or mlanet.  The reason I have the term medlib or medlibs is because medical librarians often send out a tweet about medical library stuff by using the hashtag #medlibs.  We are all human and we sometimes mistype it as medlib and there are always new people who don’t remember to use the hashtag, so my search filter catches those as well.  You can do this for any number of words, people, hashtags, etc.  It may sound complicated but it is extremely simple to do using either of those two Twitter programs. 

So if I am doing it for my own personal reasons, you can bet your bottom dollar that library companies are doing it.   It honestly is easier set Twitter to catch all of the tweets on a company’s name than it is to monitor Medlib-l for a company’s name.  The reason, TweetDeck and Hootsuite automate it, and to my knowledge there is no automated way to monitor the listserv.  As a result, a company like SpringShare is notified as soon as somebody tweets their name.  If I mentioned SpringShare on MEDLIB-l either a company rep has to read the post or somebody has to forward it to them. 

Here is what I am talking about:

TweetDeck Search
TweetDeck searches for all instances of #medlibs and puts them into a seperate column for me to look at.

So companies like SpringShare can do something very similar to what I do (depending on their Twitter software) and instantly become aware of anybody talking about them. This results in fairly quick communication between twitterer and the vendor.  For me it is often faster than when I have posted in MEDLIB-l

Don’t get me wrong, MEDLIB-l definitely has a purpose and Twitter can’t replace the longer discussions that happen there.  However, if you are looking to state a quick question or comment such as “What is going on with Ovid Medline? @WKHealthOvid” or “Having problems with stats @SpringShare LibGuides, anybody else?” Twitter is an excellent way to get quick answers.

As with all companies, there are ones who “get it” and ones who don’t.  Regardless of the method of communication; email, MEDLIB-l post, Twitter, Facebook, etc. there are companies that have poor communication skills or take every critique as an attack.  As I mentioned, in my post “Embrace Your Critics,” there are some companies who don’t see criticism as an opportunity for growth and improvement.  Yet there are other companies that are open to hearing from their customers.  For the most part the same companies that I have encountered as open to hearing from people (good and bad about their product) on MEDLIB-l are also the same on Twitter.

Companies that have responded in positive ways to tweets directed at them:

I follow A LOT of other companies, the above list are just ones I have had very good conversations with via Twitter regarding their product, services, etc.  Note, I didn’t always lavish praise either.  There were a few times where I complained about something not working correctly or suggested an improvement and still they responded in a very positive manner.  
 

Patron Communication

Some librarians monitor their own library feeds and respond to patrons questions or provide information.  Many on the list mentioned that their hospitals or institutions had people in marketing or PR who were monitoring the institution’s name.  This area of discussion wasn’t explored as much as I think it could have been.   Perhaps it is because this sub-topic often seems to creep into other #medlib discussions.  I know @CarolinaFan1982 does a lot with Twitter and his School of Nursing users.

Professional/Personal Information Bleed

Finally the group ended with a discussion on whether there was a need to keep professional/personal divide when tweeting.  I think it depends a lot on who is following you, what you primarily tweet on, and your institution.  More and more institutions have social media policies so it is best to read through those and adhere to them. 

For me, I let some of my personal life bleed into my professional life.  So far it seems to be ok.  If I decide to make the official split I can always have two accounts. One personal and one professional.  I know several librarians who have two Twitter accounts. 

I think it is also important how you respond to tweets.  For example if I tweet:

@EagleDawg Great to see you on #medlibs chat

Only people who follow both me AND @EagleDawg will see that conversation.

BUT if you put an character, even a period at the beginning of the tweet then everyone can see that tweet.

Example:

.@EagleDawg How was the mocha milkshake?

or

#medlibs @EagleDawg How as the mocha milkshake?

Those two tweets can be seen by everyone.  The #medlibs just ensures that the tweet can be seen by people following the #medlibs discussion.  Knowing this information might be helpful regarding personal and professional tone within Twitter. 

Overall

It was a very interesting and fun chat last Thursday.  This Thursday is Thanksgiving, so there will be no #medlibs chat.  We always welcome new people to the group, so feel free to join us November 29th.  Twitter isn’t just wasting time, it can be used for professional communication and we who chat on Thursdays are the perfect example.