Category Archives: Resources

My Friend Tom

MySpaceI received a question from Jennifer, a youth services librarian, who used some of the tips she learned yesterday to start her own MySpace page for her department. She was surprised to find that she already had a “friend,” the minute she set up her account. I realized that others might be curious about this so I decided to explain a little bit about how the friend portion of MySpace works.

The mysterious and apparently eager man who popped up on Jennifer’s page is Tom Anderson, one of the founders of MySpace. He shows up automatically as everyone’s first friend and is there to provide guidance through this crazy MySpace world. tom.jpgHe’s completely harmless, however getting rid of him is very easy (and I promise he won’t be offended!). On your MySpace home page, you will see your “friend space” displayed on the bottom right. On a new account you will probably only have one person, Tom. The box will list the number of total friends you have and directly to the right of that number shows an “edit friends” option. This will take you to a page where you can check any friends that you want to remove. Then scroll down and click “delete selected friends.” They will ask you to confirm that you really want to do this and then poof! they’re gone.

One thing to note is that Tom is an anomaly, after this, you will have to confirm all future friend requests. Nobody can join your friends list without your approval. Also, only your friends are allowed to comment on your profile, blog, or pictures. This protects you from receiving comment spam or unwanted messages from strangers.

Something else to be aware of is that many groups, bands, organizations, etc. use MySpace for marketing, so you may receive requests from strangers to be your friends. Don’t let this frighten you. MySpace offers the option to block requests from bands and comedians. Sometimes, unsavory characters will request your “friendship.” This includes girls with “webcams” and people offering “business opportunities” (like stuffing envelopes). You can usually quickly determine who these people are by checking out their profile and reading their “about me.” If they mention anything like “I just got a cool new webcam!” Then you know just to click delete. MySpace also allows you to quickly report these people with one click of the “abuse” button at the bottom of the screen. Also note that these requests will die down after the first week or so.

Now what if you would like to initiate a friend request? Every profile has a “contact box.” This is usually located just below the main picture on the left side of the profile. This offers options like “add me” or “message me.” Click on add to add the person, group, or band as a friend. Click on message to send a MySpace e-mail. Another button to be aware of is the “block” option, which allows you to block that person. This can be helpful in the rare instance that you find yourself receiving abusive messages from another MySpace member.


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Filed under MySpace, Resources, Social Networking

Everything you ever wanted to know about Wikis

Are you interested in starting a wiki for your library or organization? Here is a brief overview of what a Wiki is and how to get started.

A wiki is a Web-based application that allows several users to edit and contribute content of any nature or variety. IT can be a very useful tool for your libary or organization because it’s a quick and easy way of storing and updating institutional knowledge. It’s a great way for staff, volunteers, and even patrons to share information or tutorials that could otherwise get lost through employee turn-over.

Interested? Here’s how you get started:

1. First decide what features will work best for your library’s wiki. There are multiple software packages out there (most completely free!) and each offers different features. The easiest way to decide what you’d like on your Wiki is to check out others and get a feel for what could work for your library.

2. Research the various available software packages (see links below) and check them out in action. The most famous Wiki, Wikipedia, uses an open source program called Mediawiki. Other options are ModWiki and WikiWiki.

3. Decide how you will host your wiki. Does your library already have it’s own server? Are you paying for hosting? Remember that to run effectively, Wiki software generally requires a host that supports PHP and MySQL technology. You can verify this easily with your hosting provider. Or would you prefer to start out with a hosted plan (much in the way Blogger works for blogs). There are several free options that would allow you to do this (again, see links below).

5. Establish a goal and guidelines for your wiki. Clearly present this information so that those who are editing and workign on the Wiki will a) know where it is and b) understand the process for adding/editing your Wiki. This is also the time to choose and post a license for your information. Check out Creative Commons for this.

6. Promote it! Send out an e-mail to your library and staff mailing list. Post a link on your homepage and keep it bookmarked on all your library computers. Discuss it at meetings and encourage staff to add and participate. Expect that people will be slow to catch on, but with a little patience, your Wiki can grow into something spectacular!

7. Don’t be afraid to experiment. This is your first try–you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Embrace that and think of this as a great learning opportunity.

A Few Helpful Links:

Wikia–a free hosted wiki program owned by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. A great first stop!

Wikipedia–the famous wiki encyclopedia. Type in “Wiki” in the search bar and find a helpful list of wikis out there

Wiki Farms–a great list of reviews of Wiki Farms (places where you can “grow” your own wiki).


Filed under Resources, Wikis

Second Circ: The Webinar!

A Free Online Seminar

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM EST

You’ve seen the headlines. You’ve read the articles. Web 2.0 is everywhere. This second generation of Internet applications (such as blogs, wikis, and social networking) is fascinating, exciting, and accessible, but knowing where and how to start using them in your library can be daunting. This webinar will introduce you to the world of online tools available–tools that make it easier than ever to share information, promote your programs, and mobilize support. We’ll start with the basics, and through visuals and real-time demos, you’ll learn the skills to bring your library marketing into the next generation.

All are welcome and no prior experience is required!*

Register for this free online seminar today!

To register, please e-mail aramos (at) lff (dot) org with your full name, library or organization, phone number and address. Once your registration is accepted, you will receive a confirmation message including the link to the online classroom, your participant access ID, and the dial-in phone number.

About the Instructor:
Alejandra J. Ramos is the Communications Associate at Libraries for the Future, where she specializes in Web 2.0 and New Media marketing techniques, as well as web content management, editing, and graphic design. Her work and expertise focus on web communication strategies and applications, including blogs, social networks, and viral marketing. Ms. Ramos has been blogging since 2002, and her writing has garnered attention from various print and online media, including The Washington Post.

*Please note that to participate you must have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. A working microphone and speakers are also advised. Alternatively, those without a microphone or speakers can participate via a real-time conference call.

For more information about Libraries for the Future, please visit our website.

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Filed under Blogging, Events, marketing, Resources, Word of Mouth

Make your own rebus

This website features a cool rebus generator that turns the text of your choice into a fun little picture puzzle. This is a great idea for mass e-mails, fliers, or for posting on web pages. There are also other options, including a banner, a labyrinth, and a sweet little heart that is just perfect for Valentine’s Day!

To create the image, click on the link and enter your text into the box. Click on the “Shape” tab to choose a design, then set your text size in the layout section. You can then either print the image or take a screenshot of it and crop to create a jpeg. library rebus


Filed under Images, Resources