Monday, January 28, 2008

4. Twitter

Twitter is a service that is hard to describe. It's kind of like blogging and sort of like IMing (Instant Messaging), but it's not exactly like either of those! Twitter gives you 140 characters to answer the question, "What are you doing?". This wouldn't be very much fun if you just entered what you are doing right now and left it at that, though! The fun in Twitter is the fact that, like most social networks, it allows you to "friend" other people who use the Twitter application and read their updates, too. If they want, they can "friend" you back and get your updates as well. The reason behind the 140 character limit to each post is that Twitter works really well as a text messaging "add-on". You can subscribe to get all of the updates sent directly to your phone or you can update your own account via text messaging from your phone. This means that even if you aren't at a computer, you can still update and receive updates via Twitter with no problems - if you have an unlimited text messaging plan...
People use Twitter in a lot of different ways. Some people use it as it is advertised - as a way to update their friends on the minute-by-minute details of their lives. Others use it as something of a time-tracking log - they can view the archive of their previous posts and see what they've done all day! Still others use it as a conversational tool - sort of like IM, but with broadcast abilities - now you don't have to set up a chat room or an IM channel to send all of your friends a message, you can just post it to Twitter and let them read it when they have time.
Like most social networks, this one isn't limited just to individuals. Lots of businesses and organizations have Twitter accounts, too. CNN and Google News both offer a "breaking news" twitter feed that you can friend (or subscribe to) and get in your twitter timeline. Several libraries, including MRRL, offer Twitter feeds to keep our patrons and staff up-to-date on what's happening at the library. MRRL's feed lets our friends know when a new blog post has been written, when a new photo has been uploaded to Flickr or when the Bookmobile isn't going to be able to make it out on it's rounds due to weather or driver illness.
There are also a lot of ways to get your Twitter feed - besides just on your phone. You can view it on the web, download an application like Twitteroo or get an extension for your Firefox browser that lets you load the "twits" you follow into a sidebar in your browser. You can also get Twitter updates piped into whatever IM client you use, something that's pretty handy for folks who use IM all day! I, personally, do a combination of the Firefox browser extension and the phone text messaging. It just depends on where I am - and that's one of the great things about Twitter, you can take it with you and use it wherever and whenever you like!


Monday, January 21, 2008

3. Setting up your Facebook profile

What is Facebook? In a nutshell, Facebook is a social networking site that is fun way to keep up with your family and friends, share pictures, videos and more. It allows you to connect to people in fun ways.

It's easier to explain as you're using it, so let's set up your account and profile.
  1. Go to Facebook and click "sign up" enter your information.
  2. Facebook will ask for your email address and password to look for your friends on Facebook. You can skip this step if you like. If you put your information in Facebook will find any of your contacts who are using that address on Facebook and ask you if you want to be friends with them. It will also ask you to send invitations to anyone who is not on Facebook, you can skip this step if you like, but it's a good way to find friends who are already on Facebook.
  3. So that's it your page is set up. You can find friends by searching for email addresses or names. Try searching for Robin or Bobbi's full name to see how it works.
Pages and Fans
Businesses and Nonprofits are allowed to create Pages on Facebook, you can become a "fan" of any of these that you like and want to support. Since you're participating in MRRL's Library Learning 2.1 program we'll assume you're a fan of MRRL. So let's become a fan of MRRL's page
  1. Find MRRL's page either by clicking the link or searching for "missouri river regional library",
  2. click on the link that says "become a fan"
  3. Check back on the page regularly for updates on events and discussions!
Each Facebook page has some default applications like "The Wall", "Friends", "Photos" and "Videos", it also had optional applications you can add to your profile. You can find these by looking at your friends profiles and clicking on them their or through invitations from your friends on your home page.

MRRL also has an application on Facebook that allows you to search our catalog right from your Facebook Profile page.

Add MRRL's catalog application to your Profile page
  1. Find the application by searching for "mrrl catalog"
  2. Click on "add Missouri River Regional Library Catalog Search to your Facebook profile"

After you set up your account take some time to play with it. Like most social networking sites you get out of it what you put into it. Facebook is fun! With the add-on applications there is so much you can do to customize your Profile. Look at your friends Profiles. Explore! Play! Have fun!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Page - Tips, Tricks and Suggestions

We interrupt these lessons to bring you a new post! Based on feedback we thought it would be helpful if you had a place to leave general comments, tips, tricks and suggestions. A place where you can share things you've come across, ask questions or suggest Robin and Bobbi cover something in a lesson. So we've created the Tips, Tricks and Suggestions from your Fellow Participants post. We've created a link to it under the help pages at the right, so even when it's no longer showing on the front page you can find it easily!

Monday, January 14, 2008

2. Online Privacy

Social networks like MySpace or Facebook or the thousands of other networks that are out there are fun! They let you connect with people from all over the world who have the same interests, hobbies or job that you do, but they also encourage you to provide a lot of information about yourself so that those people can find you. The good news is that you can give out the information you need to find people with your interests without giving out too much information in the process.
The first line of defense in keeping your online privacy is to think about what information you are giving out about yourself. Would you want your parents to see it? Your boss? Your girlfriend or boyfriend? Your college admissions officer? All of these people have the ability to search for your name on the Internet and find your social networking page(s) - do you want them to see the information you've posted there?
A recent study done in the UK (and reported on in PC World) said:
In a survey of people aged 14 to 21, the group found that more than 70 percent of young people would not want a university or potential employer to see the information they post about themselves, yet 60 percent don't consider that the information could turn up in online searches for years to come.
Once you post something on the Internet it's really hard to get it off! Fortunately, there are a lot of resources out there to help people decide what is, and isn't, safe to put on any social networking site. Some of the most important tips are: (see the resources section below for links to documents with even more tips!)
  • Keep your information to yourself. Don’t post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or bank and credit card account numbers — and don’t post other people’s information, either. Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. This could include the name of your school, sports team, clubs, and where you work or hang out. (FTC)

  • Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers. (FTC)

  • Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell someone you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim. (FTC)

  • Use privacy settings to restrict who can access and post on your child's website. (OnGuard Online)

  • For Parents: Create your own account on MySpace or another social network. Spend some time browsing the network's site. This will give you familiarity with the world that is so essential to your teen(s) and their friends and will facilitate future conversations. (Safe Families)

  • For Kids: Never meet with anyone you first “met” online and tell your parent if anyone requests a meeting. (Safe Families)


Monday, January 7, 2008

1. Accessing MRRL's Downloadable Audiobooks

MRRL now offers Downloadable Audiobooks!!

You can listen to them from your computer or an MP3 player

To get started you'll need to create an account:

You must be inside the library to create your account. After your account is set up you can access it from any computer with Internet access.

1. Start at the Catalog page
2. Click "Netlibrary"

3. Click on "create free account" in the upper right hand corner
If you already have an account click "log in" the upper right hand corner.
4. Set up your user name and password. These are not tied to your library card number and can be anything you like.

5. You can search for books a number of ways by searching by Title or Author or Browse Subjects

6. Once you find a title you want "click download this eAudiobook". You'll have 3 check out options. Select the one you prefer.

7. Once you've downloaded the file to your computer you'll need to open it with Windows Media Player in order to acquire the license for it.
8. This screen will pop up asking for your NetLibrary UserName and Password. Enter them.


9. Your license will be granted

10. You can now listen to the book on your computer or load it on to the mp3 player of your choice.

Sorry iPod users, iPods are not compatible with downloadable audio books

More Information:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Tips, Tricks and Suggestions from Your Fellow Participants

This purpose of this post is to create a place for YOU, the participants to share tips, tricks and suggestions you've come across with each other.
Have a tool you'd like us to cover?
Leave a comment!
Discover something really cool you'd like to share!
Leave a comment!