The use of social media in the library

Taylor and Francis White Paper explores current practices and future opportunities for social media in libraries.

Research was conducted with focus groups of librarians in India, the UK and the US and followed up with desk research, a Twitter party and in-depth phone interviews.   The White Paper discovered that libraries are using social media to deliver a blend of news, promotion, customer service, provision of educational tools and relationship building.

Different tools are used for specific purposes:

  • Twitter – library news; customer service; connecting with researchers; connecting with other  libraries
  • Facebook – more social, and less formal than Twitter; engaging with students
  • Pinterest – promote library collections; promote books; arena for students/academics to pin reviewed reading; online repositories for students working collaboratively

Key findings

  • Over 70% of libraries are using social media tools
  • 60% have had at least one social media account for three years or longer
  • 30% of librarians are posting at least daily
  • Facebook,  Twitter and blogs are the most popular channels
  • Particular growth in visual channels such as YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat
  • Only about a third of  libraries had a social media policy
  • 40% have no plans to introduce one
  • 75% of libraries say their social media activity is ‘ad hoc’

Measuring effectiveness

The research found that tracking of social media activity varies widely and measurement of impact is ad hoc at best.

  • 44% of respondents use Hootsuite; 23% use Tweetdeck; 12% use Feedly
  • 27% use Google analytics;  25% use Facebook statistics; 15% use surveys; 15% track numbers of  followers and 5% use Twitter statistics

The future of social media in libraries

  • Using social media to improve outreach and create community
  • To provide alternative ‘spaces’ for users who don’t use the physical space
  • Assisting with complex information
  • Integrating discovery channels with social media

The White Paper launch event was tweeted at #tfsocialmedia and the white paper is available here.


Posted in Academia, Libraries, Social media

Transforming information access using QR codes

In Australia a library service provides ambulance workers with rapid access to critical information.

Library services often focus on providing ‘everything to and for everyone’ and the South Australian Health Library service is not exception.  It provides resources for medical study and the bedside.  But this ‘traditional’ view of providing an information service was turned on its head by a project to provide very specific information (information on toxins) to a very specific group of users (ambulance workers) in emergency situations.

The team set out to explore how they could provide immediate and seamless access to vital information resources to these front line staff.

Simple – but not necessarily easy!

The team set out to provide simple QR code access which could be scanned by ambulance workers on their own devices.  They wanted to ensure there were minimal screens to work through and that the project would require no external, outsourced IT resources – they wanted to be able to support and develop the project themselves.  In particular they wanted to provide seamless access that required no additional authentification at point of use. The team approached four vendors and one agreed to develop a URL with embedded user names/passwords.  Ambulance workers are now being trained on using the new resource.

And the lessons learned?  Sometimes a ‘small’ project can have enormous implications and benefits.  By working closely with the Ambulance team to understand the way they work and the situations they can face, the library team developed a strong and valuable cross departmental relationship that resulted in an information tool that could genuinely save lives.

Karen Wilkins of the South Australian Health Library Service shared her story at Internet Librarian International 2014.

Posted in Content, information professionals, Social media, Technology

Gaming – not just child’s play

In the UK, more women are playing video games than men.

Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) in the UK has revealed that women now constitute the majority of gamers and that there are more gamers over the age of 44 than there are child and teen gamers.

Over 4000 people in Great Britain were surveyed online and face-to-face interviews were also held with gamers and industry experts.

Key findings

  • 69% of Britons play video      games (33.5 million people)
  • Women make up 52% of those      who have played in the last six months
  • Those over 44 make up 27% of      the gamer population
  • Children and teenagers make      up 22% of the gamer population
  • 56% of people aged 45-54      have played a video game in the last six months
  • 44% of 55-64 year olds have      played in the last six months – as have
  • 32% of 65-74 year olds

The growth in older groups and in women is attributed to free games, in particular free mobile apps.  Smartphones are the most popular device for playing games (54% of respondents); followed by computers, consoles and then tablet devices.

An average gamer plays on three different devices.

In other gaming news, Microsoft has paid $2.5 billion for the game franchise Minecraft.  Minecraft’s creator has spoken about the importance of ‘community’, freedom and openness for Minecraft users – the grown-up gamers of tomorrow!

Sources: IAB; endgadget; BBC

Posted in Research, Society

Experimenting with emotions

Dating website deliberately mis-matched users; art gallery ‘sells’ art to the emotional.

Earlier this summer, Facebook admitted it had been conducting experiments on ‘emotional contagion’.  Now OKCupid has announced it has been experimenting on users to find out more about how people rate each other on the site and about how ‘perceived compatibility’ works.

One experiment removed all images from the site, resulting in less activity but an increase in responses to first messages.  Another test discovered that people tend to ignore profile text and base most of their response on profile pictures.  But it is the compatibility experiment which is attracting headlines.  The site told a number of users that they were strongly compatible with people when they weren’t. Users believed what they were told about compatibility, even when the profile evidence was set out in front of them – an example of people incapable of looking beyond a ‘headline’ to analyse or even read the information provided for them!

The emotion of art

Meanwhile in Sweden an art gallery has held an auction of sculptures worth up to 15,000 euros.  However, no cash changed hands.  Instead members of the public were hooked up to heart-rate monitors and their emotional responses to the works measured.  Those with the highest emotional response won the auction.  You can watch a video of how the auction went on YouTube.

This article first appeared on Information Today Europe.

Sources: The Local; The Guardian; Harvard Business Review

Posted in Uncategorized

Dangerous and negative selfies

Elizabeth Daniels* studies the effect of media on the body image.  She says that young women are often pressurised to portray themselves as sexy.  Daniels set up two Facebook profiles. They were identical in everything but their profile picture.  Although photos of the same person were used, one was ‘sexier’ than the other.  58 teenage girls and 60 young women were asked to comment on the profiles.  The respondents found the ‘non-sexy’ profile to be prettier, more competent and more likely to be a good friend. 

Daniels advises young women and girls to choose profile photographs that showcase their identity – not simply their appearance.  Meanwhile, in Spain a bylaw is attempting to stop people using cameras at the running of the bulls festival in San Fermin. Those failing to comply may be faced with fines of up to €3,000 for endangering themselves and others.  Three people – all British citizens – have been fined so far including one who used a drone to film the bull run.  Police are also looking to identify a man seen taking a dangerous selfie as he ran ahead of the bulls.  He is now known on Twitter as ‘the idiot with the mobile’.

People were also attempting to take selfies when the Tour de France was in the UK. An American cyclist dubbed their attempts ‘a dangerous mixture of vanity and stupidity’ – which seems to be a perfect description for many selfies.

* Daniels’ research was published today in the journal “Psychology of Popular Media Culture.” The article, titled “The price of sexy: Viewers’ perceptions of a sexualised versus non-sexualised Facebook profile photo,” was co-authored by Eileen L. Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

[This article first appeared on Information Today Europe].

Posted in Research, Social media, Society

Workplace trends – meet the no-collar workers

There are already, according to the latest estimates, 40 million millennials in the American workforce.  A recent MTV study set out to understand what drives and motivates this generation at work.

Meet the no-collars

The no-collar generation is looking for meaning at work – younger workers want to be able to connect deeply with their work. It is this desire for ‘meaning’ that can be misinterpreted as laziness, pickiness, or self-importance.  The no-collars expect to be happy and fulfilled in the workplace and the research found that half of the respondents felt they would rather not have a job at all than have a job they hated.  Loving what they do outranked monetary rewards. Key findings

  • 95% are motivated to work      harder when they know ‘where their work is going’
  • 93% want a job where they      can’be themselves’.
  • 89% agree it’s important to      be constantly learning at work
  • 83% want jobs that value      their creativity
  • 71% want their co-workers to      be ‘second family’
  • 65% believe they should be      mentoring older co-workers on technology
  • 60% say if they can’t find a      job they want, they will try to create their own job

You can read the full article at Information Today Europe here.

Posted in Research, Society, Workplace trends

Privacy, social media and lavatories

In the United States advisors to the White House have published their review of internet privacy and are calling for an Internet Privacy Bill of Rights.  Is ‘privacy’ possible in the era of big data and social media?

Twitter is reportedly looking to develop a ‘whisper mode’ that will ensure users can keep their conversations private without having to move to one-to-one direct messaging. This seems to be in addition to Twitter’s much-discussed, but not yet delivered private messaging app (see this article in Endgadget).

Talk of a whisper mode has come too late for one Swedish student.  Her abusive tweet about a lecturer (details of which have not been published) have led to her being suspended for two weeks by her university, which found that her lecture hall tweet was “meant to violate and ridicule” the teacher.

A private pregnancy

Meanwhile in the United States a Professor at Princeton University set about trying to keep her pregnancy a secret from Facebook and social media advertisement algorithms. Apparently, pregnant women are considered a ‘marketing goldmine’ and their data can be worth 15 times as much as other people’s.   Over on she describes how she tried to hide from ‘big data’.  Her activities ranged from asking friends and colleagues not to mention her pregnancy anywhere online to buying baby products with cash to setting up a new Amazon account with an anonymous delivery address.  Not only was attempting to keep her pregnancy a secret difficult, it was expensive (losing loyalty card discounts etc) and extremely time-consuming.  You can read her full interview here – a fascinating story about the reach of big data and the compromises we are all making, every day.

The hoax quantified toilet

This fake story about the installation of ‘intelligent lavatories’ in a Canadian conference centre, raises some interesting issues.  The idea that public facilities could be collating useful public health data is not that far-fetched after all.  In fact, in a real piece of research 70% of respondents would be willing to share their ‘toilet data’ – for lower health care costs!

This article first appeared on Information Today Europe.

Posted in Information Risk, Social media

Youth TV – the need for speed

The BBC’s youth TV channel to close; but a different story emerges in Belgium

In the UK the BBC has announced that it is to close its ‘youth-oriented’ TV channel and move the content onto its online platform the iPlayer.

Previous proposals to close down radio channels have been revised following public outcry.  In 2010 the BBC announced it wanted to close down two radio stations – 6 Music and the Asian Network.  Neither station was closed.

However, it seems unlikely that BBC Three will be saved.  The Corporation needs to make savings and this move alone could save it £50million a year. Some commentators have suggested the move is short-sighted.  The BBC is funded by licence payers and young people are the licence payers of the future.

In Belgium, VRT, the public service broadcaster has been developing digital projects to engage with its younger audience.  Rachel Bartlett, writing on, describes how the broadcaster developed an internal ‘start-up’ to experiment with new platforms to re-engage with younger viewers.  The broadcaster has been consulting the target audience and is now developing three projects that reflect the way young people use and engage with social media:

  • a mobile video project on Instagram and Snapchat – Ninjanieuws
  • Sambal a Facebook-supported news platform
  • OpenVRT which encourages young people to collaborate with the channel via video, photography and blogging.

Key lessons – ‘the need for speed’

  • Keep videos very short
  • Embed animated gifs into articles – link out to YouTube
  • 15-second long videos helped launch Ninjaniews
  • Tell a news story on a 10-second Snapchat video
  • For the target audience (16-24) – focus on Facebook not Twitter
  • There’s no need for a homepage – Facebook drives traffic
  • Facebook also provides a home for ‘pop-up digital news products’ that respond quickly to certain trends

You can read Rachel’s full article on

This article first appeared on Information Today Europe

Posted in Television, Uncategorized

The news behind a paywall – a success story from the Netherlands

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are often cited as paywall success stories.  But how are smaller news outlets making paywalls succeed?

In the Netherlands, a news site called De Correspondent set a world record in crowdfunded journalism.

In September 2013 it took just eight days for 15,000 donors to raise over one million Euros.  The site has over 25,000 ‘members’, each of whom pays 5 Euros a month to access the site.

De Correspondent has succeeded because it has brought a fresh approach to digital only journalism.  Elements of its ‘manifesto’ challenge traditional aspects of news journalism.

  • Commercial model – the site is advertisement-free and has a profit ceiling of 5%.  They want to ‘sell content to readers, not readers to advertisers’.
  • Not ‘readers’ but ‘participants’.  The site was created to enable much more than reader comment.  Instead, it has a focus on building relationships between people and acknowledges the expertise of the community.  ‘Dialogue not ‘monologue’
  • A focus on themes and connections – the site moves beyond traditional news categories such as ‘business’ or ‘international’ and instead aims to make sense of a globalised world
  • Like-minded people – not target audiences
  • An emphasis on fact-checking – and emotion

The power of community has been used to fund the site, and to develop its content.  It is also the way in which the word is spread.  De Correspondent limits its advertising to promoting some articles via Facebook.  All other marketing is conducted by the members who share with their friends and followers.

Further reading:  De Correspondent website; GigaOm

This article was first published on Information Today Europe.

Posted in Content, Newspapers, Uncategorized

How to be happy – love, friendship and altruism

The Grant Study is a 75-year longitudinal study of Harvard graduates (1939-1944) and ‘disadvantaged’ youths growing up in Boston (1940-1945).  All white American men, the subjects were followed for 68 years.  One of the Harvard graduates was John F Kennedy.

Subjects were evaluated at least every two years using questionnaires, medical records and personal interviews.  Data was gathered about their mental and physical health, career enjoyment and their relationships.

For 40 years, George Vaillant has led the study and written books on the findings. Despite the mass of data and analysis accumulated, Vaillant sums up the key to happiness “Happiness is love. Full stop.”

  • What goes right is more important than what goes wrong
  • A happy childhood is preferable but an unhappy one can be overcome
  • The ability to achieve [emotional] intimacy is the strongest predictor of health and happiness in old age
  • Participants did manage to change over time; many found love and happiness for the first time later in life

Happiness at work

According to new research from Glassdoor, you could also choose to work in one of the happiest workplaces:  Twitter, Facebook and Google score well in the happy workplace charts.

And finally, if you’re a librarian don’t read articles such as this which define librarianship as a dead end job and imply we’d all be a lot better off if we became nutritionists….

Additional source: Huffington Post

This article was first published on Information Today Europe

[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]

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Posted in Research, Society, Uncategorized

Public access to ICT: Another reason why libraries matter!

The Technology and Social Change Group of the University of Washington’s Library School published its report of the five-year project exploring the impact of public access to ICT around the world.

The results show the impact that public libraries and cybercafés have when it comes to promoting digital inclusion and the development of ICT skills, particularly for marginalised populations.

Public access facilities bridge a number of digital divides.  They broaden access to both ICT infrastructure and to information resources.  For over half the users surveyed, libraries and cybercafés provided their very first contact with computers or the internet.  For over a third, they continued to be the only source of access to the internet.

The importance of empathy

The researchers explored in depth the role of ‘infomediaries’ to users in Bangladesh, Chile and Lithuania.  The findings showed that the ability of infomediaries to empathise with users is just as important as their technical skills.  This included giving them confidence to learn and to understand often unexpressed or unformed needs.

In-depth research amongst teenagers in Cape Town, South Africa showed that mobile phone internet access and public access computers were no substitutes for each other.  Indeed, interviewees had very often developed elaborate practices which combined the use of public access and personal devices.  The evidence shows that public access is not obsolete, even as mobile device ownership is growing.  They continued to use public access for help from staff and simply to ‘be alone together’ – a trend which is also emerging in newly designed academic libraries.


At a policy level the report calls for continuing support for public access to ICT, maximising the use of existing infrastructure.

Librarians should:

  • adopt a flexible approach to rules such as limiting time spent on machines or noise levels
  • be flexible to emerging needs.
  • embrace the mobile revolution
  • pay attention to venue design
  • focus on content awareness and market their resources

The full report is available for download here.

This post was first published on Information Today Europe.

Posted in information professionals, Libraries, Society, Technology

New York shooting – citizen journalists on the scene

On September 15th 2013 (as reported in the New York Times), police officers confronted an ‘agitated’ individual and used their firearms, missing the suspect but injuring two bystanders.  After the incident, The New York Times was able to identify the (unarmed) individual, name the shooting victims, describe the extent of their injuries and report from the Police News Conference about the incident.

Before the ‘traditional’ journalists got hold of the story, however, members of the public were recording, and editorialising on, the incident.  At least one person tweeted a picture of one of the victims, almost certainly before their friends or relatives had been informed.  Several YouTube videos of the incident have been uploaded (a simple search will bring up results).  Eye witnesses claim the agitated man had been run over – the police later denied this.  The incident is an example of instant news reporting – often a mixture of documentary, supposition and emotion.

Independent, verified news reporting is considered by many to be essential to democracy.  Does the replacement of traditional forms of news media by new models of information gathering and distribution (e.g. citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, Twitter) make democracy more or less vulnerable?  Or do the two enhance each other?

Riptide is a fascinating ‘oral history’ of the meeting of quality journalism and digital technologies in the US.  Actually, it is a written report drawn from interviews with movers and shakers in the news industry since 1980.

The report looks at the disruptive influences of digital platforms, the decline in traditional journalism jobs and new digital news economic models.  The report covers the early days of teletext all the way through the development of the WWW, the boom and bust, cable news, the emergence of the blogosphere, social news and ‘pay to play’.

[The full article was first published on Information Today Europe.]

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Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Facilitating access to free resources

Academic libraries are moving away from ‘content purchasing’ models to ‘facilitating access to content’.  And an increasing amount of this content is free.

Taylor and Francis has published a white paper exploring the challenges and opportunities faced by the library community of facilitating access to free resources.

How much free content is out there?

  • In May 2013 Google indexed 45 billion web pages
  • Between 1993 and 2009 the number of OA articles increased ten-fold; the number of OA journals increased from 740 to 4,769
  • By December 2012, the Directory of Open Access Journals listed 8000+ titles
  • According to the Registry of Open Access Repositories there are over 3300 OA repositories

91% of librarians surveyed by Taylor and Francis ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that free resources add value to the research process.  However, discovering and facilitating access to such sources can be a challenge:

  • Lack of metrics and evidence to demonstrate the value of free content
  • Lack of metadata and the challenge of identifying access and reuse rights
  • Concerns over permanence of OA sources


  • Librarians need to educate institutions that their role goes beyond purchasing content
  • Work needs to be done to prove return on investment for time spent enhancing the discoverability of free content
  • Work needs to be done on the development and adoption of metadata standards
  • There should be increased collaboration between librarians and users to select content
  • Librarians should continue their focus on improving institutional information literacy
  • There should be more comprehensive indexing of quality free resources by discovery systems

Taylor and Francis held one focus group in the UK and one in the US. In addition they conducted in-depth telephone interviews; desk research and an online survey with over 500 responses.

The White Paper is available here.

This post was first published on Information Today Europe.

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Posted in Academia

Twitter: from communication to content

In 2010, Twitter positioned itself as “a network powered by people … around the world… that lets you share and discover what’s happening now”.  By 2012 this had shifted to “a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions…” and advises users to “follow the conversations” and states you don’t have to tweet to gain value from Twitter.

A study of 2500 non-commercial Twitter users sets out to discover how they are using Twitter and what motivates them to share content in an attempt to predict how Twitter will continue to evolve.  The authors (Olivier Toubia, Columbia Business School and Andrew T. Stephen, University of Pittsburgh) selected users at random and increased the number of their followers by using synthetic accounts.  They noticed that as the number of followers increased, account holders would increase the number of times they posted.  However this activity would slow down once a certain number of followers was reached.  They conclude that the profile of Twitter itself will continue to evolve from a communications vehicle to a content delivery vehicle.


  • Fewer ‘everyday’ people – the authors predict a slowdown of activity from ‘normal’ users and a continued increase in commercial and celebrity activity.
  • Twitter will shift from a communications vehicle to a content delivery vehicle
  • The value non-commercial users get from Twitter will shift away from the production of content to the consumption of [commercial] content
  • First are likely to derive more value from Twitter by using it as a media channel to broadcast content to consumers rather than as a viral marketing platform

This post was first published on Information Today Europe.

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Posted in Social media, Uncategorized

Measuring the digital economy

Research suggests the government is seriously underestimating the size of the UK’s digital economy.

A report by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) commissioned by Google sets out to establish the true size of the UK’s digital economy.  The UK government has been using industry classification codes (SICs) to estimate that there are approximately 120,000 digital economy companies in the UK.  However, the NIESR research suggests that this figure is far too conservative.  Its own lowest estimate is 270,000.making digital businesses 14.4% of the total number of businesses in the UK (the government estimates 10%).

The report calls for improved measurement of the UK’s digital economy.  By switching from SIC-based models to measures derived from big data, the country could gain a richer picture of the digital economy.  Using this type of data for example would show that the digital economy’s share of jobs in the UK is 11%, not the 5% currently stated by government measures.  Other interesting findings derived from this type of rich analysis include the fact that the digital economy is not made up mostly of start-ups but that companies in this area have roughly the same average age as other companies.  Digital economy companies employ more people on average than other companies and are reporting faster growth rates.

This is an edited version of a blog post first published on Information Today Europe.  Full post here.

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Posted in Economy, Uncategorized, Workplace trends

Digital natives, digital immigrants and the information professional

It is now over ten years since Mark Prensky coined the terms ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’ and called for changes in education and teaching to reflect the new digital landscape. The terms were easy to understand. We all knew whether we were natives or immigrants by our use of the word ‘digital’ as a prefix (as in “I have a new digital camera”).

In the years since Prensky published his paper, new labels (e.g. Gen Y/millennials) have emerged for the younger generations entering education and the workforce. We have discussed how to support them and how to get the best out of them. But just how useful are these labels and what is the role of the information professional in ensuring that our users can use digital technologies to maximum effect?

This topic was tackled at the first NetIKX event of 2013. Karen Blakeman and Graham Coult explored current research and trends in information behaviours and sparked discussions about the changing role of the information professional.

Forget the labels

Just because they were brought up with some of these technologies, this does not make the ‘younger generation’ experts. According to David Griffiths, we should not… “confuse tech savvy, tethering to mobile technology and an intimate relationship with Facebook, with transferable knowledge and skills around social networking and communication.”

Karen reminded us that, irrespective of the technologies available to us at the time, we all needed to be guided in information searching and research techniques. Young people are image driven and interested in original sources, she explained but need support in filtering and evaluating what they find.

We must also keep in mind that the internet is NOT available to everyone and that in these economically challenged times, many younger people do not have access to the internet at home, while local library resources are also being squeezed. Digital exclusion is still a major issue.

This explosion of content and tools should, in theory, open up opportunities for information professionals to offer guidance, filtering and curation to users as trusted intermediaries. The challenge is to convince others that our services are financially and socially valuable.

This post first appeared on Information Today Europe.

Posted in information professionals, Workplace trends

Interactive Europe – lessons from advertising

74% of smartphone owners have interacted with brands through ‘out of home advertising’.

Consumer behaviour, enabled by mobile technologies, is changing.  Customers are conducting price comparisons, reading review sites and engaging with brands in new ways.  Just like librarians (and many other professions of course!) brand managers are looking for ways to respond to these rapid changes.

CBS Outdoor has released Interactive Europe, investigating how consumers are changing the way they interact with brands when they are ‘out of home’. 5283 interviews were conducted in six European countries (France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK) exploring how consumers were interacting with 14 brands.

Engagement – the holy grail

Interactive advertising mechanisms include QR codes; location-based vouchers; augmented reality adverts; near field communications (NFC); and touchscreen billboard advertising.  As smartphone ownership increases in all six countries studied (ranging from up 16% in the UK to up 21% in Spain and the Netherlands), so brands are introducing interactive campaigns hoping to increase engagement.

Awareness of interactive mechanisms is increasing relatively slowly, with the exception of QR codes (awareness increased from 40% in 2011 to 54% in 2012).

But what happens after ‘awareness’?   The report found that ‘out of home advertising’ was as effective as TV advertising in eliciting activity – 77% of respondents said they had acted as a direct result of seeing an ‘out of home’ advert.   This included going online for further information or to actually make a purchase.

The report looks at a number of advertising campaigns and draws out some lessons learned:

  • Interactivity must be built into campaigns from the outset
  • Adverts must still have an impact even if people choose not to interact
  • Be clear about how people can interact
  • Make your interactions easy and fast
  • Ensure there is an obvious benefit to interacting
  • Remember the ‘halo’ effect of people watching others interact

The reports case studies include Chicago Town Pizza, Lloyds Banking Group and Bruna Books.  You can download the Interactive Europe report here.

A connected movie poster

Another example of interactivity is a South Korean campaign for a movie called The Berlin File.  Wi-fi enabled posters allowed users to connect to extra content that offered information, HD trailers and the option to buy tickets.  The campaign increased traffic by over 28% and these users stayed on the website five times longer than regular users.   You can see a two minute video about the interactive poster on YouTube.

This article first appeared on Information Today Europe.

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Posted in Social media

Using social media tools to disseminate academic research

There are many reasons for taking the measurement of academic impact seriously, particularly in the current economic climate. Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK and speaking at The Future of Academic Impact conference, reminded the audience that the public perception of academia tends to focus on the most visible aspect – namely undergraduate teaching and fees.  How can we increase the public perception of the value of academic research and its contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation and beyond?

One aspect of improving the visibility of academic research was covered in a breakout session exploring the value of the ‘top five’ social media tools in supporting academic communication.

This is an edited version of a blog post first published on Information Today Europe.  Full post can be read here.


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Posted in Academia, Research, Social media

Flexible working arrangements and the talent pool

New technologies and working practices should mean that many people can work at a time, and from a location, of their choosing.  But what is the real picture?

Catalyst has been conducting a longitudinal study of ‘high potential’ graduates of leading business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe and the US.  The study sets out to assess career values, goals and expectations and to explore strategies for managing work and family life.

Key findings

The report finds a correlation between high career aspirations and access to FWAs: 90% of the ‘high potentials’ who had access to FWAs said they aspired to senior executive level roles.  This number drops to 77% in workplaces with no flexible working arrangements.  The gap is even wider for female respondents.  Women in these workplaces were much more likely to ‘downsize’ their career aspirations.

  • At least half of respondents stated that FWAs are very or extremely important. Women were more likely to say this
  • Women were more likely to report using telecommuting frequently or very frequently (39%) than men (29%)

The report concludes that ‘face time’, where employees are seen to be working, is still important in many organisations.

Maximising the talent pool

Offering flexible working to employees allows organisations to maximise the talent pool amongst its employees.  Both men and women are more likely to aspire to top roles within organisations that do offer flexible working.  If organisations want to be employers of choice for top talent then they should strive to develop a culture that trusts employees to deliver, irrespective of the amount of ‘face-time’ they put in. 

This is an edited version of a blog post first published on Information Today Europe.  Full post here.

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Posted in Workplace trends

Managing information risk – European business must do better

European companies are improving when it comes to managing information risk, but they must do even better.

PWC and Iron Mountain have published their 2013 Risk Maturity Index, exploring attitudes to information risk and examples of best practice in mid-sized businesses in six countries in Europe (France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain and UK*).  Their findings suggest there has been some improvement in attitudes to information risk, but that there is still a long way to go.  Middle sized (250-2,500 employees) European companies are ‘ill equipped’ to navigate the complex information landscape. 

Key findings

  • Awareness of the importance of information risk management is growing 
  • The average number of data breaches is growing 50% per year
  • 35% of companies are keeping all their date ‘just in case’
  • Only 45% of companies have an information risk strategy
  • 45% do not monitor employee social media use 

This is an edited version of a blog post first published on Information Today Europe.  Full post here.







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Posted in Information Risk