Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Tips and tricks to make your job easier.

Google Follow Finder help you find the right tweeps!

There are many ways to find folks worth following on Twitter.  You can use any of the Twitter search engines to find people using specific hashtags or words, such as “#libraries” or librarianship.  You can follow specific Twitter lists, such as our own “Librariana” (http://twitter.com/iBraryGuy/librariana).  There are even sites such as WeFollow.com that are dedicated to classifying and ranking Twitter users.  Perhaps one of the easiest means of finding tweeters worth following, however, is to simply look at who is following the tweeps you already know and trust.  Google’s new Follow Finder aims to make that method of finding folks to follow even easier.

Using Follow Finder is as easy as entering the name of anyone Twitter.  For instance, you could search for “iBraryGuy” (no “@” required).  Click the search button and you will get results in two columns.  The first column, labeled “Tweeps You Might Like”, is a list of recommended Twitterers based on the tweeps whom the person you searched follows.  The second column, “Tweeps with Similar Followers”, actually looks at the relationships between the person searched and folks with similar lists of followers.  Sound confusing?  Follow along . . .

How Google arrives at that first list is interesting. Follow Finder compares the list of people the person for whom you searched follows, finds others with similar lists, and then identifies accounts you might also want to follow based on that comparison.  These are the “Tweeps You Might Want to Follow”.  In other words, if iBraryGuy follows Resource Shelf and other folks who also follow Resource Shelf additionally follow Read Write Web, Follow Finder will recommend Read Write Web to you.

The second list, “Tweeps with Similar Followers”, involves a similar comparison.  Only here Google is looking at the users who are following the person you searched.  So if you search iBraryGuy, Follow Finder looks at who is following us and then compares their lists of followers and makes recommendations to you based on recurring names.  Think of it as the flip side of the social coin.  When you enter a name into Follow Finder, it looks at both the folks whom that user follows and the folks that are following that user.

Google’s Follow Finder is a quick  and easy way to run a two-dimensional search for new Twitter users  worth following.  When we say quick, we literally mean that it takes split seconds to get your results.  And when we say easy, we might as well point out that Follow Finder even provides you with links under each name that allow you to simply click and follow.  It doesn’t get much easier!

Still in Google Labs, we look forward to seeing where this new search tool ends up in the long run!

Simply Hired revolutionizes the job hunt . . . simply!

In times likes these, job security is on everyone’s minds.  Unfortunately, for many, so is the job search.  The unemployment figures are staggering and competition for job vacancies is stiff.  Simply Hired is a beacon of hope in these difficult days.  Its simple, yet feature-rich suite of tools just might make finding that dream job a whole lot easier and more manageable!

The creators of Simply Hired had a single goal in mind – creating a single site where job seekers could easily search all jobs available on the web.  What resulted is no small feat to say the least!  Simply Hired aggregates job listings from thousands of websites including the leading job boards, company career sites, newspaper classifieds, non-profit sites, government sites, and more.  It’s an amazing one-stop-shop for job hunters!

Do not be fooled, however.  Simply Hired is more than just a job search.  The site packs in some great and unique features that make it stand out above similar job search sites.  Yes, you can search company names and job titles and even locales.  That is standard.  However, after you run your search, Simply Hired lets you filter the results with additional keywords or using special filters that focus on things like the Fortune 500.  Specialty searches are even offered to cover company qualities such as  mom-friendly, dog-friendly, eco-friendly, and GLBT friendly companies.  How cool is that?!?!  One of our favorite features allows you to link Simply Hired to your LinkedIn account.  Doing so will let you see who you may know at companies that are hiring.  Talk about a neat way to get a virtual foot in the door!

Accounts on Simply Hired are free and recommended.  By signing up, you can save listings, make notes on the listings you have saved, and even rate the opportunity for follow-up.  You can save your searches and even turn them into an RSS feed.  Your Simply Hired account will also allow you to map the jobs that interest you and set up handy e-mail alerts for new job postings.  Aside from an actual job with the company, there is not much more for which you could ask them.

Simply Hired’s tag line is “job search made simple”.  It should also be “job search made powerful”, because that is really what Simply Hired is all about.  An impressive set of job hunting tools, this site is a real bright spot in a tough job market.  Check it out today!

Are your tweets influential? Check your Klout!

Do you ever wonder who is reading those tweets you are sending?  How about whether those tweets have any real impact on the folks who are following you?  After all, a person’s influence cannot be measured by the number of followers alone.  Nope, you need to get a more robust sense of who is actually listening to you or acting upon your messages.  That is where Klout comes in!

Klout assigns scores to Twitter users by actually measuring the spheres of influence.  The higher the score, the more influential the person.  Klout also categorizes users into one of four categories, based on their scores.  Casual Users, for instance, may be new or have a small social circle online.  Climbers are on their way up, of course. Connectors are conduits of information to other users.  Finally, Personas  are folks that have really managed to build a brand around themselves in the Twitterverse.  Pretty cool, right?  If it sounds like a tricky and dificult process, it is.  And that is why it is so great to have Klout out there doing it for you.

So how does the Klout Score work?  Well, they actually use an interesting formula that takes into account 25 different variables! Stated most simply, Klout looks at the number of folks with whom you actually interact (True Reach), the likelihood that your tweets will cause interaction (Amplification Ability), and how influential the people with whom you interact are (Network Score).    They then normalize, analyze, and weight this data to derive your Score.  Talk about intense!

According to its website, “The final Klout Score is a representation of how successful a person is at engaging their audience and how big of an impact their messages have on people. ”  The iBraryGuy team tested it out and, though not thrilled with our score, we really learned a great deal about how we interact with others on Twitter.  If you are serious about building your social brand, as we are, then it might be time that you checked your Klout as well!

Tired of Talking to Machines? Time to GetHuman!

Do you hate those automated menus you get when you call a business for support or information? I know I often do. Sometimes, let’s face it, you just want to talk to a real, living, breathing, human being. Is that really so much to ask?  The folks at GetHuman have created a site designed to help you bypass those automated phone systems to get to the people on the other side.

Their site is simple, as it well should be. Almost 1000 businesses and organizations are listed and the number is growing. GetHuman is easy to navigate, just start typing the name of the company or organization in the searchbox and GetHuman will start showing your possible listings. For each entity listed, the site provides the contact number and instructions on bypassing its automated phone system. You can also get and post ratings on customer service experiences with that business. A great and simple model for getting things done!

Drop.io makes file sharing drop-dead-easy!

As e-mail systems crack down on the size of files that users are allowed to receive, it is becoming increasingly difficult to share large documents, media clips, and other big files with distant friends and colleagues.  Don’t fight the system.  Get wise and drop your files with Drop.io – a real time sharing site that makes it as easy as two clicks. 

With Drop.io, you can share files in real time by web, email, mobile, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and even iTunes.  You simply upload a file, set any security and privacy requirements you may have, and then let your contacts know that the file is there for their access.  It is REALLY quite easy.  Best of all, it is FREE!  A premium version is available for those who need even more functionality.

The iBraryGuy team used Drop.io, with great success, to share a PowerPoint and its accompanying handout with hundreds of attendees at the 2009 Special Libraries Association annual meeting and conference.  Want to see how it works?  Check out http://drop.io/60sites.

To make sweet screencasts, use a little Screenjelly!

Screencasting is all the rage these days.  From longer demonstrations to short how-tos to quick hellos, folks are using screencasts to make up for the lack of being able to to be everywhere all the time.  Navigating the technology needed to create these screencasts can be a little daunting, however.  Thankfully, there is a sleek online resource that makes short screencasts a breeze.  If you’re hungering for an easy screencasting solution, take a little taste of Screenjelly!

Screenjelly is sweet!  Its site lets users create three-minute screencasts on their computers, complete with audio, and then share them via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.  It is completely browser-based, so there is no software to install.  ScreenJelly also offers a bookmarklet that allows users to start a screen capture with a quick click and a button that can be added to any website that will allow users to record something and embed it in the site.  Veodia, the company behind ScreenJelly, also offers a premium tool for those wanting to record more than three minutes of material.

Three minutes may not seem like a lot of time to demonstrate something, but in today’s fast-paced world time is at a premium.  Researchers say that one really only has a few minutes to get another’s attention and convey a message.  Screenjelly makes creating your three-minute message quick and easy.  Getting the “word” out also could not be easier.  You can just “tweet” it to the world via a simple link, pop it into an e-mail, or stick on your Facebook page!

Easy, Interactive Grocery Lists a Zip with ZipList!

Although shopping for groceries is not necessarily a library or research function, the iBraryGuy team recently came across a resource that was too good not to share with our professional colleagues.  Besides, we know that you all take your shopping seriously and that, as a whole, librarians are an uber-organized bunch.  Thus, today's review and recommendation – ZipList.
 
ZipList is a hot, new set of tools designed to make the task of creating a grocery list not just easy, but also interactive.  Create lists online, using a free account, and then share them with friends and family via the web, e-mail, and even text messaging.  They can then add things to your list or even do some shopping for you.  Your list is accessible on the go from your laptop or smartphone browser.  An iPhone app is on the way!
 
There is much more to ZipList than just making and sharing lists, however.  It is literally designed to make list creation easy, help you plan meals, and even save you money at the store!  It comes with thousands of recipes already built in.  Add them your online "recipe box" or just have ZipList create a shopping list directly from the recipe.  Don't like the recipes they offer or want to add in some of your own?  ZipList has a recipe clipping function that will import recipes from other web pages!  Other awesome features include the ability to designate the stores from which you want the items, setting item priorities, adding reminders to items for which you have coupons, and even filtering your lists by stores or priority.  AND . . . if that is not enough to win you over, ZipList is an intelligent solution . . . it learns!  It remembers your lists, allowing you to add favorite items, and will even warn you when you add something to the list that you recently purchased.  ZipList can help you reduce waste and expenses!
 
We may be librarians, but we cannot live by our books alone.  We have to eat and we have to shop (we are human after all . . . ok, superhuman maybe).  Using ZipList, we can take a little of our library know-how and put it to some really practical use!  Enjoy!

iBraryGuy unveils iPhone App for Librarians & Info-Pros!

Exciting News from iBraryGuy!!!
 
The iBraryGuy team is pleased to announce the release of iBraryGuy for iPhone!  Our new, FREE app is designed to bring the best of the library and info social web to your iPhone.  With the iBraryGuy App, you can access our content and that of some of the best library and information blogs in the internet from any place you have 3G or WiFi access.
 
The iBraryGuy App is simple, yet powerful.  The initial screen upon opening the app is a live feed of iBraryGuy content, streamed directly from our blog.  With a click of the InfoBlog button, the entire web of library and information blogs is opened.  The InfoBlog section provides a live feed from our Librarians.Collected collaboration at Collected.Info. Librarians.Collected features over 30 (and growing) of the best and most popular blogs by and for librarians and info-pros.  If you know of any blogs that we should add to the list or have one you would like us to remove, please let us know!
 
We'd appreciate any feedback you can offer and hope to have an Android version available later this year.  Oh, and did we mention, iBraryGuy for iPhone is FREE?
 
iBraryGuy for iPhone . . . News for the Info-Minded!

“Regret the Error” makes Mistakes Memorable!

Are you a newshound who is fiendish for fact checking?  You can admit it.  Most of us in the library and information professions are.  We unflinchingly warn our patrons to cast a critical eye towards such concerns as authority, accuracy, and authenticity (the "three As" of facuality).  Mistakes among our trusted resources are often sure to send shivers down many an info-pro's spine, as well as raise a hue and cry on our listservs and discussion boards. Yet, we are often hit with the reality that errors in reporting, especially in the media, are rampant today.  Regret the Error is a site dedicated to helping us stay abreast of the "misses" – you know: miscalculations, mistatetements, misrepresentations, etc.
 
Launched in 2004, Regret the Error reports on corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications in the media.  It also covers trends regarding press accuracy and honesty.  The man behind the site is Craig Silverman, a freelance journalist with some excellent credentials.  In addition to serving as editor of Regret the Error, he is also a columnist for the Columbia Journalism Review and an associate editor for PBS MediaShift.
 
Regret the Error is by no means a lightweight site.  Though it can be entertaining, it is also shocking at times.  Silverman is serious about his role as fact-checker.  His book, Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech, won the Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism from the National Press Club.
 
In our industry, we like the facts to be facts and are all too well aware of how costly mistakes and poor reporting can be.  Regret the Error is an excellent resource to not only help us get to the truth, but also remind us that we have to be ever vigilant as purveyors of the facts that we get from and for others.

Want to follow the most popular Twitter users? Don’t just search, Twiangulate them!

With so many people using Twitter these days, how do you find those who are really posting the best information?  Don’t you wish you could follow the most popular and prolific?  Or maybe you want to know which experts your experts are following?  Searching the Twitterverse for the best, brightest, and most followed tweeters is by no means a small task.  Well, thanks to a cool new service, you can stop searching blindly and TWIANGULATE them instead!

Thanks to Twiangulate, finding valuable new Twitter streams to follow is as simple as entering the Twitter names of your favorite tweeters.  Yes, it really is that easy!  Twiangulate lets you enter the IDs of up to three Twitter users and then shows you which tweeters they are following in common.  It also gives you the basic stats on each of the users you entered: how many people they follow, how many follow them, etc.  You do not have to register with the site to use this cool search.  However, signing up is free and provides access to even more neat features, such as: hiding the names you follow, watched searches, search recommendations and more.

Twiangulate is so straight forward and easy to use that there is not much more we can say.  Give it a try.  You may just discover a treasure trove of tweeters to follow!