How’s It Going + Bitly Realizations

A small thing came home to roost today: 50% of my job now is emailing people reminders to do stuff. I’m giving myself reminders to email people to send me info for publicity items I’m making or promoting for them. I’m not actually making a lot of things at the moment since I’m busy tracking who owes me what for which program they’re hosting. Or to ensure that everyone feels included in contributing ideas for social media promotional materials. Today is World Poetry Day for instance, so I emailed five people to ask for a favorite poem to share. Then I snipped a stanza for a tweet, grabbed a custom short URL, and posted it to Twitter with a link and hashtag.

Social Media Ads
I’m also trying VERY hard to not obsessively check our Twitter and Facebook ad stats. We’re about to wrap up a several months long publicity run for a fundraiser. Once it’s done, I’ll compile a big report listing all our publicity efforts stats. Then next year I’ll clone the Asana project so we’ll know what items we have to do in the next round.

Note: we’ve been casually buying FB ads for awhile. I’m now obsessively detailing the stats in a new Google spreadsheet.

Bitly
Speaking of custom short URLs, we purchased dar.to to use with our bitly account. I showed key players how to install the Chrome extension and use it to tag their links. We’re using the links in social media, emails, and some linking of items on the website. This turned out to be a bigger dive than I anticipated:

* It doesn’t appear that you can further customize links once you have a custom URL in bitly.
* In order to get bitly links to show up correctly in Google Analytics, I’d need to run the original URL through a special Google tool. Then take that new URL and plug that into bitly. I’m saving this for something special.

We did get our first custom URL to show up in a newspaper printed press release. This is very exciting!

Weekly Stats Emails
I’m also spending a fair chunk of time creating stat emails which I send out:

* Analysis of how the previous Friday’s weekly events email did in terms of opens and clicks.
* Outreach on which events were mentioned in the two local papers and social media highlights.
* On/off again email to my boss on what marketing pieces I created this week and who I held meetings with. I often get too busy to follow up on this one.

People Read to the Bottom

Courtesy of Darien Library

One question I’ve had is wondering if anyone ever read to the bottom of our weekly events email. It’s somewhat hard to tell since clicks aren’t overwhelming positive. However, this week I finally got a definite response to our Did You Knows:

* 50: CSA Farm Share
* 19: HBO’s Big Little Lies booklist
* 24: Save the date for an event

That’s HUGE for us. I’d like to thank our director and the Head of Adult Programming for helping me select the items we’d feature in the DYKs. Each week I put in three items.

Hospital UX

It was discovered about six weeks ago that I needed a minor operation. I’d be gloriously under general anesthesia during the procedure — the initial test that found the abnormality had been extraordinarily painful, so it was a welcome relief that I’d be asleep for the actual surgery. The only other surgery I’ve had was for removal of my wisdom teeth.

Previous Surgery
They put me in a chair, put a gas mask on me, and asked me to count backward from ten. I believe I made it to six. Later, I woke up for a second when I was placed in a wheelchair. I had no bodily control, so I collapsed forward. I passed out again as they caught me. Then I woke up two hours later in the car. Blood had filled my stomach. My dad had to practically carry me up our steps — three hours after we left the surgery. I spent the rest of the day groggy and nauseous.

Clothing
This time, I was whisked into a pre-op room. The nurse and every person I interacted with repeatedly asked me what procedure I was having. They had me verify my info multiple times. Then I was left with a purple gown, a stripped robe, socks, a heated blanket, two bags for my belongings, and a bright green eyeglasses case. It took some work to get dressed by myself, but I managed to do it. I felt a bit like a Japanese warlord with the big robe loosely wrapped around me! I realized that my gown had a weird outlet in it. This was so that a hot air hose could be connected to it to blow warm air directly against my skin if needed.

IV
When the nurse came back, she inserted the IV while I looked steadfastly in the opposite direction. My spouse was then brought in. The IV was just water and electrolytes, but as I sat there, pressure began to build up in my head and then ran past my ears to my cheeks. I couldn’t hear and my head began to bob. I thought I was going to vomit. The nurse scrambled to recline my chair, offered me a wet towel, and helped loosen the robe and gown so I wouldn’t overheat. After a few minutes, the pressure went away. I looked up to find my spouse pushed back in a corner watching me wide-eyed and a little pale himself. The nurse remarked that the color had come back into my lips. I still felt a little funny, but I could hold my head up again.

Waiting
After that, I was too nervous to really talk. I handed the nurse my notarized living will to add to my digital records. Then while we sat and waited, I played Pokemon Go and Fire Emblem Heroes on my phone. The anesthesiologist then came in. She told me that I’d be intubated too, so I needed to sign off on that. Fortunately, I had done some last minute blog readings the night before, so I had read what to expect. I put my phone away then and just stared at my spouse in terror.

Time to Go
Two nurses came to walk me to surgery. I took a pit stop and awkwardly hung my IV on a wall hook. A nurse had to take back over holding the IV bag while we finished the walk to surgery. Once there, the doctor and a nurse worked together to remove the striped gown. I tried to hold the purple gown shut while stepping up onto the stool to get onto the bed. They had me put my arms out on these small sliding tables on either side. My head was secured in a…pillow-cup thing. It was comfy. A blood pressure cuff was put on my left arm. At my feet, it felt like more blood pressure cuffs were added to my ankles. The doctor, while holding my hand, told me that it was a like a foot massage. A blanket was put over me. Then a nurse opened up a binder and began to read aloud what I was there for. I looked down towards my feet again.

Groggy

Afterwards
I woke from a heavy dream which disappeared as soon as I opened my eyes. My head lulled on my left shoulder. Across the hallway, a clock read 9:12 a.m. Now that I think about it, did they put my glasses back on me? I’m near-sighted so I can’t see that far on my own. A nurse was sitting next to me. After a few minutes, she noticed I was moving my head around. She asked me some questions about my well-being. My throat was sore and dry, so this was a little difficult. They then called my spouse by his cellphone. When he arrived, he took the nurse’s seat. She then went and brought me a delicious buttered English muffin and water. I was starving, so I gulped it down.

They wouldn’t release me till my blood pressure came back up. It was low. She adjusted my IV, made me drink some more water, and wait a bit longer. Slowly it came back up. She then took my IV out. When she left, my spouse carefully helped me change back into my clothes. I wasn’t in much pain. A lady then pushed me down in a wheelchair while my spouse got the car.

Overall
What stands out to me is that everyone was so nice and considerate. My prior experience as illustrated at the beginning was that the orthodontist’s office didn’t even care that I hadn’t woken up. I’m going to attribute how sick I got last time to potentially having had too big of a dose of anesthesia and swallowing a belly full of blood. Today I’m feeling a little disorientated if I walk around too much. Sitting up and writing this has been a little hard as my head keeps wanting to lean sideways. But now I have this written up for you!

Mac Migration

After 5.5 years, I was upgraded to a new Mac at work. The old Mac tower is still serviceable, but it was struggling to process video footage while also allowing me to run Tweetdeck and Google Chrome for other tasks. The new Mac arrived about a month ago and it took till today to get everything transitioned over to the new iMac.

Digital Signage
The biggest hang up was the licensing for the software which runs our digital signage. I was running an older version on my old Mac which worked very well. However, the company doesn’t support that version for OS X Sierra, so an upgraded was needed. In order to do that, my old Mac had to be upgraded two versions, then have the licenses transferred to the cloud. I then had to contact the company so they would then release the licenses to be accessed via the new Mac. Our system admin then took care of doing the double upgrades + OS X upgrade on the six player machines. I spoke with customer service twice during this process. At least a dozen support emails went back and forth.

Font Incompatible
With that in place and having copied all my remaining items off the old computer, I made the leap today to the new machine. Immediately I ran into a problem: the font we use for our branding doesn’t work with the iWorks software. Over on apple.com, I had to sign in, contact support via chat, they called me, I was put on hold three times, and then finally a nice guy named Nick picked up. He remote viewed into my machine to see the problem for himself. After several checks verifying the problem, he told me that yes, the font just isn’t compatible.

What I was seeing is that every time I hit a hard return in Pages or Keynote, a quote mark would show up at the end of the line. The guy recommended that I contact the font company for support on getting a Mac-compatible version of the font. I had used this font for 5.5 years on the old Mac. I’ve found an open source alternative which I’m using in the meanwhile while waiting on further instruction from my boss.

Google Chrome
Trusty ol’ Google Chrome also failed too. I know on other devices that if I log the browser in, everything will cross-populate over to the new system. That did not happen here. I ended up using a separate extension to backup all my tabs and then move them over to the new machine.

PC
Our system admin wound up on the floor helping me pull out cords as we tried to figure out why my PC’s monitor suddenly stopped working too during the transition. When I had to leave to get on desk, he was still tugging at cords. When I returned an hour later, the monitor was on.

Overall, this process has been quite exhausting!

January Hits Hard

We’re having a very busy time this month. January is typically a slow month for both people coming in the door and programming. However, things are bouncing in publicity. This week I’m dealing with trying to get less mass emails sent out, pushing five major projects out the door at once (timing guys, we gotta do better next year), and so many emails. Drowning in them.

My colleague is giving a talk on fake news tonight. She sent me her slide deck to go over. I’m grateful she got the general layout and composition done. The formatting of it took 90 minutes for 45 slides. I’m eager to hear how many people attended the event. We got some traction from people about 30 minutes away.

Our videographer and I had an hour-long meeting with the Head of Public Services today. We presented her with three different video projects. Two are immediate and one is longer term. She gave some highly needed feedback which substantially shifted the direction of one video. The best part of the meeting was her lighting up as she discussed romance as a genre. She’s an absolute delight to listen to with how passionate she is about the power of readers’ advisory. I have zero skills/interest in that area, so it’s great to see an expert go.

Four Versions of Email Text

This week I’ve taken on something that I wasn’t sure about doing — ghostwriting text for other people. I started doing this because it’s the fastest way to get things written. We’re sending out a fundraising email next week and I rewrote the copy to be more like a personal letter in the voice of my colleagues who usually write the text. They’re not really here this week, but I’ve been typing up their newsletters for 3 years so I’m familiar with their style.

Then this morning, I realized that I hadn’t heard back from a colleague for her opening paragraph in this week’s events email. She was on desk and I realized the fastest way to handle this is to simply type up a few different versions and let her select one. I hoped she’d personalize her favorite, but she did not. Can you guess which one she choose?

Take One
Can you spot fake news? Social media has made it harder to determine if something is true or not. In this one-hour class on Fake News or Real News, I’ll show you how to determine for yourself if something you read is a credible piece of information.

Take Two
As librarians, we are asked every day to verify if websites, books, or articles can be trusted. Is the information they contain factual, an opinion, or propaganda? In this one-hour class, I’ll show you how to determine for yourself if something you read is a credible piece of information. We’ll look at tall-tale signs that information may be inaccurate and how to find out where the information came from.

Take Three
Win online debates by backing up your statements and debunking false ones! In this one-hour class, I’ll show you how to determine for yourself if something you read is a credible piece of information. We’ll look at tall-tale signs that information may be inaccurate and how to find out where the information came from.

Take Four
How do you know if an online story is real or fake news? It can be tricky with emotional words tapping into the high stress of the 24/7 news cycle. Learn how to spots the signs of inaccurate news and how to find out the truth via credible sources in this one-hour class.

Answer: Take Four

Note: I just remembered that I did my first ghostwriting about a month ago.

Old Twitter Accounts

Twitter randomly showed me an old forgotten account associated with my library yesterday. It hadn’t been updated in four years. I did some digging around today and found out whose email address it had been associated with, contacted the department head, and we made the decision to delete it. A few minutes later, she emails me back and asks if I know about this other account. No. This one hadn’t been updated in five years and had twelve tweets. It felt good to delete them.

What was better: documenting the decisions in my work spreadsheet.

Current Publicity Workflow

I’m feeling a little better about how I’m doing at this new job. Using Asana to track projects is working well. My current workflow is such:

* Get a request for publicity help. If it’s complex, I schedule an in-person meeting.
* We meet in person. They tell me the scope, their dreams, and desired outcome. We discuss how to reach their audience. We sketch out our plan of attack.
* I go back to my desk and put it in Asana. Simultaneously, I cross-check due dates with my Google Calendar where I track the blocking out of time to work on projects.
* Then I use Asana’s project-level print view to print out the plan and deliver it to my colleague. It seems to impress the hell out of them to get a physical sheet of paper in hand.

I’m also trying to live up to the advice I got from the Cecily Walker interview I co-did with Michael Schofield on behalf of Circulating Ideas. The advice: pad your time. When I’m setting up my schedule for the following weeks, I block out an hour a day called “Downtime.” This is really code for “wiggle room” as things come up as they always do. Yesterday for instance, my day got hijacked for three hours. However, at the end of the day, I managed to get all my major tasks done thanks to the set aside time.

No Idea What I Did

My day was very full and I wrote around 20 emails, but at this point in the evening — 6 hours after leaving work, I have no idea what I did today. Something about the help desk, planning out new email campaigns, finding an image for an email campaign, coming up with a new short video to share…

I’m mostly updating this to say that I’ll be sharing my Web Writing class slides soon. Just need to get something verified before I can post them up.