Social media and the Tour de France

It’s no secret that Lance Armstrong is riding the Tour de France this year. He’s been all over the media and the web. He’s got a huge following on Twitter, and he is getting tons of comments on his TDF training videos and training blog. So what’s the big deal about using video and twitter and other social tools? Well, if you’ve ever heard anything about the Tour de France, or pro cycling in general, you probably know that the support is not without controversy. Every year, riders are disqualified for blood doping or using banned substances. The race officials have started really cracking down in recent years, yet there are riders (or teams) who choose to cheat. I’ve been a follower of Lance on Twitter for quite some time, and I believe that he is using it, and other social tools, to be more transparent about his training, his life, his Livestrong organization, and his life in general. Below are a couple of really cool videos from his website which show the human side of Lance. In both cases, we have a world famous athlete talking with everyday folks while riding his bike. It’s often hard to think of athletes or celebrities as real, approachable people, but I think the videos below show the Lance is a person on a bike, not a machine.

I’ve written recently about the importance of putting pictures of staff on librarywebsites. I really think that social tools like online video can help to personalize the library website and make it more approachable. Video and pictures from staff members can make the library more welcoming by breaking down the barriers and fears that users may have of the organization. By showing the people behind the institution, libraries can make their sites, buildings, and services more accessible.

Take a look at the videos below.

A video of Lance riding a TDF training route with an 8 year old boy

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A video of Lance talking with a lady from Ohio on the TDF route

ohioguest.mp4 — powered by

It’s a small world after all

Last night I got an IM question from a student while staffing our IM reference service.   She was in the stacks, but “was totally overwhelmed” with how many books we had and was very confused about how to actually find a book.   Since four floors separated us, I decided to send her my video on how to find a book in our library.   It’s a rather cheesy video that I made last summer with my Flip video camera.   As is typical, after sending the student the link to the video, I never heard back.

This morning, I taught a library session for a freshman English class.   About 45 minutes into the class, two girls mentioned how they had watched my video last night and found it really useful.   It turns out that the girls were the same patron that I sent the video to last night.   It was a very cool “small world” experience, and I was able to use the experience as a way to promote our Ask A Librarian service to the other students in the class.

I’m glad that the students found our IM transaction to be helpful, and that got me to thinking.   What if I had given them bad service last night?   What impact might that have had on their experience during this morning’s class?   How would it have impacted future library experiences?   What if they told their classmates that they were treated poorly?   We almost never get to meet or see the patrons that we help via IM, chat, or email.   With IM and chat, there is almost never a real name tied to the patron on the other end, so it can be easy to be less personal with the patron.   If you’re having a bad day, it can also be easier to be rude or short to a person who you cannot see, or whose name you do not know.     The girls this morning were extremely engaged, and worked very hard during the session.   They asked a lot of questions, and I think their overall impression of our library is very positive.   I wonder if we assumed we would meet each virtual patron the next day in person, how might that affect our interractions with our virtual patrons?   Likewise, how might our patrons’ perceptions of the library change?   It’s a small world, after all, and it’s only getting smaller.

Using Camstudio to Screen Record Video Tutorials

Using Camstudio to Screen Record Video Tutorials.

Camstudio was the first screencasting program that I ever used.   It’s also one of the only ones I know of that will record in AVI format, allowing you to edit the video with Windows Movie Maker.   For future installments of the Monday Night Update, I may incorporate some screen grabs from the web or from my computer, and this will do the trick.   The tutorial linked above shows how to change the default settings of Camstudio for the best recording possible.

How to add PowerPoint on

I know SlideShare is a really cool service, but I honestly did not want to create yet another account to share my stuff.   Since I have a Blip.TV account, I figured there had to be a way to get PowerPoint slides up on   After experimenting yesterday, here’s the process that I found that actually works.   It’s not easy, but it works.

1.   In PowerPoint 2007, Choose Save AS–>Other Formats, and then save the file as a Windows Meta File   (.wmf).

This will save each slide as its own metafile in a parent folder.   In my case, I had 66 slides, so this saved 66 .wmf files.

2. Next, open Windows Movie Maker, and import the .wmf files you just created into a Movie Maker collection.   Then drag all the slides down into the movie timeline to add to a movie.

3.   Theoretically, you could add audio or voiceover there if you like, and you could also extend each slide to match your voice over, but I just opted for pasting in my slides.

4.   When you are ready to render your project, Choose File–>Save Movie File.   Choose the My Computer option for playback on your computer.   I chose the Other Settings Option, and the quality appears to be fine and of a reasonable file size.

5.   Finally, upload your new movie to your account.

Granted, the process is probably not as easy as SlideShare, but once you do it, its a relatively painless process.   I really think the ability to add audio (music) or a voiceover can make the slides a little more interesting.   I also Iike the idea of having all of my video and powerpoint content in one place, and satisfies that need.

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