Tempting technophobes: top tips

Andy Tattersall and Claire Beecroft will be sharing tips on converting technophobes at Internet Librarian International. Here's a preview.

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Get visual

Never underestimate the use of video, quickly becoming the dominant format on the Web. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Forecast it reached 57% of Internet traffic in 2012. With the growth in video content there has been an increasing ease and cheapness to make and host content. There are many ways to encourage colleagues and students to engage not only with technology via video recordings but to actually make their own. Screencasts can be used to explain why and how to use and review a technologies; even build a quick and simple resource such as the Minute Mendeley Google Site we built to encourage students to use the software.

By chunking up teaching in videos to bite size pieces it increases the chances of viewers losing attention. It also gives the affordance of learning about technologies at their own pace and in their own time. Video can also be employed to promote teaching and awareness sessions by making a promo of what you will cover in the session. By making teaching more appealing in advance you give yourself a better chance of getting people to the waterhole. Teaching and promoting via video can have longer term benefits as colleagues and students learn to understand that it is easier for them to utilise the technology in their own output which leads us back to tip #2 and finding champions.

Find a 'twin'

One of the commonest reasons staff give for not wishing to become involved in social media and Web 2.0  tools and technologies is that "people in my field don’t do that". This is seldom actually the case, but it may well be true that staff simply don’t know who in their field is using these tools, as they don’t use them themselves! Some staff may also have ingrained beliefs that platforms such as twitter are 'trivial' and simply not relevant to academia.

The single best riposte to this argument is to find someone as closely comparable to them as possible who is making effective use of these tools, especially if you can show how they have benefitted. This might be in the form of a tweet about their research or publications that has received a large number of retweets, a video or slideshow with 1000+ views or a large following on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. They key is to be able to demonstrate that these tools and technologies can work for them, and that they are 'missing out' on important opportunities and conversations if they don’t get involved.

As part of our session at Internet Librarian International 2013 on Wednesday 16th October, Track A, 11.30am; we will run down the ten best ways we think you can improve impact and skills within your organisation, for now three is the magic number.

Andy and Claire will be sharing their top 10 tips at Internet Librarian International (ILI) in Session A202 - New ways to promote services. You can find out more about ILI here.

The authors work at the University of Sheffield.  You can follow them on Twitter (@andy_tattersall; @beakybeecroft).

Photo courtesy of http://jronaldlee.com/ via Flickr (Creative Commons).

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