Posts Tagged 'facebook'

My 2011 in Music

Inspired by Ed Sommers post on 2011 Musics, here is my summary of new (to me) music in 2011.

I got 30 new albums in 2011, 22 were digital downloads (direct from iTunes store), and 8 were actual physical CD’s. (I’m not counting CDs burned for me by friends, only CDs I paid money for). All of the physical CDs were uploaded immediately to my iTunes library, and about half of the digital albums were burned to physical CDs (so I can play them at home for all to enjoy). The truth is, I love the listening convenience of digital music, but am clearly not ready to make a wholesale transition to all-digital. One thing that is stopping me is storage — I haven’t yet invested in iCloud or any other cloud-based storage solution — and I don’t have a device with enough memory (other than laptop and back-up hard drive) to hold all my music. The other thing stopping me is an old CD player at home, with no input for an iPod or iPhone — so if I want to listen to music through my half-decent speakers at home, I need actual CDs. These are probably not the only reasons I have not gone all digital though, since my book consumption patterns reveal the same indecisive mix of print and digital. Clearly I have some lingering emotional attachment to physical CDs and physical books. I’m OK with that.

My top 10 CDs, in order based on number of plays, for 2011 are:

  1. Crosby, Stills and Nash: Greatest Hits
    At some point in 2011, I realized I did not have enough CSN in my collection. In less than 5 minutes, iTunes took care of that. I love that digital music means I can get old music easily and quickly. I still keep a running list of old music I want/need, and enjoy hunting through used CD stores for gems; but sometimes you need some CSN right away!
  2. The Decemberists: The King is Dead
    This is one of the physical CDs, and was a birthday present.It is an excellent collection of tunes, and will make you forget the horribleness of their 2009 The Hazards of Love.
  3. Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
    Another CD I own in physical form — picked this up at a Best Buy because I had a store credit. I love the Allman Brothers Band, so took a chance on this without reading any reviews. This CD is flat out AWESOME. Buy it now! Check out I Can’t be Satisfied.
  4. Andrew Duhon

    Andrew Duhon, photo credit Flickr user dsb nola

  5. Andrew Duhon & the Lonesome Crows: Dreaming When you leave
    While in New Orleans for ALA in June, I heard Andrew Duhon live — he just happened to be playing on the night I decided to go listen to music on Frenchmen Street. I loved his sound, so downloaded 2 of his CDs as soon as I got home. Really good singer/songwriter stuff, with a sorta folksy flavor, and some pretty good harmonica on some of the tunes (I’m a sucker for harmonica). Here he is playing Crosstown Southern Blues (my personal favorite)
  6. Lucinda Williams: Blessed
    I love Lucinda, and will buy everything she puts out. This CD does not disappoint. The title cut is a personal favorite, and I love the accompanying videos on her youtube channel.
  7. Pete Yorn: Music for the Morning After
    I “discovered” Pete Yorn through Pandora – can’t remember what station I created that led me to Pete, but probably The Jayhawks, or Ryan Adams, or maybe Golden Smog.
  8. Andrew Duhon: Songs I wrote before I knew you
    See story for #4 above for example of how live music is supposed to work.
  9. Traveling Wilburys: Volume 3
    I don’t remember how I decided to buy this; but I added Volume 1 to my collection this Christmas. There is no Volume 2.
  10. Big Head Todd & the Monsters: Sister Sweetly
    I distinctly remember buying this one based on responses to my request for new (to me) music recommendations on Facebook. I specifically asked for something in the bluesy rock – rocking blues spectrum, and this definitely hit the spot. Again – title cut is especially good.
  11. Justin Townes Earle: Harlem River Blues
    I was on a bit of a Steve Earle kick for awhile, and someone (I think on Facebook) suggested I give this CD by his son a shot. I love the simple alt-country, bluesy sound of this CD. Christchurch Woman is a favorite. Am still not sure whether Steve and Justin beat out Bob and Jakob (Dylan) as best father-son musicians ever, so I’ll just keep listening to all 4 of them.

Clearly, social media play a big role in alerting me to new music and old music that I want in my collection. In fact, I complained on Facebook that none of my “friends” had ever mentioned Pete Yorn’s music, leaving me to discover him by chance on Pandora.

Some concluding advice:

  1. Buy Gregg Allman’s Low Country Blues, and play it immediately and often.
  2. If you don’t have any Lucinda Williams in your collection, get Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. It is the closest thing I have ever heard to a perfect album – music, lyrics, Lucinda’s amazingly distinct voice. Trust me on this.
  3. If you want to support a very good young musician, and you like Bon Iver or early Ryan Adams, give Andrew Duhon a try.
  4. If you like learning about new (to you) music, share the music you like with your social networks, and ask for recommendations. Things like Spotify that show me what a friend is listening to are OK, but I get more out of actual comments, mini-reviews, etc. I much prefer a “Mike thinks AC/DC is a great way to jumpstart the budget proposal process” over a “Mike is listening to Back in Black on Spotify”.

2011 in review at Feral Librarian, courtesy of WordPress

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

WordPress provides a pretty cool summary report, complete with fireworks. I’m happy to see that my 2 most popular posts for the year are actually library related (Suit up: Some free advice on interviewing for library jobs, and Our Library Facebook Page); but I think the many folks who got here through searches for steroids, copyright symbol, and wooden gate may have been a little disappointed.
I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions, but will try to post more often. I will also try to post more about some of the projects going on her at Stanford Libraries.

Update on our Library Facebook page

I know Library Facebook pages are old news, but my post on Our Library Facebook Page continues to get plenty of traffic, so I figured it was time to update the story of Green Library on Facebook.

We now have 2,846 people who Like us (up from 809 in July 2009, when I last reported our fan numbers); and I remained convinced that we are the most popular academic library on Facebook. Yale is close behind with 2,839, so I hope all the Stanford fans reading this will head over to Facebook and Like us.
We have not done any paid Ads since summer of 2008 — all of our new Fans/Likes have been gained organically.

We still get plenty of interaction on our page, with 40 comments/likes over the past week (I expect that number is higher during the academic year). We are averaging over 1000 monthly active users. Despite early fears on the part of many in the library community, we have not had any problems with flaming or negative comments.

I’m convinced that our success is based largely on the fact that we post interesting content, tailored to the interests of people who truly Like libraries. Most of what lands on our Facebook page is pulled automatically from our blog, but occasionally one of the Facebook admins will post something just to Facebook. The Facebook only posts are usually just quick links to outside articles of interest, often humorous (or intended to be humorous).

The best part of the story is that we have been able to leverage our Facebook presence to recruit participants for some usability testing for new website prototypes. We tried many other venues to recruit participants, but Facebook was by far the most successful.

For us, Facebook provides an extra venue for interacting with people who Like us; and the small amount of effort dedicated to keeping it up to date is certainly worth it.

“So, you’re a Giants fan”: Online reputations

Two new reports highlight the importance of monitoring and managing your Online Reputation. A report from Microsoft reveals that “79 percent of United States hiring managers and job recruiters surveyed reviewed online information about job applicants.” Giants bobbleheads In an interesting personal twist on this, several job candidates we have recently interviewed have done their homework on me prior to the interview. Apparently, the most salient fact one can glean about me (at least in the Spring) is that I am a Giants fan. Wonder if that discouraged any Dodgers fans from applying.

A related Pew Internet & American Life report found that increasing percentages of people are actively monitoring their online reputations, and that young adults are “are the most active online reputation managers in several dimensions”.

One of my personal online reputation management strategies has been to set up a “vanity search” on Google Blogs and turn it into an RSS feed in Google Reader, so I get a heads-up when something about me shows up on the web. I think everyone should Google themselves regularly, just to see what there is out there about you that people can see.

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Hard Problems in the Social Sciences

On Saturday, April 10, a dozen “big thinkers” in the social sciences gathered at Harvard to “identify – and ultimately tackle – the world’s thorniest unsolved problems in the social sciences” (thanks to The Monkey Cage for the scoop).

A video of the proceedings is available at the Symposium Website, which also has links to the associated Facebook page and Twitter account.

I love this use of social media:

Over the next two months, the University’s Division of Social Science will collect online submissions at Hard Problems web site and at a Hard Problems Facebook page. Anyone, anywhere, regardless of their field of expertise, is encouraged to submit questions for consideration until May 31.

And the reasoning behind leveraging social media and crowdsourcing:

“These are the sciences of our shared humanity,” he told a reporter. “But these sciences are much more in their infancy relative to physics or chemistry.”
“Because the social sciences are ultimately about people, we felt very strong that this be a democratic process and global process,” said Nash, who proposed the idea of creating a “Hilbert’s Questions” list for the social sciences and the conference, to Kosslyn. “We really want people around the world to view these videos, read the transcripts, and then vote on what they think is important,”

From HarvardScience, Culture + Society.

Also see Hard Questions from ‘Soft Sciences’ from the Wall Street Journal.

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danah boyd on privacy and publicity

Ethnographer and social media scholar danah boyd has posted the “rough unedited crib” of her SXSF talk “Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity”.

If you use social media personally or professionally, or you know someone who does, or you are thinking about using social media or know someone who is (that covers everyone, right?), then you should read this talk.

boyd discusses what privacy means to folks, and convincingly argues that privacy still matters to folks in an online social world:


No matter how many times a privileged straight white male technology executive pronounces the death of privacy, Privacy Is Not Dead. People of all ages care deeply about privacy. And they care just as much about privacy online as they do offline. But what privacy means may not be what you think.

She also has some smart things to say about the false binary of “public vs. private” and about the importance of understanding situational expectations (online and offline). She talks about the role of trust and argues that “Making something that is public more public is a violation of privacy.”

Key take-away:

Wanting privacy is not about needing something to hide. It’s about wanting to maintain control. Often, privacy isn’t about hiding; it’s about creating space to open up. If you remember that privacy is about maintaining a sense of control, you can understand why Privacy is Not Dead. There are good reasons to engage in public; there always have been. But wanting to be in public doesn’t mean wanting to lose control.

Librarians who are developing social media strategies would do well to understand the nuances of privacy, trust, expectations and publicity that boyd discusses.

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Overview of new Facebook Privacy settings

Facebook launched new Privacy tools and default settings recently, summarized by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerman here, and in two posts on the Facebook blog (here and here). There is also an official video tutorial.

One of the new features I like is the ability to customize who sees individual status updates, either by networks, friends lists, or by individual names. For those of us who sometimes want a bit more separation between work and personal, this could come in handy from time to time (e.g. Chris is “working from home this afternoon so she can watch an east coast basketball game with a 4pm (PST) start time”.)

There are some concerns with the new default/recommended privacy settings, which make your updates visible to Everyone, including search engines. Lots of folks have detailed their concerns with the new settings, along with recommendations for maintaining your privacy:

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The myth of “faux friends”

The Chronicle Review has another article about how Facebook destroys real friendship. William Deresiewicz argues that Facebook encourages people to broadcast narcissistic minutia to their networks of over 500 faux friends. He provides an interesting treatise on the history of the concept of friendship and intimacy, but precious little data to support his central argument that “If we have 768 “friends,” in what sense do we have any?”

The truth is that most Facebook users have something close to 120 friends (not 500, and not 768). In other words, people’s Facebook networks fall well within Dunbar’s number — which is “a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.”

Research also shows that people are real on Facebook.

Finally, the Pew Research Center’s report on Social Isolation and New Technology also contradicts the “faux friends” myth:

This Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community survey finds that Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.

Can we please finally kill this myth?
If you don’t like Facebook (or MySpace, or Twitter, or FriendFeed or whatever), then don’t join. But please stop accusing those of us who do use them of being isolated, narcissistic, and having “faux friends”, because the data show otherwise.

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People are real on Facebook

Contrary to the assumption that people will use online social networking to project idealized versions of themselves, research shows that college students’ Facebook profiles project their actual personality rather than their idealized personality traits.

Add this to other common assumptions about Facebook that may not be true:

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Apple Cider Turkey Brine and Sweet Potato Casserole

This post doesn’t really fit this blog’s focus on academic libraries, but I’m putting it here for 2 reasons:

  1. I want to make sure I can find these recipes year after year, and searching for it online is certainly going to be easier than trying to find the piece of paper I stuck into one of my cookbooks
  2. The turkey recipe came to me via an old high school friend on Facebook, thus demonstrating yet another value of social media

When I put out a call for brining recipes on Facebook, here is what my friend sent to me, word for word:

From “The Thanksgiving Table” by Diane Morgan (Chronicle, 2001).
8C Apple Cider
2/3 C Kosher Salt
2/3 C Sugar
6 quarter sized slices unpeeled fresh ginger
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
2 tsp crushed allspice berries

Combine in saucepan, heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar, bring to boil. Boil 3 minutes remove from heat, add 4C cold water and let cool to room temperature.
I usually do this Tuesday, add brine back into the container the cider came in, refrigerate until Wednesday. Wednesday around noon I put my bird in a 5 gallon bucket (restaurants will give you their old 5G pickle buckets, or you can buy one from a hardware store. They last forever and are also useful for harvesting in the garden etc) and add enough water to cover, top off with a bunch of ice. I leave it covered in the garage for 24 hours before cooking. I don’t know what your weather is like, but you may want to skip the extra water and just cram the bucket with ice instead. Or if you have room put the whole thing in your fridge.
I remove the bird, dry and rub down with canola oil. Now this is essential ( I have cooked hundreds of turkeys, spent 14 years in the turkey business) many people fear stuffing b/c it is hard to get it to food safe temp in the bird’s cavity. True enough, but the worst part about stuffing is the fact that it acts as a sponge, wicking moisture away from the bird. Bad, bad, evil stuffing. Do not put dry stuffing in the bird. Alton Brown figured that you can reverse this and then some if you put wet stuffing in! It works, his suggestion, one I have been following for years:
Combine 1 quartered apple, 1 quartered onion, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 sprigs rosemary (or sub sage or whatever you have…) and 1C water in a covered microwave dish and nuke on high for 5 minutes. This will soften the heck out of everything and it will come out waterlogged and kind of mushy. Put this in the bird, it will give off moisture during the cooking process.
Put bird in 500 degree oven for 20-30 minutes to sauté skin (lower temp will allow the fat to melt away without achieving anything yummy, higher temp gets the fat boiling off, crisping the skin very nicely) remove, insert thermometer into breast meat, cover breast with double layer foil and put back into oven set at 350 and cook until thermometer says 161 degrees. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

This was a remarkably easy recipe to follow, and the turkey was amazing. Everyone raved that it was the best turkey they ever had — moist, tender, delicious. I didn’t time things well, so had to leave the turkey in the oven after it was done so it wouldn’t be cold by the time everything else was done. So, I know it was overcooked, but this recipe is very forgiving.
I deviated from the recipe in 2 ways, one intentional, one not. I didn’t have whole cloves, so used ground cloves in the brine. I don’t think it had much effect, except that cloves don’t dissolve, so there was a sludgy mess of cloves at the bottom of the bucket when I took the turkey out. I also decided I wanted to baste the turkey while cooking (I don’t really know why, it just sounded like a good idea), so I poured some chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan and basted the bird 2-3 times during the roasting time.

My family has always made some version of sweet potato casserole with pecan topping every Thanksgiving, and it always gets rave reviews. This is the recipe I use:

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE (adapted from Cooking with Class, 1982)
6-8 Yams, cooked and mashed (I prefer Yams to sweet potatoes because the color is better)
1 cup sugar (I’ve been decreasing this every year — used only 1/2 cup this year and it was still very sweet)
pinch of salt
2 tsps. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup flour
1/3 stick butter, slightly softened
1 cup brown sugan
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Cook and mash the yams. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients (except topping) with mixer until smooth. Pour into greased casserole dish. Mix up topping ingredients and spoon on the yam mixture. I usually some whole pecans to the top as well. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

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