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Lisa Carlucci Thomas Journal of Web Librarianship November 2010 Social Eyes: Design for Double Rainbow
Rare is the inspirational, spontaneous, transformative moment shared among 20 million people. In the summer of 2010, people around the world were moved by the sighting of a double rainbow²almost a triple rainbow²³all the way across the sky´ in Yosemite National Park. Caught on video and posted to by YouTube by Paul Vasquez (aka Hungrybear9562) in January 2010, the video caught the attention of late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, who posted a link to the video on his Twitter account in July 2010. The video became an overnight Internet sensation: it was posted to social networks, emailed to friends, watched in dorm rooms and living rooms, and on laptops and smart phones. Vasquez was invited to numerous television interviews, and the video was nominated for a 2011 People¶s Choice Award. It sparked song mashups, Internet memes, and inside jokes. All in 3 minutes, 30 seconds. What can librarians, managers, and information technologists learn from this phenomenon? What would it take for us to similarly capture public attention and increase community interest and engagement in our libraries? How can we design for double rainbow? Whether you¶re designing library services, programs, or web sites, the objective of providing a positive customer experience to a wide and diverse audience remains the same. Marketing and outreach efforts range from traditional posters, mailings, and events to library partnerships with schools and organizations and social networking initiatives. Such efforts highlight the activities and offerings of the library, but how sticky is this information in the long
term? How likely are recipients to remember it and share it with a friend? Designing for double rainbow relies on keeping this question in mind. So what are the characteristics that keep people engaged and get them talking? Mashable reports that ³people will often remain watching a video three times longer when it has been shared by a friend, as opposed to finding it themselves on a website.´ Social sharing, whether online through social media or peer to peer communication, assures recipients that the information is worth their time²since it is comes from a trusted source, a friend or colleague. Social endorsement is essential to the accelerated spread of viral information. As the information is shared among peer groups, the number of recipients increases exponentially. In The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell describes three categories of social people that naturally promote rapid, widespread information sharing. ³Connectors´ are individuals who maintain large social networks of friends and acquaintances. ³Mavens´ regularly seek new information and actively share it with others. And ³Salesmen´ are the persuasive negotiators in our social circles. In conjunction, these are the friends who can turn a Twitter post, event, or press release into a double rainbow phenomenon. On July 2010, New Jersey librarian Andy Woodworth (Twitter: @wawoodworth) learned that the Old Spice company¶s marketing hunk, the Old Spice Guy, was creating custom web videos in response to fans on social media. Andy tweeted, ³ATTN LIBRARIAN TWEEPS: Need help getting @oldspice guy to say a few words regarding libraries. RT plz. Thanks.´ Throughout the day, librarians retweeted Andy¶s post on Twitter and shared the link Facebook to spread the word. And sure enough, the Old Spice Guy responded. Links to the video were posted to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms almost faster than the video could be watched in entirety, and the event and content created active debate within the professional
community. Woodworth highlighted some of the mixed feedback in a blog post, indicating that some viewers felt the video wouldn¶t ³solve our funding/advocacy problems,´ since ³it¶s just part of their marketing campaign,´ and ³we are more than just books!´ However, as Woodworth pointed out, the experience proved to be a valuable lesson ³on the power of social media to get a group of people talking about your product.´ What made this video stand out? First, numerous Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen² all part of the professional library community²spread the word and caught the attention of the Old Spice marketing team. Secondly, the resulting product was brief, funny, timely, and culturally relevant, eliciting an emotional response from viewers that prompted them to immediately share it with their network. Finally, it inspired imitation, which fueled continued interest and attracted mainstream media attention. The Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University followed the Old Spice model to develop a marketing video for their own library, ³New Spice: Study like a scholar, scholar´ (http://newspicepromo.blogspot.com). Pop culture, humor trends, and inside jokes deepen our interest in and social interaction with information. In his video, Paul Vasquez exclaims and sobs with joy at the sight of the double rainbow, asking ³what does it MEAN?´²signifying the spiritual and emotional connection he felt while viewing the event. His intensely personal experience, captured on video along with the visual scene, makes a lasting impression on viewers. The surprise, delight, tears, and unexpectedness enthusiasm of Vasquez¶s response is something to behold and pass on. Librarians have caught on to the use of emotional and cultural references in video to increase impact and recollection. Two recent remakes of popular songs have circled library social networks, ³Libraries Will Survive,´ modeled after Gloria Gaynor¶s hit ³I Will Survive,´ and ³Librarians Do Gaga,´ a rewrite of Lady Gaga¶s song ³Poker Face.´ The videos were widely
shared and featured on numerous blogs and popular web sites, such as BoingBoing.net and HuffingtonPost.com. Librarian Aaron Tay blogged that ³perhaps the easiest way to get a hit viral library movie would be to spoof a TV show or movie.´ Remixing new content with pop culture associates the message with our nostalgia, making the familiar a fresh experience that we¶re likely to tell our friends about and feed into collective information streams. Once a video, news item, or other piece of information catches fire²moving through the social networks of connected people, playing off shared emotional and cultural frames of reference²what keeps interest growing? The Double Rainbow video transcended its original platform and medium and inspired multiple catch phrases, mashups, and new Internet jokes. The website Blippy.com created an interactive 404 error page (http://blippy.com/404) featuring a child dressed as a unicorn, repeating words and phrases from the Vasquez video into a chat box beside a rainbow. As the user clicks the page, more phrases are displayed in the chat box, the unicorn begins jumping up and down, and the rainbow becomes a double²no, a triple rainbow. Blippy wisely remixed the original Double Rainbow experience into a completely unexpected and entertaining destination experience. Moreover, Blippy¶s designers cleverly chose to position this feature on a 404 error page²adding a positive user experience to an otherwise negative, ³page not found,´ situation. The Double Rainbow video also inspired a Double Rainbow song, with several remixes available on YouTube. The original boasts a catchy melody and samples various statements from Vasquez¶s video, and other versions include trance, techno, and acoustic covers, all of which you can dance to in your Double Rainbow t-shirt. So, ³what does it mean´« for libraries? How can we design for double rainbow when planning and marketing library services, web sites, and programs? Patricia Martin, author of RenGen: Renaissance Generation, presented key themes of the emerging techno-social, user-
centered environment at her keynote address for the Internet Librarian 2010 Conference. In order for libraries to adapt and maintain relevance, Martin said, they must ³put the user at the center of the universe, let users collaborate on the rules, and curate the human interface.´ The Double Rainbow video successfully delivered on these three guidelines²and libraries can aim for the same when designing elements of the library experience. y Think: Social²How will information about your library, service or initiative reach the widest group of users? What social networks are you or your regular users a part of, and who are the Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen in your library¶s community? Will interacting with and sharing this information put the library user ³at the center of the Universe?´ y Think: Emotional²What is the personal or cultural connection? What is the experience library users should take away from their visit to your library, web site, or program? How will you ³curate the human experience?´ y Think: Customizable²Are there opportunities for the library experience to be individualized and participatory? What would it take to increase flexibility and anticipate adaptability in the program or website design plans or library policies? Solicit and assess feedback early in the planning process and encourage the library community to ³collaborate on the rules.´ Designing for double rainbow takes consideration and practice. As libraries continue to evolve and promote relevance using emerging technologies, understanding what makes the ordinary information experience extraordinary is essential for engaging users and exhibiting value. Consider these strategies as part of your library¶s design plans, and the next double rainbow might be ³right in your front yard.´
On Twitter? Follow author @lisacarlucci & share feedback using hashtag #socialeyes
References Athenasbanquet. ³Librarians Do Gaga.´ YouTube.com. 27 May 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_uzUh1VT98. Brown, Damon. ³How the µDouble Rainbow¶ Video Blew Up.´ CNN.com. 14 Jul 2010. http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-14/tech/double.rainbows_1_double-rainbow-youtubefighter?_s=PM:TECH. Catacchio, Chad. ³Blippy¶s Awesome Double (no, TRIPLE!) Rainbow 404 Page.´ TheNextWeb.com. 4 Aug 2010. http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2010/08/04/blippysdouble-rainbow-404-page/. Crrlvideo. ³Libraries Will Survive.´ YouTube.com. 11 Sep 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8QjjKrEK7Y. Doctorow, Cory. ³Librarians do Gaga.´ BoingBoing.net. 26 May 2010. http://boingboing.net/2010/05/29/librarians-do-gaga.html. Ehrlich, Brenna. ³The Old Spice Guy Now Making Custom Videos for Fans via Social Media.´ Mashable.com. [n.d.] Jul 2010. http://mashable.com/2010/07/13/old-spice-gu/ Eisenmann, Caroline. ³Librarians Go Gaga: 9 Of The Funniest Library Videos Ever.´ HuffingtonPost.com. 16 Jul 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/16/librariansgo-gaga-9-of-t_n_648177.html#s114677. Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Boston: Little, Brown, 2000. .
Greenberg, Dan. ³3 Things Any Video Needs to Go Viral.´ Mashable.com. 19 Oct 2010. http://mashable.com/2010/10/19/viral-video-science/. Hungrybear9562 (Paul Vasquez). ³Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10.´ YouTube.com. 8 Jan 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI. Hbllproduction. ³New Spice | Study like a scholar, scholar.´ YouTube.com. 15 Jul 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ArIj236UHs. Lybrarian. ³Internet Librarian 2010.´ Lybrarian. 25 Oct 2010. http://lybrarian.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/internet-librarian-2010/. ³Re: @wawoodworth | Old Spice.´ YouTube.com. 14 Jul 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu-KBxOtJxs. Schmoyoho. ³Songify This: DOUBLE RAINBOW SONG!!´ YouTube.com. 5 Jul 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX0D4oZwCsA. Tay, Aaron. ³12 good library videos that spoofs movies or tv.´ Library 2.0. 3 Oct 2010. http://www.library20.org/profiles/blogs/12-good-library-videos-that/. Woodworth, Andy. ³Let¶s Eat Peanut Butter.´ Agnostic, Maybe. http://agnosticmaybe.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/lets-eat-peanut-butter/.
This is a preprint submitted for consideration in the Journal of Web Librarianship, copyright 2010, Taylor & Francis. The Journal of Web Librarianship is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com.