Dumb Down Your Smartphone

We’ve all heard of unplugging or taking social media breaks, but it’s not realistic for some of us who need our phones for work, or who really have no discipline to totally resist. So how about just “dumbing down” your cell phone? I recently came across this term and was fascinated by it.

Dumbing down isn’t about leaving your cell phone off completely, but about learning how to use it so that you aren’t distracted constantly, AND so that you can honestly hop on just to grab a phone number or text an important message and not fall down that rabbit hole of endless surfing. Great idea, right? We could all benefit from this.

Dumbing down your cell phone involves three steps:

  • turning off notifications for apps that constantly keep you looking–Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc….anything that pings every few minutes from new posts
  • putting all of your well-used apps into a folder that’s NOT on your phone’s front page
  • wrapping your phone in a rubber band

Turning off notifications is the easiest way to quiet your phone. You might have to go into each app to find those settings, but you’ll also want to select how your phone rings, or how email shows up in your apps. It’s easy to set your apps to just display a notification, or get rid of them completely for a day (or an hour). You can turn them back on later. No notifications means your phone will stay silent, but you won’t miss important phone calls. (Turn off text notifications, too!)

Putting all of your apps into a folder will require a little more work, but if you can’t readily see the ones you use every few minutes (or seconds), you’ll be less likely to use them. You can access the folder easily (and even move it to your main screen later), but it makes you work harder to get at the things that waste your time. Smart.

Lastly, wrapping your phone in a rubber band might seem seem extreme, but it’s more of a visual reminder than a deterrent. Remember people who used to put a rubber band on their wrists to remember something, or snap it to remind them not to do something? This is the same idea. The rubber band tells you that you’re actively trying to stay away from using your phone for a little while.

And if you’re looking for something fun to read while taking a social media break, but just can’t stop thinking about Twitter, how about this: THE DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TWITTER LIBRARY by Steve Badow. It’s a fun analysis of all of Trump’s tweets since becoming President, and a political “analysis” of each one from the writers of The Daily Show.

Place a hold on it now. This one is going to be popular! And good luck with your dumbing down project!

Do Happy Things

Book of JoyIf you’re on social media at all (Facebook, Twitter etc.,), you’re probably being bombarded with negative posts and tweets. You can unfollow people, or stay off social media altogether, but sometimes, that isn’t the answer. Maybe we all just need to fill our feeds with positive ideas. Like brings about like, correct?  We have a few great new books that might give you some ideas, and ways to be more positive in your everyday life as well.

THE BOOK OF JOY by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams looks like just the ticket. Both of these men share their wisdom on what really makes people happy, and how you can have more of it in your own life. The cover alone is bound to make you smile.

18775110Dan Quillen’s USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND YOUR DREAM JOB! sounds like a fairy tale, right? But there actually are people out there who have worked into amazing new careers simply through their social media channels. Be original, curate good, positive content, and most importantly, be yourself. You’re bound to stand out from the crowd.

28957319If you’re on any kind of social media, aside from all of the food posts and pictures of beautiful rooms, people take photos of their animals. Maybe it’s just a fun hobby, or maybe it’s an obsession. Either way, find out how you can make your social media feeds even better (and maybe land a dream job in the photography world), by taking even more adorable photos of your pets with Key Eskridge’s PET PHOTOGRAPHY: DESIGN IRRESISTIBLE PORTRAITS OF DOGS, CATS, PEOPLE WITH THEIR ANIMALS, AND MUCH MORE.

We are always adding great new titles to our library catalog. Drop by to take a look:




Life Long Learning & Social Media

Social-Media-IconsLife Long Learning is a brand new series we’re starting at the library in 2016. Our programs will be informative and entertaining, given by professionals who are at the top of their game.


Twitter 101 —-  Saturday, January 16th, 2-4pm —-An intro to Twitter as a communication tool, social networking platform, and information sharing structure.

Facebook 101— Saturday, February 20th, 2-4pm — An intro to the popular social media site. Learn how to be safe using this platform, and have fun at the same time.

LinkedIn 101— Saturday, March 19th, 2-4pm—-This great intro to the career-based communication tool will help you navigate the confusing waters and improve your career presence.


How Money Works: A Family Finances Seminar-–Saturday, January 20th, 10am—This information session will provide families with great tools to use now and plan for the future.

Making Your Money Last: Planning for Retirement—-Saturday, February 13th, 10am—-Join us to learn how to transition into your retirement.

Women and Investing—Saturday, March 26th, 10am—An informative session to help women understand the often confusing world of finances.

All sessions require registration, so please call the library at 257-2702 to sign up well in advance. We know a lot of these programs will be popular, so don’t miss your chance to learn something new!


Frivolous Friday Pinterest Book Deal!

Several months ago, I came across a funny story about a woman named Tiffany Beveridge, who only had two sons, but had created a wildly imaginative Pinterest Board for a daughter she didn’t have. In this board, she pinned wonderful, stylish and sometimes crazy photos of clothes for her little imaginary fashionista. She named her daughter Quinoa and wrote creative captions on many of the pins, creating a little story about the girl she imagined would wear all this stuff. It made me laugh, but I thought, how smart!

And after a lot of global attention (books, TV, online), she now has a book coming out called “HOW TO QUINOA : LIFE LESSONS FROM MY IMAGINARY WELL-DRESSED DAUGHTER”.



She never set out to make a big splash on social media, but her humour and inventive creation caught on with so many people, she’s thrilled at the attention. Just a little something for you to think about as we head into the weekend. How about creating your own Pinterest Board!

Do you waste time?


It’s that time again….Frivolous Friday! Just a little bit of fun to get you through the weekend. And what are we talking about this week? FACEBOOK!

We all spend too much time scrolling through our newsfeed to see what fun and exciting things our friends are doing. And don’t forget all that time it takes to post your own great status updates, photos and videos. Just to share a post on your own timeline can take about a minute, if you’re adding a comment. So, just how much time do you waste on Facebook? Time Magazine has come up with a way to find out.

Facebook has been around for 10 years now. Hard to believe, isn’t it?  And while many of us make claims that we don’t use it very much, you might not be as accurate as you think. While Facebook doesn’t post data about how often their users log on, Time has created an app that will calculate your time spent on the site based on the timestamps on every post in their feed.  Just log in, allow their app to scan your feed and they’ll give you some very interesting results. Don’t worry, this will not be posted on your Facebook page. (Just click on the TIME magazine link above to be taken to the page).

While it tells me the average person spends 17 minutes on Facebook, our library results were less than accurate, I think. Even though it shows we’ve been online since June 30, 2010, it only recorded 18 posts….and if you follow us on Facebook, we have plenty more than that. Plus, it said we waste ZERO time on the site!  While I’d like to brag about that (yes, all of the time we spend there is important and not wasted at all), I’m hoping your records might be a little closer to the truth. Try it and let us know!

Witty Tweets = Book Deal?

If you use Twitter, eventually, you’ll want to follow people who write exciting/interesting/funny tweets. Otherwise, the stream of tweets becomes monotonous, or at best, forgettable. If you don’t follow someone who posts regularly and with some thought behind it, you’ll probably give up on it altogether. (I got so tired of everyone posting “Buy this book!” tweets that I left my feed alone for about a year.) Of course, this applies to all forms of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, to name a few.

So, then why do we hear about people who are getting book deals from their Twitter/Facebook posts? Could someone out there actually be posting useful or entertaining information? The answer is YES!  There are plenty of great people to follow, and many who have reached a book deal because of their great tweets. Like who, you might ask?  How about some of these:

Charlie McDowell is a Twitter user who started posting the overheard and slightly-insane conversations of the two young women who lived in the apartment above him. His funny look at a situation that could have become very annoying brought about the book DEAR GIRLS ABOVE ME : INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY.


We’ve all seen the “Hey, Girl” memes splashed over the internet with Ryan Gosling as the star saying sensitive, swoon-worthy, I-wish-they-were-true things about all kinds of women. Danielle Henderson took them one step further with her book called FEMINIST RYAN GOSLING : FEMINIST THEORY AS IMAGINED FROM YOUR FAVORITE SENSITIVE MOVIE DUDE.


And Canadian Taylor Jones thought of the ingenious idea whereby people hold up an old photograph taken in a location they can visit again, and then take a photo of the photo with the present in the background. It sounds more complicated than it is. People began sending him photos right away, and it became the wonderful book called DEAR PHOTOGRAPH.


You can see an entire list of great social media sites that garnered people book deals right here. Have you read any of these books?  Do you follow any of these authors?

The Beyonce Debate

The music world is very much like the book world in many respects. Big names garner huge sales without much effort, and little names usually need a lot of publicity to make their mark. In December, a music great did something not many people would have the nerve to try, and it worked out for her spectacularly!

If you haven’t heard about Beyonce and the self-titled album she released in mid-December, you probably don’t listen to Top 40 radio. But she did something daring—instead of months of promotion leading up to the album release, Beyonce used Instagram and posted a video and the word “Surprise!” on the day of the release. Nothing more. No one knew about the album, it had an exclusive release on iTunes (meaning, you could only buy it there), and best of all, she did no other marketing at all. The one photo caused an all-out frenzy and people went directly to iTunes to download, making it one of the top selling albums of 2013, even though it was only released in the final few weeks of the year. Amazing, by any standards!


Of course, she’s such a superstar and has such a following that it wasn’t impossible for this to succeed in her case. It was risky, but it paid off. The debate is on now, however, about other musicians doing something similar, and whether or not it would work now that it’s been done. Was it great just because it was a gimmick? Could she do the same for her next album and still do as well? Only time will tell, but the idea of not spending money on marketing has got to be throwing publicity departments everywhere into a tailspin.

The question here is whether or not companies need to be throwing HUGE publicity/marketing money behind sure-sellers who have proven themselves to have enormous followings. This idea is starting to make the rounds on forums and websites galore. Can they go with minimal marketing and still sell high, while that money could be thrown into lesser-known acts who often get very little in the way of marketing funds and publicity? Sure, record companies want all of their acts to sell big, but they don’t want to “waste” marketing money on someone who might not sell as many albums. It’s a tough decision, and certainly one that’s just been challenged.

This can all be applied to authors and publishing companies as well. If an author has already sold well and has a proven track record, more money will be spent promoting the author’s books in stores, online and through whatever media necessary.  But a new author—even one with a lot of buzz—will traditionally get less backing from their publisher for marketing. That seems a little counterproductive. Beyonce’s experiment has many wondering whether this is an old idea that might do well to change. If publishing companies spent less sending bigger authors out on book tours etc., would we stop buying those books? I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t keep looking for new books from my favourite authors just because I haven’t seen a full page ad in a magazine talking it up. But I WOULD be inclined to pick up a book by a new author that has some promotion behind it. Often, we find out about these books through word of mouth. It’s not enough, in my opinion.

The world is changing, and social media is becoming the way to connect authors/musicians with their fans. One tweet, one status update or one selfie on Instagram is often enough to generate thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. Maybe we’d do better to start focusing some social media marketing on well known names, and leave the traditional marketing to promote the lesser known.

What do you think about new creative ideas for promotion and marketing? Do you think lesser known authors would benefit from more backing, while not taking anything away from high-profile authors? Do we need to change our thinking behind promotion and social media? Join the conversation!