Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thing #65: Animate It

I'm hooked on Things. When this month's Nebraska Learns 2.0 Thing was announced, Thing #65: Animate It, I was all over it. Why? First, I had a great idea and wanted to try it out. Two, I realized with my last Thing, that it must be completed in the month it's offered to receive C.E. credit (yes, the incentive helped).

Gathering footage: Picking my subject wasn’t hard. I had just seen a stop-gap animation of books dancing on a shelf recently on Facebook. It took less than five minutes to take the pictures of my subject on my iPhone. It was a challenge to get them to my computer without emailing each one individually, so I posted them all together to Facebook in an album. They did get somewhat out of order. I saved them from Facebook in the order I wanted, “01,” “02,” “03,” etc., for easy uploading to WeGIF.

Working in WeGIF: Since I had numbered my files in the order I wanted them to be shown, uploading them was easy. I didn’t change any of the settings (frame speed, image effects) because I liked what I saw in the preview. All I had to do was set a title (Book Club Kit Shuffle) and caption (which you don’t see in the three-inch version on WeGIF), "Featuring The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, with 9 copies available in a book club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission." --These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and Media Centers.-- It was a bit hard to sit and be patient while the video was publishing. I thought I had done something wrong, then called tech support, i.e., Michael Sauers, who reassured me I could log out of my account and come back to it later and it would work its magic. I couldn’t log out while the loading popup window was open, so I x-ed out of the browser window. When I logged back in (after typing some of this up), the video was uploaded. So, users might try x-ing out and going right back in to see if that does the trick. Or, you might try working in another browser (I was using IE).

Sharing: I went back in to my account, saw I had 1 wegifs (argh, a single number attached to a plural noun), which opened my album of one video. I clicked on the video which took me to the page specific to that image. From there, I clicked Send to post it on my Facebook wall (tagged myself and Mr. Sauers). But when I went to my own Facebook wall, nothing was there. What it did was send it in a message. Aha. So I went back and Liked the image, and then I could make a comment and post it on my Facebook wall. Mission accomplished. Well, except… I checked on my feed, and the preview was fine, but when I clicked the small version for it to expand and play, there was a blank square. Feedback from friends indicated the same issue. I tried from the post in Facebook in Firebox. Drew a blank. Tried it on my phone. Took me to the page, but the video didn’t load. Back to IE, I had to follow the text link to take me to the video. Then, it worked like a charm. So, then, to get a short enough URL that would show up okay in Facebook, I went into the html code and grabbed my link. And that’s what I’ve been using since then.

A couple of hiccups I encountered along the way: I tried to log in with my Twitter account. I got an HTTP 500 Internal Server Error. So I created a personal WeGIF account (I do get tired of creating accounts for every little thing. Such a pain to remember usernames and passwords). Later, I logged out of WeGIF, signed in to my Twitter account, went back to WeGIF, and chose the Sign in with Twitter option, and it recognized I was a Twitter user and let me in instantly. Guess I didn’t have to create a personal account after all (ah, well). The other hiccup – once you create a personal account, you go to your email and verify your account. Well, I clicked on the link, and it took me to a Page Not Found 404 error. I clicked on Home and was in anyway. Just a couple of things that might be turn-offs to more hesitant tech newbies or those easily frustrated when glitches occur.

Uses of WeGIF: My goal was to highlight something in the Nebraska Library Commission collection. Librarians could do the same. From start to finish, the 3-step process I described above took about 50 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, it could take 15. Think of the outreach possibilities: posting videos on Facebook, on your website, in email blasts. Include a hook. Mine was: “Just needs a song to accompany it. Ideas, anyone?” Not only will the viewers watch the image (message received and processed), if given the opportunity, they’ll weigh in (feedback and engagement). That’s my idea of outreach.

And now, what you've all been waiting for...

Book Club Kit Shuffle, featuring The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, with 9 copies available in a book club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission, by k_brockmeier on WeGIF

1 comment:

Michael Sauers said...

I'm glad you had so much fun. And as you mentioned to me separately, I agree that the ability to add a soundtrack would be nice.