Social media can be considered as part of just about every other discussion topic we have ever had here at the ILN. For example, we’ve talked here about censorship. Consider the way social media has allowed us to see and hear stories we might otherwise have not been able to, if we were relying on traditional media outlets. Library advocacy is stronger and louder with the use of social media – attracting supporters to campaigns to save libraries or fix budget cuts , promote new products and services or raise awareness of libraries.
Social media is serious business. It has transformed the way many of us do our jobs and live our lives. It has blended the personal and the professional in a way that was as revolutionary as the introduction of the mobile phone. The merging of the two, with smart phones meeting the tools of social media has been another leap forward in the indispensable nature of social media.
Social media (and associated Web 2.0 tools) allows programs such as ours to exist, run by volunteers and using free tools that enable people to connect all over the globe. For example, we present at virtual conferences, bring our participants together using virtual meeting software, connect with the global library community via twitter chats and use Storify to capture those twitter chats so anyone who missed out can see what we talked about.
There is also the undeniably fun side of social media. We can share photos, links, videos and memes with a like minded community – many (most?) of whom we have probably never met in real life. Some organisations are better than others at blending this approach to social media. Over the next two weeks we will be bringing some examples of the use of social media by libraries to your attention here.
Barriers and issues.
So, is it as simple as setting up a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account for your organisation and hoping your followers will come? The answer is no, it’s not at all that simple, although many organisations may do just that. A quick search for social media and libraries in any search engine brings up the need for planning and strategy from the beginning if social media is to be an effective part of a library’s marketing or communication.
Consider also the blurring of lines around ownership of the content posted on social media. Is it ok to use Twitter and Facebook comments from customers in your own marketing (without asking) for example? Technically maybe yes, but is that enough if the idea of social media is engagement with your community.
Based on some of these considerations and your own experience with social media both professionally and personally, you may like to discuss with your program partner issues such as:
- Does your organisation (or you) go beyond the now traditional Facebook and Twitter in its use of social media?
- Are there barriers to social media in your organisation?
- Does social media blend your personal and professional life, or do you keep them quite separate?
- How can you make use of social media to enhance your professional development?
- Have you been involved in a social media campaign to save your library, promote a new service or just attract followers?
- Is there a social media policy at your place of work?
As always, we welcome your comments here on the blog, on our Facebook page or you can join in the conversation on Twitter using #interlibnet.