Social media is very visual. Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have a lot of potential, I don’t think the majority of libraries have taken them up yet. Even on “traditional” sites like twitter and facebook, photo posts get much more engagement (in terms of metrics – clicks, likes, shares). They can be a great way of communicating what’s going on in the library. Photos of events, displays, new arrivals, new services, can communicate a lot. There’s always the issue of getting permission from people to use their photo, but it’s as simple as getting them to sign a clearance form.
One thing I’ve seen libraries do is set up an interesting “selfie” opportunity as part of a display or exhibition and asking patrons to take tag their photo with a particular hashtag can build community too. And maybe running competitions where users can send in a photo?
Take a look at Instagram or Flickr and search and explore for some instances where researchers are using Instagram or Flickr. Add some links to pages you discover.
Megan McPherson – PhD and artist – good mix for instragram
Just some thoughts on using Instagram for social networking and profile building- the principles are pretty similar to Twitter only there’s always a pic involved. Sometimes the picture isn’t the important part – e.g. thesis whisperer’s picture of an empty plate, the plate isn’t really the point- it’s in the caption, “Dinner with international university marketing people”. It makes it informal and fun. The other use for Instagram is if the images ARE the point, like if you’re in a science field that creates interesting visuals. NASA’s Instagram is so cool (I love space pics!).
Flickr is a great source of different kinds of images – e.g. search for cell biology.
Researchers can also use flickr to find photos that are not academic per se, but have an academic use, e.g. a photograph of a building can have an academic purpose to a historian.