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?
I use different social media for different purposes. They have different strengths and suit different types of communication for different areas of life. There are some that I know I’m not making the most out of. I’ve made up a table that summarises what social media platforms I use, how privately, how actively, and how I use them:
||How I Use It
||Lightly work related; occasionally off-topic. Mostly reading and sharing library-related links, retweeting other people.
|Facebook & Messenger
||real-life friends only
||Personal. Entertainment, humour, news. No library stuff other than what I think will appeal to my family and friends. Keeping in contact with people, co-ordinating events and get-togethers etc.
||Entertainment, humour, art and design. Also started a very seldom-updated library-related tumblr blog, which I must have thought was a good a idea at the time.
||fluctuates (at the moment daily, but ask me again when BlogJune’s over…)
||Lightly work/library related; occasionally off-topic. Been a bit more personal lately during BlogJune
||every few weeks
||Personal. Normally post photos on insta and push to facebook rather than uploading directly to fb. I’m trying to find my own “groove” with it. Still taking photos of sunsets and cups of coffee which is a bit basic/generic – I need to make it my own.
||Mostly a static page. Little interaction. Only update with new qualifications, new job etc
||seldom (though the plug-in for Spotify and iTunes is always on)
||Recording everything I listen to. Little interaction.
||Recording everything I read. Little interaction.
Are you using any of the above profile platforms (Academia.edu, LinkedIn, Research Gate, Mendeley, Google Scholar Citations)? Why do you use it? Are there others that you would recommend?
I’ve set up a profile on LinkedIn but I don’t use it much. I think of it as an online CV – I only log in to update it if something happens like new job, new qualification, etc. I think it’s built more for finding job opportunities than for sharing academic research, but can be used for both -and I guess there’s a great deal of cross-over between those 2 things.
I have heard good things about Academia.edu and Research Gate. Mendeley looks appealing because it’s a reference manager and networking tool all in one (two birds with one app). Google Scholar is so ubiquitous it seems almost compulsory. It seems worthwhile to have a presence on all the biggest research network sites, or at least giving them a try.
I’ve noticed some ACU staff members use their staff directory profile to showcase their work. Probably good for when someone googles you, or a colleague looks you up. But as it’s a static webpage there’s not much interaction involved, and it doesn’t really enable anyone to “discover” your work unless they already know who you are. Still, it’s good to put up some information about yourself.