Social media is always changing
From my very first post on Facebook in October of 2007, I have felt like I am just a bit behind the times in the world of social media. A student helped me create my Facebook page. He also demonstrated a game that “everyone” was playing. It was a strategy game that you played with others through Facebook. It was so much fun, in the beginning, creating a profile. You could list your favorite books, movies, and music–all the things librarians like to discuss. And unlike MySpace, there was not a place to list your salary or body type, so it felt less like a dating site to me. The early statuses were quite short, only a word or phrase about what you are doing.
Why social media
The reason I decided to take the plunge into social media back in 2007 was a need for communication with my patrons. Students were not reading their email consistently, but they were all on Facebook. We took advantage of groups, and then pages. We used events to advertise library events; we also loved an older feature called “Notes.” Keep in mind the first iPhone was released in June of 2007, and it would be a few years before children began carrying these devices. Therefore, Facebook was a common site on the library computers.
From Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat and back to Instagram
In 2014 my students began abandoning Facebook because not only were mom and dad on Facebook, but so was their grandma. Students first went to Instagram and then later to Snapchat, if their parents allowed the app. To communicate and to meet students where they are, we started an Instagram for our library in 2015 and a Snapchat in 2016.
Both the Snapchat and Instagram apps were a struggle at first. I wanted to add articles and links like I do on Facebook and Twitter, but could not do this on Instagram and Snapchat. The apps are visual, and you have to find a way for the picture to convey the message. After two years of experimenting with Snapchat, we have decided that this platform is better for personal communication. The way we use Snapchat is purchasing filters for special events like grandparents day and book fairs. We have decided, instead, to focus our efforts on Instagram.
All about the stories
Instagram began the story feature in 2016. Some of my students thought at first that it was a poor imitation of Snapchat stories. But by the summer of 2017, according to CNN Business, Instagram stories surpassed Snapchat.
There are so many things that you can do with Instagram stories. Some of the things you can do include tagging your location, mentioning another Instagram account like an author or bookstore, adding a hashtag, creating a poll, a question, a quiz, or a countdown. Also, many literary and library-related “stickers” are available to add to your stories.
If you need more information about Instagram Stories or terminology, check out these articles:
- 23 Common Instagram Terms & The Instagram Language by MyLeadSystemPro
- The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for Business by Lexie Carbone (January 23, 2019)
- 1What Are Instagram Stories and Why Do They Need to Be a Part of Your Strategy by Christy Laurence
After creating a few stories, a feature called Highlights can be added to your account. Although stories disappear in twenty-four hours, highlights keep the stories alive and provide a way to see themes from your stories. Our account @libfeet features students, alums, and library events. We have one highlight titled “Did U Know”; this is where we show little known aspects of the library. The highlight feature is both useful and makes your account look attractive and professional.
All of our work over the years in social media goes back to the “why,” and that is student engagement. So, why do we care about social media? Because social media is a tool that connects us to our students.
Author: Hannah Byrd Little
Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.