Pushing the Social Media envelope in the New Year
Meet them where they are
You might ask “Why would a school library get involved in social media?” The simple answer is communication.
The Webb School library mission is “To connect with Webb students as individuals, to provide resources and assistance for all different learning styles, and to encourage self-motivated, life-long learning.” To make the “connection” our mission claims, we strive not only to be understood in our library, but also to truly understand the needs of our patrons. To do this we believe that we should meet students where they are, through social media and research technologies. To accomplish this goal we have embraced social media and other technology tools.
In the spring of 2008 I gave a presentation to a group of high school and college librarians. The presentation was “Facebook Generation: Marketing the library to a socially networked society.” In 2008 using Facebook at all was an edgy sort of thing for school librarians. That same year I attended a YALSA symposium in Nashville where Twitter was introduced as a great way for librarians to microblog (whatever that was).
Imagining What the Future Holds
Sometimes I have a hard time imagining how certain social media will eventually catch on and become “useful.” I know that I asked – “Why do I want to have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.? What is the purpose?” I find myself asking the same questions about so many of the new social tools. I also wonder about the longevity of some of the tools. It took me a little while to decide to add an Instagram account to my library’s social media communication. Recently some authors have begun posting Snap stories for their fans. Personally, I don’t “love” Snapchat. However, that is just a personal qualm because I am completely uncoordinated. My lack of coordination makes it hard for me to navigate taking a picture and adding the text and then it disappears! I worry that once I reach proficiency with a particular social medium, it’s considered passé. So, seven years ago Facebook was edgy and now Facebook is for grandparents, or so that’s what my students tell me.
One thing that hasn’t changed, you must keep on top of the research. Back in 2008 the research was revealing that social networking sites were divided by demographic groups, and I believe that still might be the case. One expert that I have followed since 2007 is Danah Boyd. Back in 2010 Danah’s research brought her to Nashville. I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 movie opening of “The Social Network” with her and enjoyed chatting about her research with youth and their social media activity.
“Danah Boyd, stirred up controversy once before, in 2007, by noting that during the period beginning in 2006 when teens began to flock to Facebook, teens’ preference for either MySpace or Facebook appeared to fall along lines of race and class.” Link to MIT Technology Review article
Back then it was MySpace versus Facebook, and now we see Snapchat dividing the socioeconomic line in the latest Pew & the Internet report.
“Snapchat is More Likely to Be Used Most Often by Wealthier Teens; Facebook Most Popular Among Lower Income Youth” See the latest data from Pew and the Internet Report Overview 2015
Never Say Never …
Last year when I started an Instagram account, I said “okay Instagram, but NEVER Snapchat.” Well guess what … we started a Snapchat account for 2016. We primarily plan to post stories on Snapchat. We submitted a Snapchat Geofilter for our Library. You might ask WHY we would start yet another social media account? According to Craig Smith with DMR, a clearinghouse for digital statistics, “30% of U.S. millennial internet users access Snapchat regularly.” But even more than the statistics is the personal observation of Snapchat use on my campus. Now all we have to figure out is the WHAT and the HOW.
Interesting Links about Snapchat
If you are a digital immigrant you might be very frustrated with the lack of “manners” students exhibit. However, I have found that we may be the ones committing a “faux pas” if we don’t consult digital natives when we venture into new social media. So, what is the current virtual etiquette and what is the nature of the various platforms? All of these questions are why your student advisory should address social media just as the student advisory helps with collection development and library environment.
Here are some questions to start the discussion:
- How many pics are too many on Instagram?
- Why is Facebook unpopular with some teens?
- Why is Facebook popular with Grandmas?
- Why is Snapchat so popular?
- Why are parents worried?
- Why are administrators worried?
I do not have all the answers, however I am happy to be transparent and share tips. Here is a chart that shows our library’s social media presence.
|WHEN did we hop on the site
|WHY / Purpose
|Communication & Professional Development
|Communication & Professional Development
|Students / Parents /Alums / Grandparents
|PLN / YA authors / publishers / some students / some parents
|Students / Other Libraries / Younger Parents
|Parents / PLN
|Photo albums Stories and Events
News, Links and Quotes
[Limited to 140 Characters]
|Beautiful Pictures [picture is worth a thousand words]
|Fun Pictures & Videos of activities in the Library [limited to 31 character captions]
|1-5 posts a day
|1-5 posts a day
|1-2 photos a day
|Go Crazy!!!! :)
|1-6 items in story
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.