Social media survey update

Well, I sent out a reminder to participate in my survey this morning. I am happy to say that more than 150 people have completed the survey so far. I hope the final results will give us all some interesting new insights into social media use by archives and special collections.

Glancing over the responses submitted so far, it seems like many repositories are not using social media. They cite lack of time, staff, and interest, although some respondents do want to set up account(s) in the future. Many commented that they could not participate in social media because of legal or privacy reasons, and others mentioned their repository users do not use social media or do not need such a service. I agree that using social media should not be a service or priority for all repositories. Each organization needs to make sure they have a reason to use social media and an audience to speak to. Otherwise spending time on these platforms may become a time- and effort-wasting activity.

Another emerging trend in the data is the lack of an evaluation tool for social media platforms. Many respondents said they do not know how to define “success” in terms of their social media, or how they would measure that success. I know the archivists and librarians I have spoken with struggle with measuring the success of their program, and whether their time and effort has paid off. I think establishing some sort of metric to measure social media output is crucial in justifying a social media program, but coming up with such a tool will be difficult. It may be that each repository will have to customize their own tool, as each group will have their own goals and ideas about success.

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