Earlier this month, the Glass Art Society held their annual conference in town. The museum was one of the major spots for lectures, glassmaking demonstrations, and events, and we (the library) wanted to position ourselves as a key location for conference attendees. We decided to raise awareness of our space, services, and collections through a number of on- and offline outreach efforts, including film screenings, a giveaway for library donors, and advice to glass artists for preserving their legacy.
Last week the New York Academy of Medicine’s Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health invited libraries, archives, and museums to participate in #ColorOurCollections week, or, as they described it, “a week-long special collections coloring fest.”
My library has a wealth of materials that make for excellent coloring pages, so I jumped at the chance to participate. Thanks to a flood of suggestions from my colleagues, I put together a Pinterest board and a series of tweets sharing design drawings, stained glass cartoons, cut glass pattern patents, woodcuts, engravings, and more.
This post expands on one of the guides I created for archivists and special collections librarians using social media.
Facebook, without question, is one of the most popular social media platforms today. People all over the world use Facebook to connect to friends, family, and people with similar interests. Because of this huge potential audience, many archivists and librarians consider it essential to have a Facebook page for their repository. Many worry not having a Facebook page marks them as outdated or out of touch with current technology. While I agree that Facebook is a good place to have an online presence, I strongly believe that repositories should make the decision to create a Facebook page based on their individual circumstances. Each repository should choose the platform(s) most compatible with their community of users and with the types of material they plan to post. So – as I say for every other social media platform – don’t feel like you have to have a Facebook page.
If you determine that Facebook is a good fit for your repository, it offers a number of options for sharing information and building an online community. You can post text, photos, links, and videos; share, comment on, and like other people’s posts; and host conversations on your own page. Currently you can’t customize your page much beyond your profile photo, cover photo, and “About” section, but this also puts everyone on an even footing regardless of time and technical know-how.
Using this Guide
The following posting guide is a quick, ready-reference guide for archivists and special collections librarians using Facebook at their repository. It is by no means a comprehensive list of all the things you can and should do as a repository, but it is a good basic guide for what to post and how to improve your Facebook presence. I created this guide with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, so with that in mind feel free to share, post, and print it! If you do use this guide, please provide a link back to rebeccahopman.com/socialmedia
For a detailed breakdown of the guide and additional resources, continue after the break. Continue reading
This past summer, I completed an independent study focused on how archives and special collections use social media platforms. As part of that course, I put together a series of guides targeted towards archives and special collections (although they could be equally useful to libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions). The guides are intended to be one-page, ready reference sheets for archivists using social media.
Each guide is focused on a single platform. Although much of the information could be transferred to any social media platform, each platform has its own uses and quirks. The guides include suggestions on what to post and when to post, tips for good content, a few projects to try, a few options for measuring social media success, and some repositories who I think use that platform to their advantage.
This past week archivist and rare books cataloger Janine Veazue posted about managing her company’s new Twitter account, and her quandary over what ‘voice’ she should use when posting. This is something all organizations face when using social media – how do you represent yourself in an online community of people and organizations?
I ran my archives’ Twitter feed for about a year, and I had the same uncertainty about voice sometimes. I think it all depends on the kind of place you work at and the face they present to the public. I always advocate for an organization’s voice to be friendly, casual, and approachable on social media, so that users/customers feel like they’re interacting with a person rather than a faceless organization. You want to build relationships, and to do that you have to talk to people, not talk at people. At the same time, I know other people who’ve had to follow very strict rules about what they could post and how they could post on Twitter and other platforms.
This past summer I completed an independent study on how archives and special collections use social media. As part of the class, I sent out a survey asking archivists and special collections librarians how their repository uses these platforms (or why they choose not to use social media). I received 185 responses from institutions all across the spectrum – large, small, academic, corporate, religious, etc. The answers to each question ranged from the expected to the surprising. Sorting through the data took me some time, but I am finally ready to share the results with you all.
The following document includes statistics on what types of archives and special collections are and are not using social media, what platforms they use and what they post on them, how they manage their social media presence, and whether or not they consider their program a success, among other things. I could not include all of the comments, so I chose a selection based on common answers or answers I thought would be particularly useful to other archivists and special collections librarians.
Click here to read the survey results:
If you have any questions or comments on these results, please feel free to comment below!
A few weeks ago, I attended a session for library students/new professionals called “Personal Branding and Your Online Presence.” The workshop featured three speakers – Justin Hoenke (Justin the Librarian), Rebecca Goldman (Derangement and Description), and Naomi House (INALJ – I Need A Library Job) – who each gave advice on how to create and maintain a positive online presence. You can find out more about each speaker and find their presentations here. Attendees were also given a personal branding handout with more resources after the event. Find my notes about the presentations after the jump.