Thoughts: Social Networks

This is a post for my LIS S401 class: Computer-Based Information Tools.

You could say I’m fairly connected. I use a variety of social media in my daily life. I have a Facebook, a Pinterest, an Instagram, a LinkedIn, and I operate Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest pages for several of my employers and organizations I volunteer for (I’ve added hyperlinks as an example).

I’m on Facebook the most, though I would say 90% of my posts are uploaded from Instagram. I use LinkedIn to connect to people I know professionally. I use Pinterest to plan crafts, displays, and to store good ideas (and yes, I actually found Pinterest helpful when planning my wedding).

However, even though I’m on a lot of social networks, I make a conscious effort not to use them too much, though they all are useful.

I check Facebook multiple times a day, I check Instagram a couple of times a day (and I post maaaaybe twice a week), I scroll through Pinterest a couple of times a week, and I check LinkedIn once a week.

Since social media is normally not a very private platform, I use it to highlight events in my life, to express some of my personality and opinions, and to promote things I care about.

Each social network is useful in its own way.

Below, I’ll list out the uses for two social networks I use: Facebook and LinkedIn.


Facebook – Facebook is really good for keeping track of friends whom I can’t see much because of our schedules or who live elsewhere (such as the friends I made while studying abroad). I mainly use Facebook to find articles; a lot of my friends share a lot of really interesting reads. I also use Facebook to interact with certain groups of people, such as the NaNoWriMo group for Indy. Lastly, I opt to have most of my blog posts share to Facebook automatically.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is good for keeping track of your professional accomplishments as well as those of others. I use it to connect with people I know from work and from classes. The idea of this social network is networking. We connect with people and present our best professional selves to them. We update our profiles, which contain professional images, examples of work, work history, and recommendations from others. It’s a social network where colleagues can congratulate each other on work-related milestones. Like with Facebook, I opt to have most of my blog posts share to LinkedIn automatically.

LinkedIn differs from Facebook in the type of content that is posted on each account. Facebook is mainly for personal information, such as the day-to-day goings-on in life. LinkedIn is reserved for work- and education-related content.


Value for Library and Information Science Professionals

Social media is a useful tool for libraries and other organizations. The IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI has a Facebook page where they share articles, events, information, and more. For example, they recently posted to upcoming graduates the following:

SOIC ExampleThis is a great medium for places to share information. However, Facebook has a “mysterious” algorithm that doesn’t always allow everyone to see your posts unless they visit your page specifically. So you’ll want really important information to be shared multiple times (Hootsuite is a great tool for planning posts in advance).

Facebook is also a great way to express the “personality” of your library. Some library Facebook pages are very professional and some feel very connected to their patrons online.

I use the library’s Facebook page to share library programs, community events, pictures from events and programs, upcoming happenings for the library system in general, closing information, new services (such as our new fax machine!), and occasionally articles.

We are in the process of building our Pinterest page, but we currently use it to highlight books and materials on display at the library, staff picks, and programs. We also have secret boards where myself and other staff members can save pins for display and craft ideas.

Our Twitter is the least-utilized of all of our social media accounts, but we occasionally use it to “live tweet” events currently happening.

Social media is a great tool for libraries to get in touch with their communities, to share events, to show patrons what goes on at the library, and to make the library seem less like a building and more like a place to be.

One last thing that I have noticed while operating social media accounts for a library is that it allows for patrons who can’t physically make it into the library (home-bound patrons) to connect with us on a social level.

I would highly recommend libraries and library professionals to become familiar with social media, as it is a great tool for them as professionals and their organizations.

Do you use social networks? What are your favorites? What don’t you like?

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