The jungle beat of the tweet


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Social media in libraries: presentation for IAML academic music librarians, May 2013

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  • I divided this presentation into two parts – the use I personally make of social media, and the bigger issues that we all need to consider. Because I’m part-time researcher at present, I use social media in that context as well.
  • The thing I’ve done longest – as colleagues will be aware – is our Whittaker Live performing arts blog. (Blog, Log – excuse the pun!)
  • But I write other blogs too. Above the green line – all my own. Below the line – some kind of shared capacity.
  • These are the other uses I make of social media. Jumping between Twitter identities can be a bit of a pain, but is necessary.
  • These are fairly average stats for Whittaker Live. It’s still surprising which blogposts attract attention. But I do tweet – and email Conservatoire groups – to bring traffic to the site. Posts about our namechange in 2011, and tracking events around Scotland to celebrate that – got a lot of hits. So, strangely, did a series of limericks about different instruments.
  • Annual hits dipped a bit, then took off in 2011 – as I just mentioned.
  • Social media works best when you integrate different platforms.
  • These are the issues we all need to think about. Opinions differ about whether you should have professional and private accounts, or Library and personal. I did some research into what people actually do, by asking questions on Twitter and Whittaker Live last Sunday and Monday.
  • And here is what I learned. There isn’t one right method. I have a Twitter feed onto Whittaker Live, and knowing that my tweets will be public helps ensure that I keep them fairly professional. (But you’ll never catch me tweeting about what I cooked for Sunday lunch!!)
  • I recognise that asking “what do you like about Whittaker Live? Have you any comments?” does tend to invite praise rather than brickbats. However, I was satisfied with these comments, because they do suggest that I’m achieving my aim. After all, we’ve got quite a broad constituency even in the RCS, and I can’t appeal to everyone all the time. (AGGREGATOR, ALLIGATOR? Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
  • I haven’t said much about Twitter interaction with borrowers, because - although they’re welcome to follow me – I deliberately follow very few of our borrowers. (I don’t want my Twitter feed filling up with a running commentary of their social lives!) What I DO do, is tweet to our corporate account or a handful of active staff members, as appropriate. However, I use Twitter very much for networking with people who share my interests, whether in a library sense or a musicological one. And I also follow venues, performers or theatrical groups, so that I get news which I can pass on.
  • The jungle beat of the tweet

    1. 1. Karen McAulayWhittaker Library,Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
    2. 2.  What I do  Bigger issuesAnd also ...Unique situation: dual existence as 60:40 librarian : researcher
    3. 3.  I blog:- (library)
    4. 4.  I do also write other blogs in my own time:- http://TrueImaginaryFriends (own research) (cpd) blog) (shared cpd) AHRC research)
    5. 5.  Twitter:- My own account @Karenmca Library account @WhittakerLib Bass Culture project account @bassyculture Facebook? No, just family and a few friends. LinkedIn? Again, limited use. Dislike LinkedIngroup discussions! The Conservatoire VLN, Moodle and Mahara
    6. 6.  Diigo (social bookmarking) (scheduling tweets) Storify (for bringing together different kindsof information – really, another kind of blog) Slideshare These, together with Whittaker Live andTwitter, are the resources I depend upon.
    7. 7.  Whittaker Live postings – promote on Twitterand email to targeted groups in RCS community Use blogspot apps for automated feeds etc Bufferapp – schedule tweets Tweetdeck – can’t download to use at work (nicebut inessential anyway)
    8. 8.  How many accounts Professional versus private persona What attracts followers? Crowdsourced my research again
    9. 9.  Most people differentiate in some way Mode of differentiation varies:- 2 Twitter + 2 FB accounts 1 Twitter (work + personal), 2 FB (1 dormant), ANDinput to library accounts 1 Twitter (work + personal), 1 FB (personal) I myself favour the last approach (but also have astrictly library Twitter & share research projectaccount). “conscious of how easy it is to spread oneself too thinover social media…” Beware confusing your followers!
    10. 10.  Responses largely related to Whittaker Live:- ”personal interest” “When you visited a library or collection” “variety of topics” “the character/personality of the posts” “mix of content, from PhD links to other blogs &performing arts info” “strikes a good balance, being informative but chatty,not stuffy” “useful aggregator”One follower commends the way NationalArchives interacts with its audience. “Knowyour followers/what they want”
    11. 11.  Blog is for library users and other performers My tweets are as much professionalnetworking as user interaction Challenge of differentpersonas Establishing a brand Making it relevant