Social media technologies, what are they, why do they matter and how can I use them? These questions are becoming more and more common especially around academic libraries over the last 2 decades with the explosion of digital technologies over the last two. As the next generation of students comes through university they have certain expectations about the quality of services they will engage and learn through. They have grown up with computers, video games, internet and mobile phones and expect services to use these or similar technologies. (Gross & Leslie, 2008). Academic libraries should take advantage of these new technologies in order to provide effective service delivery and meet user’s needs.
This presentation will aim to answer the questions surrounding social media technologies. In particular their relationship to academic libraries and the user’s needs. It will look at how other universities are currently engaging in social media technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and how implementing those in your own academic library could benefit not only you but also students and their engagement with learning and the library. The focus question of this proposal is -How can university libraries enhance student learning experiences through the use of social media technologies?
So, what are social media technologies and what are they good for? Social media technologies can go by a few names and are part of the Web 2.0 revolution that has taken the world by storm. It includes technologies such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more (Gross & Leslie, 2008). The main feature of social media technologies is that not only does it allow users to access information easier but they can also contribute to these platforms (Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009). This can be in the form of blog posts, creating pages in a wiki or updating their status inFacebook. These technologies also offer social networking capabilities as it provides users with services and information (Gross & Leslie, 2008).
Social media technologies can be effective tools for engaging users as long as the technologies and designs are (Wales & Robertson, 2008) -Transparent – i.e. There is clear wording Consistent – So they are easily identified and used, and terminology is consistent with the institution Selective – The users are directed to relevant and quality resources only Accessible – Technologies are easy to find, should be where you expect them
How does this relate to academic libraries you ask? As more online materials and technologies become available to academic libraries their role has changed and they have become more focused on providing learning support for students and academics alike. This includes helping students with basic learning skills such as referencing, writing assignments, time management and help finding accurate and reliable resources. Users in academic libraries are using the digital technologies currently provided by libraries. However they often find the library’s interface and design of resources confusing and overwhelming (Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009). Academic library users, particularly first year students, are often also anxious when confronted with using library services for the first time (Jiao & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). These issues are stopping academic libraries from meeting users needs and are not aiding in student learning. Perhaps if users are introduced to library services through channels they are currently using and feel comfortable with then they will be less anxious with the library allowing them to utilise the library resources and enhance their learning.
If libraries can effectively utilise Facebook and other social media technologies they can engage with their users in a new way. This can allow libraries to –Create a segway between current social media technologies and library services. Create a less foreign environment so that users are more comfortable and less anxious with library services (Jiao & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). Interact more with users in a creative and direct way (Gross & Leslie, 2008). Reach new users by going to where they are (Gross & Leslie, 2008).
Academic libraries aim to provide effective service to their users. Their users are made up of a mixture students and academics ranging in age from late teens and upwards. They also have to cater for international students and provide support for those who need more help than others.A review of current literature and statistics was completed and revealed the following information -2% of students use library websites as a start to their information searches, whereas 89% of students use search engines such as Google (Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009). 90% of students think it is too difficult and time consuming to use library resources (Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009). Library anxiety affects students when first using library services (Jiao & Onwuegbuzie,2004). As of May this year there were over 11,500,000 Australian accounts on facebook (Cowling, 2013) The average Australian spends over 20 hours a week on Facebook (Cowling, 2013) As of May this year there were over 2,000,000 active Australian users on Twitter (Cowling, 2013) As of May this year there were over 11,000,000 Australians visited YouTube (Cowling, 2013)
Who are these users? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics –
72% of university students are domestic (ABS, 2013) 61% of these students are between the ages of 15-24 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013) 28% of university students are international (ABS, 2013) 70% of these students are between the ages of 15-24 (ABS, 2013)
If academic libraries want to meet the needs of their users they need to understand and use the same technologies this generation is currently using. Looking at this data it is clear that the many users are comfortable with using social media technology, particularly Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, in their everyday life. It is also clear that many users are not using library services to their full potential and that many feel overwhelmed when confronted with using them. From this is it is clear that if academic libraries embrace the use of social media technologies within their library services they can appeal to their users and their needs. If students begin to feel comfortable with library services and start to use them then they can gain support and help from a variety of library resources, such as search tips, online databases and books, that can help enhance their student learning.
The largest group of cohorts is young students under the age of 24, also labelled at the net generation. These are the users who have grown up with technology and feel at home using all sorts of technological devices including smartphones, tablets and computers. According to Gross & Leslie (2008) this generation has four key demands relating to their learning and services needs-They have a demand for quality facilities and achievement A need for customised technologies and research They want technology integrated into their learning And need to use new communication modes
From looking at all these statistics and demands of users, the following user needs have been identified.In order to enhance learning students need current technologies to be integrated into their learning and the services surrounding their learning, including the library. The majority of university students are under the age of 24 and use social media technologies regularly therefore using these current technologies at the library may make them more comfortable and aware of library services. As many students are using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube they need to use these communication methods in order to relate and contact each other and organisations, such as a library. In order to enhance their learning, students need quality services and facilities. Later on in this presentation we will outline our recommendations and how these relate to these user needs.
According to Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings 2013, Australia now has six universities in the top 100
From exploring the Library homepages of the top six listed universities it is evident that all six universities have their own individual social media presence. The most popular social media used by all six of these universities is Twitter and Facebook.
The universities also used a mixture of other social media tools including Youtube, RSS Feeds and blogs to connect with their students.
Facebook is social networking tool that was created in February 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes as a social networking web site for college students to stay in touch.
Facebook immediately gained rapid popularity among students at Harvard and membership was then soon expanded to include all other Ivy League schools, and then to all colleges not long after
What made Facebook so popular was that it was an easy way for students, staff and faculty members to get to know one another and exchange information, opinions and ideas about university related events, policies and news (Phillips 2007).
In September 2006 Facebook opened its membership to the public for anyone aged 13 and older with a valid email address (Richmond, 2007). Late in 2007, Facebook introduced business pages (now known as groups), allowing companies to attract potential customers and tell about themselves (Richmond, 2007).
The number of users on Facebook has grown substantially since 2004 with its current number of users sitting at 1.11 billion as of March 2013 (Feinleib, 2012).
Facebook is a free media tool which offers libraries various ways to connect with their users including: status updates, uploading photos and videos content, commenting, and ‘liking something’. Libraries can even create events and send invitations to their users or create a discussion groups around specific topics. Facebook allows you to also link posted content to nearly anything on the web. Facebook offers live group chat and private messaging to users.
A recent study by ADCORP (2013) found that over 51 percent of the Australian population currently use Facebook. These statistics indicate that a majority of university students already use Facebook.
Twitter is a micro-blogging website that was launched on July 13, 2006 by Jack Dorsey (Sarno, 2009).
Twitter rapidly grew and gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012. (Lunden, 2012).
Lunden, I. (2012). Analyst: Twitter Passed 500M Users In June 2012, 140M Of Them In US; Jakarta ‘Biggest Tweeting’ City. Retrieved 28 May, 2013. "...we came across the word 'twitter', and it was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'. And that's exactly what the product was." – Jack Dorsey (Sarno, 2009).
Since its launch, Twitter has become one of the ten most visited websites on the Internet, and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet” (D'Monte, 2009).
Twitter has reported that it’s now seeing over 200 million active users send 400 million tweets per day, marking quite a bit of growth over the past year. On its sixth birthday last year, the company said it was seeing 340 million tweets per day (Tsukayama, 2013).
Although Twitter only offers a status update with a limit of 140 characters it is still a very powerful social media tool.
Twitter allows users to search for key words and topics that other users post and the ability to save these searches so that when anyone else uses that search term in twitter you will be able to see what other users have posted. This is a great way that libraries can learn to listen to their users and identify any needs users may have.
Twitter also offers an advanced search feature where you can add your location as well as the key search topic so that users can see whenever another user posts about the key search topic in your area. Searches like this helps libraries to learn what customers are saying how they’re interacting with your library.
Why should libraries use YouTube?Youtube is a highly prevelant and popular social media technology in the online world and academic libraries should take advantage of this. This can be seen in data gathered from 2003 to 2009 where the online video audience grew by nearly 340% and the amount of time spent viewing online videos grew exponentially by over 1,900% (Cho, 2013). It is an easy to use platform and videos of any format up to 100MB can be uploaded (Webb, 2007). These videos can be embedded into blogs or webpages to promote services and to also provide instructions i.e. how to find the help desk with a video taking you through the physical space of the library or instructions on how to use databases (Cho, 2013). Youtube can be a useful tool for information literacy as it allows for interactive learning especially if users can help create content for the videos (Ruben, 2012). This can lead to enhanced learning. It can be used to instruct, promote and market the library (Cho, 2013). Library's can build up and deepen their collection by adding relevant videos from other sources and sharing/promoting them with their users. They can then provide links back to the library website for more information (Cho, 2013). Playlists can be created using YouTube which can be used to enhance learning. It does this by allowing similar topics, such as writing skills, to be grouped together so that students can easily search and find relevant videos that could help their learning
Let's have a look at how QUT uses YouTube videos within their library services. Videos have been embedded in many of their services in order to enhance student learning. This can be seen by looking at their library subject guides where librarians have embedded various videos to help students. For instance, this is the home page for the subject guide for Management Issues for Information Professionals and they have included 2 YouTube videos, one on how to find books on the shelf and one on subject searching. By including videos this enhances student learning by providing a different form of communication, sound and moving pictures. This could particularly enhance learning for students who have trouble reading, such as international students or students with learning disabilities.
QUT also has a aggregation or playlist of videos on their Studywell webpage. It collects them under the multimedia tabs that can be found under different topics such as writing, researching and study management. By putting similar videos together students can easily find resources on similar topics that they are interested in and thus enhance their learning.To sum up, YouTube is a very easy to use and popular social media technology that can easily be embedded into library services, attract users and enhance student learning.
Verification of identity isn't required prior to creating a profile, this means that Fake user ‘imposters’ accounts can easily be created. Authentic accounts can be hijacked and misleading/ untruthful content can be posted. Text can be ‘Lost in Translation’. Users need to be careful of how posted content may be conceived by other users. Perin (2009) and Tarshis, (2011).
A 2013 study on the information on social networking preferences of Bond University students and usage was gathered from 13 per cent of students at Bond University via an online survey. The survey discovered Facebook is used for finding information by respondents from all countries. Twitter is used as much as Facebook for finding information by respondents from Norway, while less than 30 per cent of respondents from Canada, China, Malaysia and the USA use Twitter for finding information. Respondents from all countries indicate that they use YouTube for finding information. Of particular interest is the usage of Renren for students from China, as an alternative to Facebook. This highlights the importance of not forgetting alternative platforms for reaching particular cohorts of international students. Source: Saw, Abbott, Donaghey & McDonald (2013)
In order to make users more comfortable with the library, get them to relate to it more by using popular social media technologies such Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Before we detail the recommendations of this proposal let's revisit the user needs outlined previouslyIn order to enhance their learning, students need current technologies to be integrated into their learning and the services surrounding their learning, including the library. The majority of university students are under the age of 24 and use social media technologies regularly therefore using these current technologies at the library may make them more comfortable and aware of library services. As many students are using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube they need to use these communication methods in order to relate and contact each other and organisations, such as a library. In order to enhance their learning, students need quality services and facilities. These user needs will be used to evaluate the recommendations suggested in this proposal.
From looking at the user needs outlined previously, what other academic libraries are doing and how certain social media technologies can be utilised, the following list of recommendations has been created -
Create a facebook page, twitter account and YouTube account for your library. Links to all these accounts should be provided on your library homepage and easily seen by users straight away in order to encourage them to view them. By meeting users where they are comfortable they will feel more at ease and less anxious with the library and the services they provide. This recommendation meets the student learning needs relating to integrating technology into learning and using new communication modes. Therefore this recommendation should allow you to begin to start meeting user needs by just implementing these social media technologies. By allowing your users to access them they can become more familiar with the library services and hopefully engage more with them and enhance their learning.
Assign a specific group of staff to develop and design these sights and monitor them daily i.e. to share information, promote library event and connect with users via status updates, tweets, sharing videos, links and photos. Refer to the 7 types of posts previously mentioned for inspiration, the sky really is the limit and your aim should be to promote and market your library or to instruct users by providing them with information and resources. By giving a group of staff ownership of these services they are more willing to commit to the project and provide quality services (McKnight, 2009).This fits in with the user need relating to receiving quality services and thus meets user needs.
Utilise YouTube videos by embedding them into existing library blogs and websites. These can be of various topics including general library ones showing users around the library space (either online or physical) or more instructional videos such as how to reference or develop reports. Again the sky is the limit but make sure to keep videos engaging, to the point and short in order to keep users engaged and excited about library services. If quality videos are used this recommendation can meets user needs as it meets the demand for quality services, integrates technology into library services and uses current communication technologies.
Also use your YouTube account to create a library playlist, or perhaps a few for different topics. For example you could create How to Study playlist and it could include videos you made or found online that provide users with tips on how to time manage, reference, write up reports and work in teams. A playlist could also be created to help students find resources and use databases etc. This could meet all of the user needs in relation to student learning, particularly regarding customised services that aid in research as it can provide help with researching and also limit the amount of research a student need to do in order to find answers. This could significantly improve student learning.
Use Twitter to communicate with users and share links and ideas. Twitter is great for short, sharp and easy to read communications such as sharing useful websites, advertising the library or sharing particular resources. As many users use this platform any communications are sure to reach are large audience. Using the library Twitter account staff can create personalised tweets that can provide specific links and resources. This provides a quality technological service that integrates technology into student learning and utilises current communication methods and thus meets user demands.
Utilise your Facebook page effectively as this is where the majority of your users will be. It should be used to promote and market your library. This can be done by sharing videos, links and photos of library services. It should also be used by letting users know about upcoming events at the library and encouraging them to use the library services. Facebook allows the library to communicate directly with specific students or with a large group of cohorts. This ability allows it to be a very personilised service where users can interact with the library one on one or as part of larger group. This encourages all types of users to communicate with the library and become familiar with their services. By doing this Facebook meets user needs including integrating technology, using new communication technologies and creating customised and quality services.
For all the social media technologies you implement allow users to communicate back to the library via comments, posts and tweets. By encouraging them communicate with the library they become more comfortable with the it and library staff. Encourage staff to respond to these communications in order to make the users feel validated in their response and opinion (Scupola & Nicolajsen, 2010). By doing this it will also personalise the service and fulfill the user need of customised technologies.
Finally, use statistics to track the success of implementing social media technologies into your library. Statistics from your social media pages and from users utilising library services should be correlated. This will show you if the new services are successful. Also, collecting feedback from your users allows you to evaluate the services and see how you can improve them. Use this feedback and statistics in a continuous loop along with design and the implementation of the services. This will help you to redesign your services to better suit your users and their needs.
By implementing these recommendations within your academic library you will be better catering to your users needs. They will feel more comfortable with the library, relate to it easier, use more library services and resources and thus enhance their student learning.
Social Media Technologies
What? Why? How?
By Kelly Mitchell
How can academic
experiences through the
use of social media
What are Social Media
Technologies and what
are they good for?
•Part of Web 2.0 technologies
•Blogs, wikis, RSS feeds
•Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter,
(Gross & Leslie, 2008)
What are they good for?
•Access information easier
•Users can contribute & create content
(Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009)
They can be effective if
they are -
1. Transparent – clear wording
2. Consistent – easily identified and
3. Selective – users are directed to
4. Accessible – easy to find
(Wales & Robertson, 2008)
How does this relate to
Aim to provide learning support
There are problems with services
•Users find library design confusing (Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009)
•Users get anxious when using library services (Jiao &
Effectively using SMT can
allow libraries too -
•Create segways between SMT &
•Create a comfortable environment (Jiao &
•Interact creatively & engagingly with
users (Gross & Leslie, 2008)
•Be where their users are (Gross & Leslie, 2008)
•Students aren’t using library services to find
information (Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009)
•Users find the library difficult to use
(Liu, Liao & Guo, 2009)
•Many get anxious when confronted with library
services (Jiao & Onwuegbuzie,2004)
•11,500,000 Australian Facebook accounts currently
•2,000,000 Australian Twitter accounts currently
•11,000,000 Australians visited Youtube in May
Who are the users?
What Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) says
about university students
•72% are domestic students
•61% of these are aged between 15-24
•28% are international
•70% of these are aged between 15-24
The majority of university
students are under 24
What are their demands?
• quality facilities and achievement
• customised technologies and research
• technology integrated in learning
• to use new communication modes
(Gross & Leslie, 2008)
What are their needs?
(Tulane Publications, 2009)
What are others doing?
According to Times Higher Education (THE)
World Reputation Rankings 2013, Australia now
has six universities in the top 100:
1. University of Melbourne,
2. Australian National University
3. University of Sydney
4. University of Queensland
5. University of New South Wales
6. Monash University
Source: Australian Universities. (n.d.)
What are others doing?
Social Media Used in Library and Information Services
Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feeds Blog
Source: University of Melbourne (2013), Australian National University (2013), University of Sydney (2013),
University of Queensland (2013), University of New South Wales (2013) and Monash University (2013).
What is Facebook?
Facebook is social networking tool that was
created in February 2004 by Harvard students.
Soon expanded to include all other Ivy League
schools, and then to all colleges not long after.
In September 2006 Facebook opened its
membership to the public for anyone aged 13 and
older with a valid email address.
Late in 2007, Facebook introduced business
pages (now known as groups).
Source: Phillips (2007), Richmond (2007) and Feinlieb (2012).
Why use Facebook?
• Facebook is a free social media tool which offers
libraries various ways to connect with their users
including: status updates, uploading photos and videos
content, commenting, and ‘liking something’.
• Facebook allows you to also link posted content to
nearly anything on the web.
• Facebook offers live group chat and private messaging
• A recent study by ADCORP (2013) found that over 51
percent of the Australian population currently use
Facebook. These statistics indicate that a majority of
university students already use Facebook.
What is Twitter?
• Twitter is a micro-blogging website that was launched on
July 13, 2006 by Jack Dorsey.
• Twitter rapidly grew and gained worldwide popularity, with
over 500 million registered users as of 2012.
• "...we came across the word 'twitter', and it was just
perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of
inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'. And
that's exactly what the product was." – Jack Dorsey
• Since its launch, Twitter has become one of the ten most
visited websites on the Internet, and has been described
as "the SMS of the Internet”.
• Twitter has reported that it’s now seeing over 200 million
active users send 400 million tweets per day.
Source: Sarno (2009), Lunden (2012), D’Monte (2009) and Tsukuyama (2013.)
Why use Twitter?
• Offers a status update with a limit of 140
• Allows users to search for key words and topics
that other users post and the ability to save
• Twitter also offers an advanced search feature
where you can add your location as well as the
key search topic so that users can see
whenever another user posts about the key
search topic in your area.
What about YouTube?
Very popular (Cho, 2013)
Easy to use (Webb, 2007)
Encourages interactive learning (Ruben, 2012)
Can instruct, promote & market(Cho, 2013)
Deepen library collections (Cho, 2013)
Can create playlists(Cho, 2013)
Playlist of videos – all about
Disadvantages of Social
• Verification of identity isn't required prior to creating
• Fake user ‘imposters’ accounts can easily be
• Authentic accounts can be hijacked and misleading/
untruthful content can be posted.
• Text can be ‘Lost in Translation’. Users need to be
careful of how posted content may be conceived by
Source: Perin (2009) and Tarshis, (2011).
• A 2013 study on the information on social networking preferences
of Bond University students and usage was gathered from 13 per
cent of students at Bond University via an online survey.
• The survey discovered Facebook is used for finding information by
respondents from all countries.
• Twitter is used as much as Facebook for finding information by
respondents from Norway while less than 30 per cent of
respondents from Canada, China, Malaysia and the USA use
Twitter for finding information.
• Respondents from all countries indicate that they use YouTube for
• Of particular interest is the usage of Renren for students from
China, as an alternative to Facebook.
Source: Saw, Abbott, Donaghey & McDonald (2013)
What can libraries post?
Phillips (2011) provides seven categories for which the Author’s posts can be
• Announcements e.g.: Hours of operation, Service Availability,
• Library Services e.g.: Highlighting Collection, Information
Resources, Instructional Sessions, Other Events, Other Library
Services, Requests for Feedback.
• Core Values e.g.: Encourage Reading (Internal), Civic Engagement
(Internal), Current Technology.
• Promotion e.g.: Local Pride, Self-Depreciating Humour, Libraries in
Broader Culture, Celebrate With Us.
• Outreach and Support e.g.: Supportive Well Wishes (Internal),
Pictures, Invitations, Questions, General Humour.
• University Related e.g.: Celebration, Faculty/ Staff Support, Cultural
• Local and Broader Community Related e.g.: Announcement
(External), Supportive Well Wishes (External), Encourage Reading
(External), Other Events, Information Resources, Civic Engagement
•Technology integrated into learning
•Technologies within library services to
make them comfortable
•To use Facebook, Twitter & Youtube to
•Quality services and facilities
1. Create Facebook, Twitter & YouTube
accounts for the library
2. Put a group of staff members in
charge of social media technologies
3. Embed YouTube videos into library
4. Create YouTube playlists
UQ has various playlists
congregated on their UQ
5. Use Twitter to communicate and
connect with users
(QUT Library, n.d.)
How the library
6. User Facebook to promote & market
Marketing of Monash
of the University
users & allowing
7. Comments, tweet & post to encourage
communication & make users feel
validated (Scupola & Nicolajsen, 2010)
8. Use statistics & feedback to measure
How can university libraries enhance students' learning experiences
through the use of social media technologies?
• Identified current social technologies that are available
• How social technologies relate to academic libraries, which
libraries are currently using social technologies and which
are the most commonly used
• How statistics and research support the growing use of
these social technologies
• Highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of these
technologies including whether the same social
technologies are used by domestic and international
• Outlined the categories for posts can along with
recommendations of which social technologies should be
employed and how they should be managed.
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