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Social media for libraries 2013 ~ Mylee Joseph


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Libraries are providing social media classes to the community but how do they actively engage with it themselves? Mylee Joseph, Project Leader of the Innovation Project at the State Library of NSW, discusses how and why the State Library of NSW has used social media and explores the aspects of discovery, engagement and collecting.
Presented at Customs House Library, City of Sydney on 27 June 2013.

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Social media for libraries 2013 ~ Mylee Joseph

  1. 1. Social Media For...Libraries Libraries are providing social media classes to the community but how do they actively engage with it themselves? Mylee Joseph, Project Leader of the Innovation Project at the State Library of NSW, joins us this month to discuss how and why the State Library of NSW has used social media as a platform for engaging with their patrons and what effect it has had on user engagement. Thursday 27 June 2013 City of Sydney Library #sydlibsm Mylee Joseph @myleejoseph Introduction Social media has become an integral part of daily life for many of us, it has changed the way we consume other media like television, newspapers and radio, and given individuals and organisations in the community unprecedented opportunities to publish their popular and unpopular opinions to a wider audience. As part of the many various types of communities libraries serve, social media plays an increasingly important part in our mission to deliver library services and engage our communities. At the State Library of New South Wales, we have been on this journey for a number of years and over the past twelve months we‘ve had a particular focus on exploring, piloting and evaluating different social media tools to find those that work well for delivering services to our community and to transition them to business as usual. In this presentation we will take a look at some of the popular social media tools that are shaping our lives and at their use in libraries. Not all of the examples of good practice that I will draw on come from the State Library, because there are many great initiatives and inspiring examples amongst libraries and museums to consider. What is happening with social media? To get a big picture view of social media and how big a part it plays in our world these days, let‘s begin with a quick journey out into space and back in time to 21 July 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. There was extensive coverage in the media, television1 , radio and newspapers but it was largely one way communication. No doubt people talked about how they felt about these momentous events with their friends, families and colleagues but we have no record of those conversations. 1 BBC television coverage of man‘s first landing on the moon consisted of 27 hours of coverage over a ten day period. Source British television Apollo 11 coverage. (2013, May 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:37, June 27, 2013, from
  2. 2. When it came time for the 40th anniversary commemorations of moon landing in 2009, social media had become a part of the way we communicate and share information: ● footage of the Apollo 11 Moon landing and Moon walk, was shared on YouTube2 3 allowing people to ―like‖ it, share it with their friends and add their memories and comments ● the Apollo 11 moon mission was tweeted by Nature News as it happened -- 40 years on Allowing followers to read about technical milestones, political challenges, and related events in the space race as well as retweeting to their own followers. (NB: I had to search the Wayback Machine to find the blog post that announced this project)4 Social media played an important part in promoting discovery (and rediscovery) of the historical events of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Now let‘s fast forward again, to this year, 2013 and Commander Hadfield and his crew on the International Space Station (ISS) and the way they used social media: ● Sharing information, promoting discovery: ○ Chris Hadfield shared tweets, photos and his excitement and enthusiasm at being in space5 , his Twitter account @Cmdr_Hadfield attracting more than 1 million Twitter followers6 who could interact with him and share his tweets by retweeting them to their followers. ● Engagement was a particular focus of the social media activities of the ISS crew: ○ Commander Hadfield participated in two Reddit ―Ask me Anything‖ forum sessions7 2 CBS News Coverage of Apollo 11 - Moon Walk 01 [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from 3 World's most famous video: First Moon Landing July 20, 1969 [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from 4 Nature News Blog: @ApolloPlus40 - Tweeting the Apollo 11 Mission. (2009, June 17). Retrieved June 27, 2013, from g_the_apol.html 5 Cmdr_Hadfield (2012, December 30). Festooned with antennae, our Soyuz, just a minute before docking with the Space Station. Just beautiful! [Twitter post]. Retrieved from 6 Usborne, S. (2013, June 11). Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield - who sang David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in space - to retire The Independent. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from space-oddity-in-space--to-retire-8653860.html 7 Hadfield, C. (2013, February 17). I Am Astronaut Chris Hadfield, currently orbiting planet Earth. : IAmA [Web forum]. Retrieved June 27, 2013, from
  3. 3. ○ He interacted over Twitter with William Shatner, who knows what inspiration Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise may have been for fellow Canadian Hadfield8 ○ Hadfield created a sensation performing David Bowie‘s ―Space Oddity‖ from the ISS and sharing it over his own YouTube channel9 believed to be the first music video made in space. ○ The crew, astronauts Kevin Ford, Tom Marshburn, and Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station answered questions in real-time from Google+ users, as well as pre-recorded questions gathered from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks in a Google Hangout.10 Let‘s not forget the other very engaging, social media users currently in space, the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, sharing what they discover via Twitter including pictures and video and taking more than a few selfies11 (self-portraits, usually taken with an iPhone and shared with Friends on social networks) as well.12 The Mars Rovers have even won the 2013 judges' Webby Award and People's Voice for "Overall Social Presence."13 These examples highlight some of the key characteristics of social media, the interaction, personal observations and comments in the public arena that are in real time, ephemeral (not created with intention of keeping) and temporary. This digital ephemera is not unlike some of the items that libraries have collected for many years, including diaries, papers, letters, ephemera and newspapers. Some examples from the State Library of New South Wales collection include: the diary of William Wentworth on the 8 WilliamShatner. (2013, January 03). @Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB [Twitter post]. Retrieved from 9 Chris Hadfield [YouTube channel]. (n.d.). Retrieved from 10 Toor, A. (2013, February 22). NASA's Google+ Hangout from the ISS with Chris Hadfield is live now | The Verge. Retrieved June 27, 2013, from hangout-from-iss-live-today 11 Parnell, B. (2012, November 2). Mars rover Curiosity snaps explicit selfies from all angles. The Register [Web log post]. Retrieved from 12 MarsCuriosity (2013, June 06). News from Mars: @NASA telecon + visuals today June 5 11:30am PT (2:30pm ET/1830 UTC) [Twitter post]. Retrieved from 13 Smith, S. (2013, May 1). Mars Rover Social Media, NASA/JPL Website Win Awards - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved June 27, 2013, from
  4. 4. expedition in 1813 to cross the Blue Mountains14 , the Bodyline cables and scripts15 and the Sydney Gazette16 . There are some examples of social media that needs to be captured as part of the historical record, one key role of libraries. Consider the recent resignation of Benedict XVI, also the first pontiff to use Twitter17 with more than 1.7 million followers, the archiving of his tweets by the Vatican during the Conclave18 and the subsequent first tweet by the new pontiff, ―HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM‖ — Pontifex (@Pontifex) March 13, 2013 Another leadership change, the #spill which removed Australia‘s first female prime minister generated more than 500,000 spill related tweets in a day according to Twitter Australia.19 This is double the tweets generated during the previous #spill in March 2013.20 This could be useful research material particularly as public comments are another strand of the information recorded about political events in Hansard and the news media coverage. A disruptive technology We can also see that social media has proved to be a ‗disruptive technology‘, one of those ―new ways of doing things that disrupt or overturn the traditional business methods and practices‖21 , in recent weeks there have been two significant changes: ● ―Working closely with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the ASX recently updated its guidance on disclosure, (to include social media) advising companies to monitor online for sensitive information to ensure that the market trades fully informed. Further, company secretaries must consider its impacts with respect to risk.‖22 14 William Charles Wentworth - Journal of an expedition across the Blue Mountains, 11 May-6 June 1813 14 15 Cables and radio scripts concerning the 'bodyline' cricket series, 1932-1933 16 Sydney Gazette. (2013, June 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:15, June 27, 2013, from 17 Pope tweets to a busy U.S. mom on finding prayer time. (2012, December 12). Retrieved June 27, 2012, from twitter/1762819/?csp=breakingnews 18 Twitter archive for BXVI 19 TwitterAU (2013, June 26) 500k+ #spill-related Tweets yesterday, topping 5k per min as @KRuddMP defeated @JuliaGillard. #YouDecide9 #AusPol [Twitter post.] Retrieved from 20 TwitterAU (2013, March 22) There were roughly 250,000 tweets yesterday about the #Spill. See a timeline of the most tweeted about moments. Retrieved from 21 22 Lew, D. (2013, June 19). The importance of implementing a social media strategy. Retrieved June 24, 2013, from says-you-can-no-longer-ignore-it/201306194398
  5. 5. ● Google has changed its ranking advice for web pages on 27 May from ―In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high- quality sites that link to their pages‖ to ―webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.‖ 23 What does this have to do with libraries? Social media is impacting libraries and has potential to be explored by libraries in all of these ways, discovery (sharing information), engagement with the public and our communities, collecting this important information for the future and improving the ranking of our web sites and presences by creating content that users can easily share and that they want to share. So let‘s take a look at some examples of this in practice: DISCOVERY Libraries can promote discovery of collections and information through putting content into popular forums, interacting and gathering social meta data24 . State Library of New South Wales ● Flickr Commons ● Twitter ● Facebook page ● Vimeo ● Pinterest ● Historypin ● Wikipedia We like to think of these social media spaces and channels as acting as doorways to the Library website which is our virtual reading room, but it is equally valid that our community may prefer to use the Library and our assets exclusively in their preferred social media spaces. Some other great examples from GLAM institutions around the world: Facebook page: o National Library of Australia Pinterest: o New York Public Library 23 Schwartz, B. (2013, June 19). Google Changes Ranking Advice, Says Build Quality Sites Not Links [Web log post]. Retrieved from quality-sites-not-links-163931 24 Smith-Yoshimura, K., Holley, R., & OCLC Research. (2012). Social metadata for libraries, archives, and museums: Part 3. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.
  6. 6. o Tate Gallery Historypin: o English Heritage Archive o Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Wongarewa Wikipedia: o British Library project Tumblr: o Maryland Historical Society o Smithsonian Instagram: o Queens Library (New York City) o Western Australian Museum Soundcloud: o Bodleian Libraries Youtube: o Australian National Maritime Museum o Metropolitan Museum of Art ENGAGEMENT The goal of online engagement is connecting your library‘s assets (collections, programs, staff passion and expertise) with your audiences.25 It is challenging to determine what to measure in social media to demonstrate engagement, most commonly an action like sharing or repinning or retweeting is ranked more highly than simply ‗liking‘, ‗plusing‘ or ‗favouriting‘ an item. Some government agencies have guidelines for social media metrics but the great variety of tools and the different emphasis that may apply to GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) may require some tailoring of the measuring tools to indicate the engagement of audiences with library assets. ● The State Library participates in Inside History Magazine Facebook chats ● Twitter is a very effective tool for libraries and other collecting institutions to promote collection items (eg. #collectionfishing and #tbreaktweets). There are also some fun developments with the @TroveNewsBot developed by Tim Sherratt which will respond to a tweet automatically with a random newspaper article from the Trove digitised newspaper archive26 . 25 Visser, J., & Richardson, J. (2012). Digital Engagement Framework : Designing a digital strategy for your organisation. Retrieved from 26 Sherratt, T. (2013, June 24). Conversations with collections | discontents [Web log post]. Retrieved from
  7. 7. ● Reading is a very social experience with many authors making use of social media to interact with their readers (eg. Garth Nix, Kate Forsyth, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and many more) ● Public domain images released for use via the Wikimedia Commons are used in Wikipedia articles, including in the non-English versions of Wikipedia as well as many other applications on websites, in presentations and publications. ● repinning in Pinterest is the simplest form of engagement (eg. Made with the BL which showcases the ways creators have used the librarys services and collections to develop new products and Instagetty which celebrates the pictures visitors to the Getty museum and villa share on Instagram) ● Instagram (eg. MyHuntLibrary invited students to share pictures of their new college library via Instagram and they were aggregated into a single set) COLLECTING So much of the content on social media is very transient and cannot easily be retrieved even a few weeks later, for example Twitter posts are difficult to search for after 6-9 days due to the limitations of the Twitter API27 . There are a number of archiving initiatives in place: ● Library of Congress is archiving Twitter28 ● The Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine archive some online material29 ● In Australia some official web pages are archived in PANDORA30 ● The National and State Libraries Australasia have developed a digital collecting framework ● The State Library of NSW is part of a scientific trial with the CSIRO to test the potential of Vizie as a social media collecting tool31 Social media is an exciting format for libraries to work with, it is an environment that changes quickly and particular features that can affect a tools suitability for library purposes can include the terms of service, copyright and ownership of content, privacy policies and the amount of staff time required to generate content. Some tools require more regular ‗feeding‘ than others and some tools require more moderation than others. The advantages of forums to engage with communities online and the likelihood that many existing ‗onsite‘ and ‗online‘ library users are also social media users are compelling arguments for libraries to be active in official channels on social media. 27 Using the Twitter Search API | Twitter Developers. (2013, June 7). Retrieved June 27, 2013, from 28 Allen, E. (2013, January 4). Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress Blog [Web log post]. Retrieved from archive-at-the-library-of-congress/ 29 Internet Archive 30 PANDORA, Australia's Web Archive 31 Vizie provides social media monitoring to identify customer needs | CSIRO. (2013, April 22). Retrieved June 27, 2013, from
  8. 8. References: Social media use in Australia ● Sensis Yellow Pages Social Media Report 2013. Retrieved from edia%20Report_F.PDF ● Cowling, D. (2013, May 1). Social Media Statistics Australia – April 2013 [Web log post]. Retrieved from april-2013/ Strategy ● King, D. L. (2012). Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools to create great customer connections. Medford, N.J: CyberAge Books/Information Today, Inc. ● Stack, J. (2013, April 24). Tate Digital Strategy 2013–15: Digital as a Dimension of Everything | Tate. Retrieved from papers/tate-digital-strategy-2013-15-digital-dimension-everything ● Visser, J., & Richardson, J. (2012). Digital Engagement Framework : Designing a digital strategy for your organisation. Retrieved from Facebook page moderation Facebook (2013). How can I proactively moderate content posted on my Page? Retrieved from Social media search tools Topsy