[GUEST POST] A library admin’s take on social media

Posted January 15th, 2015 by Laura with 1 Comment

Don Yarman is the Deputy Director at the Delaware County District Library in Ohio. I’ve known Don for more than a decade, and one of his most endearing traits is his ability to speak truth to me, without fear. His thoughts on social media use, below, are short and telling. You can follow Don on Twitter as @yarmando. He still doesn’t see the point of Pinterest.

 

In general, I wish my staff were more thoughtfully engaged with social media. Whether that’s “more aware on a personal level” for the ones that aren’t, and “more aware of what is and isn’t relevant for the library” for those that are.

I am happiest when my PR staff think carefully about “audience.” Who are we trying to target? Who are we really reaching? Are they interested? Is the message landing?

For example, we’ve begun maintaining a presence on Tumblr. I don’t get it, but then, I’m a middle aged man and the Tumblr blog is aimed at teens. Apparently, we’re having some success with it, but I still don’t have a sense that we have an outcome in mind. Is “buzz” its own outcome? How, from a numbers standpoint, is “buzz” defined?

And who is buzzing? Do I care if a bunch of other libraries have reblogged our bibliography on their Tumblr dashboards? I kind of do: I’m happy about the implicit and explicit praise with the reblogging. And maybe that helps us all reach/involve/communicate with our teen patrons.

The bottom line question for me, about any additional social media obligation we take on, is “Where are we going with this?” If we get on it, what is our ride going to be like? Who’s going to be on it with us, and how long do we expect them to stay interested? How long are we on this path ourselves? Is this path going anywhere? Where do we want it to go? What do we want to have happen along the way?

What do you think? Post your own thoughts in the comments.

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