At the start of the course I stated that I wanted my social media-horizons to be broadened and to be convinced that social media has a place for constructive use in libraries. Three months on and I feel both goals have been achieved but with some reservations.
The real eye-opener was the visit to the University of Warwick library. This was my first experience of social media being used in a library in an effective, synchronous manner. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter were all employed but recognised as different types of mediums and used to communicate different messages effectively. As the library I work in does not employ social media I began to see many possibilities for the future.
As a result of this visit I established a Twitter account in March and am now something of an avid user. Statistics to-date: Tweets 125, Following 316, Followers 72. I’m still not completely up on the operational intricacies but I follow libraries, social media, news and personal social interests and look out for #FF (Follow Friday) recommendations. When I Tweet I try to make it count and avoid inane chatter so I look to link to something relevant or RT something I find interesting. One tweet from @saturdayboy said he considered Facebook a closed circuit and wouldn’t be using it. I felt this neatly summed up how Twitter differs from other social media tools in that it creates conversation and draws other people in and can communicate more broadly than other tools.
As a result of this I’m now using Tweetdeck to access my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts at the same time. I will be watching to see how Tweetdeck changes given that Twitter have just purchased it.
Establishing a blog has been another positive. WordPress seems a very stable platform to work from and there is a lot more to explore on it. Feeding a post onto my Twitter account has also been a boon and something to bear in mind for the future if adopted at my library. I may continue with the blog once this course is over. I like posting to it but wonder whether I have the discipline to continue with it or whether it retains its purpose? I may update it through out my Masters course.
As a result of exploring the use of social media at the University of Melbourne I’ve also discovered social media groups and policies. More recently I have joined a social media group that exists across the University. Currently this is an email forum but within the last week has begun to move to a Yammer account which I have joined. Twitter-like in appearance and structure it seems a more accessible means to discuss and share special media issues as a group.
As a result of the research I conducted for the first assignment I am now meeting up with other library staff involved in driving the social media within the University libraries. I have forwarded my thoughts particularly with regard to using Twitter in a more effective manner and although my job has changed within the last two weeks to a casual basis I have been encouraged to forward a proposal suggesting a more creative and tactical use of the library Twitter account. I have also explored a range of social media policies and would suggest that the library group develops its own.
One of the main things that has struck me is that the use of social media is still very much in its infancy and that institutions are still feeling their way as to its use.
I have used Flickr briefly but found Delicious and also Diigo very useful and have linked my accounts. Flickr has been used by the University to load artist impressions of a new library being developed. Delicious shows more of a future particularly now that Yahoo has offloaded it although Diigo seems to have far more tools and the desktop toolbar is very good. Second Life proved to be something of a disappointment due to computer hardware restrictions but I would still like to follow this up in the future.
For the future I would like to explore Tumblr more. I’ve already established an account and had an initial play and it seems to combine many facets of existing social media into one tool. I’m also exploring mobile devices. I have an iPod Touch and downloaded most of the social tool apps but I now have the opportunity to play with the work iPad with a view to utilising it as a reference tool for library staff.