This post will review my library, in light of a few of the A-Z of ideas listed here.
Active - how active is our use of social media. Our Facebook page has been up for quite a few months, and at first, I was updating very irregularly, as I was not sure what sort of information to post, and I was feeling some trepidation about doing so - it felt like a real chore. I have found that as my comfort level has increased, so has the frequency of my posts - especially over the last few weeks. I have obtained an ipad for work, and am using it to snap photos of things in the library, and post information about the photos. The ease of use of the process with the ipad has made a big difference to my willingness to post regularly. We have just started a Twitter account a few weeks ago, and I am still building my familiarity, and deciding what to post, and how to construct a good, succinct tweet. I am following a few organisations that are in the library world, and think that my tweeting frequency will also increase over the coming weeks. As our (slowly) growing number of followers increases, and the amount of customer response also increases, I think I will get better at identifying what people are interested in hearing about.
Content - is it valuable to our patrons? I find this a difficult factor to gauge, and at this stage, am tending to post similar sorts of information as I would publish through more traditional channels. However, the more I read and discover in this subject, the clearer my vision about content becomes - I am starting to feel that SM should be more than just me promoting events, and should give customers a sense of connection to the library, by offering little glimpses into our world. I have noticed over the last couple of weeks, that photos tend to get 'liked' more often than information posts. I also want to start to share information from the broader world of books and reading, by linking and sharing others' content, instead of just sticking to my own four walls.
Direction - do we have one, and where do we want to go with SM. My libraries use of social networking certainly did not start out with a particular direction or goal in mind, and in truth, was more a case of being told to get SM up and going, and figuring it out as I went along. I am finding that as my familiarity and comfort increase, then so does my sense of purpose for using SM, and I can now articulate a clearer, if still somewhat ill-defined goal of "creating a sense of community and engagement" with my audience. I'm not quite sure I will know how to tell when I'm there, or even if I am on track, but at least I have an idea where I want to end up!
Facebook - as noted, Facebook was our first foray into social media, and will undoubtedly remain a key component of our activity for some time. As our audience builds, I believe our presence will evolve, and we will embrace more of the opportunities the service offers.
Q (not on the list but I am adding my own - QR codes) these are probably open to debate as to whether they should be considered social networking, but I am starting to think they can be a great way to get audiences to engage with you. I have just this week created QR code posters to link to our Facebook, Twitter and HistoryPin channels, and to the library homepage. There are lost of ideas running around in my head about creating content such as how-to videos and "read-alike" lists, and I'm sure that as this subject progresses, more ideas will come to mind. I have noticed QR codes appearing more and more often in various print media, and have been exploring some of the content offered up. As I do so, I become more convinced of their ability to offer a way to extend the customer experience, and to invite people to actively pursue a connection with you.
I enjoyed considering my library in light of the A-Z listing, and have noticed the big change in my understanding of, and attitude towards social networking tools. Had I looked at this list 12 months ago, my answers would have been different, and so would my attitude. Whilst I don't think I will ever become one of those people who have trouble distinguishing between the "real world" and the "online world", I am becoming one of those people who understand the value and reach of social networking, and who are striving to use it productively.