Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Successful Social Networking in Public Libraries

Finished August 9
Successful Social Networking in Public Libraries by Walt Crawford.

This book examines the use of social networking sites by public libraries, mostly in the United States, and is based on research and surveys. Crawford examines the definition of success in this context looking at reach, frequency of posts, currency of content, interaction with the community and republishing of posts by community members. As he says, "it's working if you think it is". He groups libraries into categories by the size of their community.
Most of the libraries used either Facebook or Twitter, or both of these social networking tools. While he makes mention of other social networking communities, the focus is on these two platforms. For each of Facebook and Twitter, he looks at what successful posts look like, and how to strategically aim for similar successes for your library. He talks about the importance of each individual library examining what their purpose is in using a social media platform, and examining whether it is the best use of that platform.
He has a nice section on best practices. These include: have a personality, ask questions and interact, act like a person, make your followers feel like the in-crowd, keep an eye on what the most people interact with, and expand to other platforms.
Crawford talked about the challenges of his research, and how he went about gathering information. There is a chapter that goes through his research results for each state he has data from (38), giving a snapshot of the statistics and sample posts.
He ends with a chapter looking to the future. As he says, this book is a snapshot in time, with posts over approximately a four month period in 2011. Things change a lot in a short time, and he foresees the increase in use of social media as well as talking about the measure of success for libraries in terms of effort versus output.

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