Different platforms for different patrons?


Some of our class discussions this past week have been about the need to use different social media platforms in order to reach different groups of patrons. A talk we listened to during week 2 (Danah Boyd, author of It’s Complicated: the Social Lives of Networked Teens) mentioned (a comment that I have heard many times in the past elsewhere) that once their parents started using Facebook–and especially, once they started “friending” them–that teens migrated elsewhere. I know that personally, only one of my two children has an account, and that was because he had to create one for one of his classes. He hardly ever uses it, and most of his contacts on it are either family members or people from his elementary school graduating class who one of his friends put him into contact with (the class he created the account for was during his freshman year, and he went to a different high school than everyone else in his class, so at least it was a way to stay in touch for a while).

Mini Moe #2, though, doesn’t have a Facebook account and is perfectly happy without it. Instead, she’s on Tumblr and Instagram all the time–Tumblr a bit more than Instagram, I think, but those two are definitely “it” for her. I have accounts on both of those platforms myself, but rarely ever use them, and haven’t even attempted to do so for work…yet. Right now we have a library Facebook account, which I try to post on at least once a day when we’re open, and a Twitter account, that I’ve barely even touched so far. I know that (some) patrons see our Facebook posts–I can see from the “people reached” numbers and the “likes”, plus, a few patrons have mentioned that they saw something on the page that prompted them to come in (okay, one patron does that so far. But she’s mentioned it more than once). I’d guess it’s pretty safe to say that the patrons I’m reaching that way are probably exclusively adults.

I definitely want to bring more tween/teens into the library, though–right now, my clerk and I are working on setting up a young adult space in the library, and it would be great to see it get used once it’s done. (I’d also like to get some YA input for what it’s going to look like in the end, but that’s a whole other blog post!) So I’m definitely thinking about branching out to other social media platforms somewhere along the line. Should I go with Instagram? Tumblr? Snapchat? Something else? How many social media sites are enough? How many are too many? It’s really just going to be me doing all of the library’s social media-ing, and that’s in addition to the rest of my work (and, right now, schoolwork) so I really don’t think managing four or five social media platforms is feasible. I’d like to get the most bang for my buck, as it were, and use platforms and have posts that really matter.

So that’s a big goal for this semester–figure out which platforms to use to connect with which patrons and how best to go about doing it. It’s a work in progress, and I’m open to suggestions!

(Below is the Danah Boyd talk, if you’re interested. She had some thought-provoking things to say about teens who are “always” on their devices that actually made me look at the subject differently.)


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