Statement of Professional Philosophy

Statement of Professional Philosophy:

The Pathway to my MLIS:

Becoming a librarian was not a dream of mine; it was not even a conceived possibility because I was going to play soccer professionally and that was it. Growing up I loved the library but only in the summer. My local library offered a fantastic reading program that rewarded you, multiple times, throughout the program with tangible objects like tickets to professional sporting events. Essentially, I loved the library because of what it did for me. As I started my undergrad program, again I loved the library, usually only when I had major papers to do research on. Again, I loved the library because of what it did for me.

You see, when I started my undergrad and quite near the end I was set on going to law school and then all of the sudden I wasn’t. Well I can’t say ‘all of the sudden’ because it was a process of about 2 months. The last semester of my undergraduate career was a game changer for me, why? Well that semester I became a student assistant in the library. The library became my focus place, my hangout, my professional training, my niche and the staff became my family. Again, I loved the library for what it did for me but began to also love the library because what I could do with it for others. I didn’t go to law school when I graduated, I wasn’t preparing for the LSAT, instead I completed a digital archives internship and I researched library schools.

When I first decided to go to library school I was set on going into archives management. I enjoyed digitizing and preserving materials however after my internship I realized that I did not enjoy it as much as I first thought I would and did not want to pursue a career in it. What I did know was that I actually enjoyed the digitizing process of using technology and creating digital content for the library website and I missed creating research guides and working on cataloging projects in the ILS. I then decided to pursue the MLIS degree instead and focus on using technology to develop digital content for the web.

Passions and Focus:

What ultimately clenched my interest in working with libraries was the organization of information, the embracing of using technology to enhance the user experience and being “what can you do for me” for patrons. Those who study library and information science are given an opportunity to design, create, and serve for the benefit of many; I love being the person that solves the problem that seemed to them unsolvable. As I have worked in the library field and journeyed through my MLIS career these passions have not changed but have evolved towards a greater focus on digital content and web design & we development. I took courses that encouraged these passions including: Best Practices in Module Web Design using HTML and CSS, Web 2.0 and social networking tools in libraries, Special Studies: Virtual Worlds, Understanding Content Management Systems and using Drupal and my  Virtual Internship centered on Social Media use in Public Libraries.

When I started library school I was six months into a professional library position where I was head of the learning resource center (LRC) at a very new academic trade school; this meant I had complete control to shape the library from the archaic state it was in to what it now has become. I had two years of paraprofessional library training and experience under my belt so I was both enthralled with the responsibility and utterly terrified.  When I started working at this school the materials of the LRC were locked behind glass cabinets and students were terrified to ask me questions and often commented on how nice I was compared to the previous library worker. This made me sad for multiple reasons but primarily because it tainted their view of the library. My goal was to brand the library in a way that students saw it as a benefit for them to use it, that it was giving them something they did not have before. I wanted to teach the students that I was here for help, I wanted them to know that the LRC had something they wanted that they did not have before.

I spent a significant portion of these first six months organizing the collection and advertising to faculty, staff and students the materials that were available for them to use. When I started working the collection was organized by in-home developed call numbers, essentially the program they were used in and then an accession number, example: Anatomy-001. The complete listing of library materials was housed in an excel spreadsheet that was printed out and put into a binder for browsing, in house only. This is when I learned most about copy cataloging and became very grateful for World Cat and budget and user friendly OPAC resources such as LibraryThing. I spent many hours searching catalogs and completing the records for our material, after about three consistent months of this I finally had some sort of OPAC for students to view our material outside of the library.

I had accomplished this significant task prior to library school however, when I started the MLIS program an entire new world of opportunity opened up.  In the first year, I learned about database building, controlled vocabulary, library management, and web design and development. The first semester gave me the confidence I needed to feel like I could make an educated difference in the LRC, where I learned about library science, the basis of the profession and gained many resources for reference when needed.

Libr200 introduced me to the various roles and responsibilities of a library; this helped me see my role as the head of the LRC in a greater light and paved a way to improve the library.  My main focus was to get the LRC recognition to students, faculty and staff. I created an information literacy course that I took to the classrooms of the school I was working at. This course taught students about the resources we had, how they could access them and how they would benefit them during their time at the school. This course increased library usage ten-fold, it was amazing and affirming that what I was doing was on the right path, the students saw what the library could do for them.

With the increase of material circulation and the students’ desire to see the collection and search it and use it I knew my next step had to be upgrading the current format of circulating materials, filling out a form. I worked on automating the library; this allowed students to circulate material for longer periods of time and also use it off campus where prior to that they could only use material in the LRC. Another step towards the LRC being something the students saw benefit in.

My passion with technology, my experience in creating digital resources and my love for organization led to becoming the campus digital resources designer and I created over 300 graphic resources for advertisement for school programs, community events, career resources and health clinics. Taking Libr240: Information Technology Tools and Applications with a focus on designing for the web helped me hone the skills I had to really serve the community by giving my guidance to create a library website. The website opened a whole new world of access to students from contact information to catalog searching and project help and upcoming campus events. The creation of the website sparked my interest to study web programming further and to learn to work on multiple platforms.

The implementation of technology use in the LRC continued to grow as I took courses on social media use in libraries, web 2.0 tools and reference services. We implemented the use of Weebo chat (which has since been discontinued), Text-a-Librarian through Google Voice, a library blog through WordPress, and continued development of enhanced resource guides. All of this content was integrated into the library website so that students could access it conveniently and the page hits exploded from student use. The LRC was becoming the resource I aimed for it to be, it was serving students in a manner that it never had before.

I worked in the LRC for four semesters of my MLIS career, including a summer term, and was able to accomplish significant projects because of it. I knew I was in my dream career because not only was I successful in these implementations but I loved everything about it, I truly loved seeing the students actually using the LRC (physically and virtually). When I left this school to pursue a career as an integrated library system administrator I was truly sad as this place was my MLIS project, something I had built from scratch, I was proud of it.

When I ventured into library system administration, as the integrated library system (ILS) administrator, I learned an aspect of the library that I knew very little about, the back end of every ILS module pertinent to a library. This included learning how each department ran. I spent months going through training and learning the procedures in acquisitions, serials, access services, preservation, cataloging and reserves. I really learned what it took to run a library and the man power it required. It was here where I also moved from creating digital content to managing digital content and resources. When we automated the library at the previous school the collection and patron size were much smaller; at this library the collection was millions of items, with hundreds of staff members and thousands of students to serve. Handling a library of this caliber required significant attention to detail and the ability to see the bigger picture simultaneously.

My course work in online searching (Libr244) taught me how to build complex Boolean search strategies to find specific information. I was not aware of how I would apply this to my professional goals until working with ILS where I had the responsibility of creating reports that pulled various types of information for multiple departments. This course taught me how to break down complex topics to the basics and build up; this is a skill that expands beyond Boolean searches and into to general reference questions all together in all fields of study. I used this skill significantly and intuitively as the ILS administrator when troubleshooting issues with the system.

While I worked as the ILS administrator the immediate result of seeing the students benefit from the library wasn’t as apparent as it was in the LRC, sometimes it was not apparent except to myself and only because I knew what the system was providing the students. Although I missed this immediate reward and the interaction with the students I learned that my passion for working with technology and web programming overshadowed that.

As information professionals we are lifelong learners involved in a profession that moves rapidly. I have dedicated myself to this profession; “In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information” (ALA, 2008). As digital resources continue to impact how we organize and deliver information to our patrons it is imperative that we continue to understand, learn and participate in this evolution of information dissemination.

I intend to keep up with the profession through my continued attendance and participation in professional conferences. I have been fortunate enough to attend ALA annual and midwinter as well as participate in CLA and local conferences such as the LA Archives Bazaar.  I have continued to build my technology skills by learning multiple library systems including: content management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), web 2.0 tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and multiple communication platforms.  I have been expanding my programming skills by attending webinars, workshops (physical and virtual) and participating in programming projects through Treehouse and GitHub. There is so much to learn and so much potential for technology in libraries that it often becomes overwhelming on what to learn next. The ability to see where we stand in society, as professionals, and understand our impact on the greater society allows us to take important steps to shaping the libraries potential.

References:

American Library Association, (2008). Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics.cfm

Advertisements

SCCLD Social Media Internship Final Report

SCCLD Social Media Internship Final Report

Whitni J. Watkins

San José State University, School of Library and Information Science

Abstract

The purpose of this report is to explain what I did and learned during my internship period with the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) as their social media intern. The report is also a requirement for fulfillment of San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science’s Virtual Internship program. The report focuses primarily on the student learning outcomes (SLOs) and will include a breakdown of activities and tasks performed during the internship period and how they relate to the achievement of the SLOs.

Santa Clara County Library District

SCCLD consists of 7 community libraries, 1 branch library, 2 bookmobiles and an online library. They serve the areas of Santa Clara County in California including: Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Lost Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, and Saratoga. They serve a population of 412,732 with a rate of 52% being current library cardholders.

As an intern with the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD), I was working with Megan Wong, the virtual library manager, to develop procedures and policies to help further the presence of the library in multiple social media platforms. SCCLD is present on 7 social media channels including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and 44 library blogs.

Internship selection

I chose to apply for this internship based upon my interest in the use of social media in organizations such as libraries. I also lacked professional experience in a public library, as all my experience is in academic libraries and SCCLD provided me both options.

Student Learning Outcomes

Prior to beginning my internship I worked with the internship supervisor, Megan Wong, and developed a set of SLOs that would outline the tasks and responsibilities to be accomplished during the internship period.

  1. Effectively identify, monitor and respond to the community audience formed around the library’s social media by reviewing previous posts and audience response on social media platforms (Facebook, & Twitter) and attending Reader’s Advisory meetings (virtually).
  2. Learn and practice best social media practices through hands on use of platforms including scheduling posts and daily interaction on forums to increase traffic on Santa Clara County Library district social media platforms; including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  3. Formulate a social media marketing plan; set up policies to manage a public social media account and the distribution of information.

Student Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome 1.0

The first learning outcome was to effectively identify, monitor and respond to the community audience formed around the library’s social media by reviewing post and audience response on social media platforms, Facebook & Twitter and attend the reader’s advisory meetings virtually.

The first half of this learning outcome was achieved through daily monitoring of SCCLD’s Facebook page and Twitter account (See Appendix item 1 for clocked hours). Through my monitoring I learned what posts were most popular on Facebook, the time in which users frequented the page most often and as well as what posts reached the largest population (see Appendix item 2). The constant monitoring of Facebook allowed me opportunities to see what types of things the “fans” enjoyed seeing the most. This allowed me to recommend specific types of posts for staff to focus on to encourage more interaction on the page.

Monitoring the Twitter account was less insightful as the audience focus was less targeted, this became a recommendation item on the social media plan I put together. I used the opportunity while monitoring Twitter to find more community to follow, to communicate with those who tagged SCCLD in tweets. This received good feedback, one individual stated, “@sccld You’re awesome! Great job with the social media!”  (See Appendix 3 for full conversation).

The second half of the SLO, attend Reader’s Advisory meetings, was later dropped by the internship supervisor due to scheduling constraints on both parties . Any information pertaining to my responsibilities as the intern was relayed to me by my supervisor.

Learning Outcome 2.0

The second learning outcome was to learn and practice best social media practices through hands on use of platforms, including scheduling posts and daily interaction on forums to increase traffic on SCCLD’s social media platforms; including Facebook & Twitter.

This SLO was achieved through research, daily interaction of SCCLD’s social media platforms and volunteering to post on the Facebook feed weekly. For research, refer to the bibliography page for a listing of articles that were used in shaping the focus and evolvement of SCCLD’s social media. Traffic for SCCLD has increased; the follower count for Twitter has grown by 29 followers since the beginning of the internship and Facebook has increased by almost 80 “likes”.

The biggest accomplishment SCCLD saw over the past 3 months was hitting the 1K milestone, 1,000 page likes on Facebook, without the use of a Facebook campaign. At the beginning of the internship period, SCCLD was looking at 927 likes by the end we were up to 1,006 likes (see appendix item 4). Through research and recommendations, the staff began posting content that sparked more interaction from our fans. The interaction provided greater opportunity for our Facebook page to be seen and receive more likes.

Another opportunity that came from monitoring Facebook daily was the opportunity to answer a reference question  and turn it into a very positive experience.  A patron made a comment on a post on Facebook and I responded to her comment, which then sparked this reference opportunity. This patron desired that a certain book be available on an audiobook service that SCCLD subscribes to.  I found that although the service did not have the book, that the book was available on disc for checkout from the library.  The patron was ecstatic about this revelation and left very happy. The interaction between myself and the patron is publically visible and created a positive experience that others can read and gain more insight to SCCLD.[1]  

Learning Outcome 3.0

This SLO required that I take the knowledge I gained and formulate a social media plan and set up policies to manage a public social media account and the distribution of information.

The SLO was accomplished through 135 hours of research, hands on practice and incorporation of best practices. This was a difficult task to accomplish, as it required viewing each platform; see footnote for link to full social media plan.[2]

Along with the social media plan, Megan and I put together a best practices document that listed key bullet points for each platform about posting and things to keep in mind while managing the platform. For example, Twitter only allows 140 characters in posts, only use 120-130 of the characters so there is room for followers who want to retweet or quote your tweet. Another example is to always use the #SCCLD in Tweets and Instagram’s, this will help make SCCLD more searchable in the platforms.[3]

Conclusion

My internship experience with SCCLD was very positive. My supervisor exhibited a democratic management style where we each collaborated on ideas and together chose ones that fit the model we were working towards. This method of management was very effective as it allowed and encouraged innovation. I would recommend that there be more insight from the managing side to help better guide the focus of the organization. This would have been more helpful because I was an outsider to the organization.

Code of Ethics: ALA

One thing I found was that SCCLD was very strict into adhering to statement II of the ALA Code of Ethics that  reads, “We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.” One example of this was a user posted a quote on the SCCLD Facebook page that contained the F word. The user did not censor the word in the quote; however SCCLD policies enforce that staff does not censor comments made on public platforms as it is a violation of patron’s right of speech. Although my instinct said to “hide” the comment as to not offend those who read the post, I knew that the policy was not only enforced but was also in accordance with the ALA Code of Ethics by which I, as a current ALA member, established I would do my best to uphold.

Responsibilities

While working with SCCLD my primary responsibilities included:

  • Build followers on Facebook, work towards gaining better awareness
  • Develop best practices for Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram
  • Monitor and participate in Facebook & Twitter posting
  • Develop procedures for implementing an Instagram photo contest
  • Develop procedures for implementing a Facebook campaign

My main priorities were developing the procedures for different platforms and researching best practices. My site supervisor broke down each month’s priorities based upon what was accomplished and learned in the prior month. One action item that stayed continuously on the menu was finding a way to gain better awareness on Instagram and to use it to promote the library. The action plan was of great help to keep priorities in view; and I recommend that it be a best practice for future SCCLD internships.

The most difficult aspects of working in this [virtual] environment was connecting with the library. Due to schedule constraints I did not get the opportunity to participate in the Reader Advisory meetings and in part I felt like this created a gap between me and the staff. I wish the staff would have reached out to me more to give feedback or insight on how they are currently using social media; however I could have encouraged this more by sending out emails and interacting with them more.  I think this was a difficulty primarily because this was a virtual internship and had I been on site my interaction with staff would have been satisfactory.

Technology

Throughout the internship I used a variety of technology to accomplish the tasks set before me. I used email, Google Docs, and the Virtual Library Wiki for collaboration with my site supervisor as well as some staff at SCCLD. I used social media platform mobile applications for iOS[4] to manage SCCLD’s accounts including; Twitter, Facebook, Pages, Cubenect, SCCLD mobile site app, WordPress, and Instagram. I also used the full website pages for Twitter, Facebook, WordPress & sccl.org to manage these same accounts. All tasks were easily accomplished through these forms of technology  and I do not have any recommendations for improvement.

Course Work

As I made my way through this internship program I found myself grateful that I had taken Libr246: Social Media & Web 2.0 tools. This course, although only briefly, provided me with an overview of how some libraries used social media. It also introduced me to some of these libraries that had great examples, such as NYPL, to refer to during my research. I also found myself referring back to information I learned in Libr210: Reference and Information services, specifically Reader’s Advisory services. The reader’s advisory will be incorporated through Facebook posts, Pinterest boards and library blogs. These ideas were introduced to me through Libr210. Although I have a strong background in social media, these two courses introduced me to aspects of the library that I may have over looked during my research, specifically the use of Pinterest in the library.

Equally, I would have been better equipped had I taken course work on censorship and public libraries. This internship was my first non-patron experience in a public library, so many rules that exist in a private academic library in regards to censorship are forbidden in many public libraries. I am a firm believer in not censoring however it is still an area I do not know much about. I also think course work in library marketing would have helped me in the long run as a put together the social media plan. I am confident in my work but I know that having a formal foundation in library marketing would have saved me time as I set up action items for the social media plan.

I feel that this internship exposed me to opportunities and experiences that helped me more fully understand the impact social media can have on organizations. Although the work I performed during this period seemed insignificant in process, when put into the bigger picture I realize that this helped structure SCCLD’s social media presence. The social media plan will be a basis from which SCCLD can build their policies and procedures; this is of significant value to the organization.

Working with SCCLD has helped me form a more professional view of social media and how I can now use it to my advantage in advancing my career. I have a solid understanding of Facebook, as well as the ability to create and implement Facebook campaigns for other organizations with which I may work. I can state that my internship at SCCLD was a rewarding experience and I will take from it a significant amount of primary evidence as well as a new perspective on using social media in libraries.

References

American Library Association. (2008). Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics

Santa Clara County Library District. (2013). Social Media Policy [PDF]. Retrieved from Santa Clary County Library District Staff Wiki (private access).

Watkins, W. (2013, October 27). Facebook: the form of reference/advertising/reader’s advisory AIO [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://nimblelibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/facebook-the-form-of-referenceadvertisingreaders-advisory-aio/


[2] Full social media plan, drafted and submitted by Whitni Watkins to SCCLD: http://bit.ly/1e2eNnE

[3] Best Practices guidelines document: http://bit.ly/18y5MOx

[4] The use of mobile applications was not a requirement to accomplish my responsibilities; their use merely provided convenience and all tasks could be accomplished through the web browser.

 

Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information, including classification, cataloging, metadata, or other systems.

Component 1: Statement of Competency

With the boom in technology and the internet the ability to access information as increased tenfold. The amount of information that is not only available but produced on a daily basis surpasses that which the natural mind can compute. It has been said that we create now in a matter of days what took thousands of years to create; that is an astronomical amount of information. As users we do not see the impact of information that would cause our minds to implode because it has been organized. In order to make this information more accessible to users it is necessary to organize it on a set of consistently applied rules or standards.

The rules and standards of organization of information have existed since the dawn of time. Some schemes are simplistic such as organization of male and female and other schemes are more complex like organization of books in physical and digital libraries. Libraries have the longest standing set of rules and standards for organizing information; they are referred to as organizational schemes; the most common known schemes are the classification schemes Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress.

The primary role of libraries has been to provide access to materials and information already produced. Considering the amount of information available today it is necessary that these standards are used in organizing collections so that this information can be found in a manner that is useful to the user. To achieve this goal the library profession has agreed to control the information about these collections using a format that makes the bibliographical records searchable. This form of control can be referred to as bibliographic control which Charles A. Cutter stated the objects of this control were to (Chan, 2007, p13-14):

  1. To enable a person to find a book in which any of the following are known:
    1. The author
    2. The title
    3. The subject
  2. To show what the library has:
    1. By a given author
    2. On a given subject
    3. In a given kind of literature
  3. To assist in the choice of a book:
    1. As to its edition (bibliographically)
    2. As to its character (literary or topical)

The AACR is the primary standard used for bibliographic description; other standards include Dublin Core (DC) and Encoded Archival Description (EAD). These standards were developed to apply to different sets of material but essentially they all served the same purpose which was to standardize the information cataloged from material.

With the introduction of computers and the internet environment the interest in indexing these catalogs in an electronic format grew and with that was developed a format that was machine readable, MARC. This format was developed by the Library of Congress and is now the standard for bibliographic cataloging is MARC; this format was adopted as the national standard in 1971 and as an international standard in 1973. In 2013 the MARC format was supplemented with Resource Description and Access (RDA) in order to adapt more easily with rapidly developing information items and packages (Chan 2007).

A more recent scheme has entered the cataloging and organizing playing field; this scheme is free form and often causes anxiety in librarians due to the nature of its lack in structure and/or consistency and bears no resemblance to MARC, RDA or any other standard of information control. The scheme is referred to as tagging. Tagging essentially allows users to describe and organize content with any vocabulary they choose, using folksonomies instead of a standardized set of terms. You can see examples of tagging on social media platforms such as Flickr, Tumblr, and GoodReads. In recent years WebOPACS have offered the option to enable tagging of material to encourage users to interact with the records and help enhance them. Adam Mathes (2004) states,

A folksonomy represents simultaneously some of the best and worst in the organization of information. Its uncontrolled nature is fundamentally chaotic, suffers from problems of imprecision and ambiguity that well developed controlled vocabularies and name authorities effectively ameliorate. Conversely, systems employing free-‍form tagging that are encouraging users to organize information in their own ways are supremely responsive to user needs and vocabularies, and involve the users of information actively in the organizational system.

Component 2: Evidence and Justification of Evidence

The first piece of evidence I chose to include to demonstrate my understanding of this competency is record I cataloged in MARC format for Libr248, [Excel2003MARC]. This shows my understanding of the national standard format for bibliographic records. It also shows my understanding of MARC tags and the information that should be added to a bibliographic record. It also shows my mastery of cataloging procedures and policies involved in meticulous attention to delimited marks (| , ; ) that allow for these records to my be read accurately by machines so that they may be electronically cataloged into OPACS.

The second piece and third piece of evidence I chose to include to demonstrate my understanding and master of this competency is my [LIBR202 Project #4 Table] and [LIBR202 Project #4] from Libr202. The subject of my search was Ethics in Librarianship. The document breaks down my search process and explains why I chose to search the catalog and databases I selected for this search. This project showed my understanding of controlled vocabularies assigned in catalogs and in databases and how they differ and the benefits I saw between the two. The table lists search queries, results and annotations for pre-coordinate and post-coordinate vocabulary searches.

My final piece of evidence is an exercise from Libr202 [Folksonomies, what are they]. The paper discusses what a folksonomy is and how they are created. I discuss also the benefits and drawbacks to using folksonomies. Due to the nature of information organization and the more recent development of using tagging (a form of folksonomy) in organizing material, especially on the internet, this paper shows my understanding of this newer form of classifying. It also includes screenshots of my personal use in cataloging and classifying with LibraryThing where I store my personal library collection and also where I used it to create a searchable collection for a school I worked for that did not have one.

Conclusion:

The amount of information needed to be organized will continue to grow exponentially and user involvement in this organization will also grow. The purpose of these schemes is to help users swim through the information without drowning; having a standard is beneficial and the retrieving quality and relevant information will be best achieved through these standardized schemes. However, the type of information we are searching for has evolved into forms that are better organized through folksonomies such as tweets, photo organization and blog posts.

Reference:

Mathes, A. (2004). Folksonomies – Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata. Retrieved from http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html

Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Chan, L. M. (2007). Cataloging and Classification: an introduction. Third Edition. Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

 Evidence:

Excel2003MARC

LIBR202 Project #4 Table

LIBR202 Project #4

Folksonomies, what are they

The end is near

As I begin my wrap up for this internship I get to reflect on what I did, what I learned and would I change anything.

I have spent a great deal with social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter. I have watched as our Facebook posts grow in views and drop in views. I have watched as we continue to increase our interaction the likes on our page go up. I believe we will hit out 1K like before the years end, without campaign.

I have learned that the business aspect of Facebook is very time consuming and if done well also complicated. We use our personal pages to share our thoughts and we are happy when people like our page. From a personal aspect, my page is private but this is the recipe for disaster for any organization.

One thing is at a personal level use Facebook to connect with old friends, family, loved ones, etc. We use Facebook to share our feelings (some often too much). As an organization Facebook is another faucet for customer service and advertisement. We are there to build our brand, to connect with our customers and to build our following. Although essentially they have similar goals, on a personal level we don’t track when our friends see our posts or what posts get the most likes, etc. However, all of this is something that should be tracked for businesses. Facebook insights help with gathering the data but understanding it is up to the page managers. This is a portion of the complicated and time consuming part of Facebook for your business.

Advertising on Facebook is also very important for businesses, at SCCL we are working towards building a campaign for a library service such as TreeHouse. Campaigns are much more complicated than they seem. You can read my post here about Facebook Campaigns. At first we were going to do a campaign for 1K likes but as we dove into the nitty gritty we realized that we wanted to use the campaign for something more “beneficial” like adverts for the newest and coolest software at SCCLD.

One thing I would change is the Twitter interaction. I wish we could have nailed down the target for Twitter first thing because leaving it ‘up in the air’ with a semi-focus on businesses and community made the interaction very difficult. As I finish the Social Media Strategic Plan for SCCLD my key recommendation for Twitter is to develop a focused audience. This will help immensely with tweets and their content. Now, I’m not saying you have to have a specific focus, just a focus of some sort, don’t teeter between two and see which one comes out stronger. The joy about any business is your focus can change, it isn’t set in stone, as goes for your Social Media presence.

The internship isn’t over yet, we’ve got one week left to accomplish some big tasks. Look for next weeks post on my final report.

Social Media and transparent customer service

As I have worked with SCCLD on their social media endeavors I have noticed that it is the gateway to transparent customer service. I was discussing with a group of individuals that to get the ‘attention’ of companies the best way is to give them a shout out on their social media account. 

So often when we call into companies and give a ‘complaint’ this complaint is really only between you and whichever employee you speak with. Unless you tell multiple ‘friends’ of this complaint no one else will really know. The thing about social media is that most, if not all, organizations/businesses make their social media profiles public. Anyone can view whats on them and anyone can post on their pages/accounts. This creates a transparency for the company and forces them to respond to what most people want responses to, complaints. 

Just like in businesses such as Verizon, public/non-profit organizations have this transparency in their customer service. It is important that we DO NOT censor these posts/comments because someone will see the post and then see that it gets deleted, this forces business/organizations to respond to these complaints. 

It was in this conversation that I realized social media is the step to transparent customer service. 

Social Media Etiquette: responding to complaints

The more I’ve worked with Social Media the more I’ve come to notice that etiquette is hit and miss. Not everyone follows the same protocol. Albeit more important for ‘businesses’ than individuals, unless you are a celebrity which in this case you are viewed more as a business than an individual (sad but true when you think about it)

As librarians or para-professionals or circulation clerks, the list goes on, we have our fair share of dealing with irate patrons. We have the patrons who just want to be heard. The patrons who complain about dust on the keyboard. The patrons who just patronize…yeah, I went there. How do we handle these verbal complaints? “Kill ’em with kindness” “Give ’em a listening ear” “Ignore them [wait what?!]”  Our reactions to these situations are more/less second nature (if you’ve been working for more than a month in a library). Depending on the patron these complaints usually take place in a quite/semi private 3′ area about the desk between you and the patron requiring that you work one on one with the patron.

What about handling a complaint that someone megaphones from the roof tops in the middle of a HUGE city parade? How do you handle that? It becomes a bit more ‘messy’. Similar to handling a negative online comment. The viewing audience is now millions/billions? more than the verbal-across-3-foot-space complaint.  So how do we/you handle it?

First and foremost, you respond. If you don’t ‘speak up’ you are not defending yourself and thus giving the complaint merits to be true. Make sure you respond with a thoughtful and positive tone, don’t feed the fire with fire. In your response I also recommend that you remove the complaint from the public eyeEncourage the user/patron/customer to contact you personally (Direct Message, Email, etc.) A good example of this is Cory Booker’s (New Jersey Mayor) twitter feed. 

cbexample

Articles to read in light of Social Media Etiquette:

The Ultimate Social Media Handbook [pdf 5 pages] 

Real Simple’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette

 

Photo contest in your library. Oh and #hashtags

I have been given the task of developing the procedure/plan/integration of using Instagram at SCCLD.

For those of you who live under rocks, Instagram is an application available on both Android & Apply phones. The people at Instragram describe it as:  a fastbeautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family. I’d describe it as an app used specifically for photo (& now video) sharing.

This app can be linked (as most others) to share parallel to Facebook & Twitter. It also recognizes hashtags & account tagging (how else do you get to shame your friend with the candid snap of them sneezing, no really!); this is all relevant information to note.

Robin Davis with Emerging Tech in Libraries wrote on incorporating Instagram into your library SUCCESSFULLY: Spread the love. Hashtag like crazy. Within reason. ( Read more here: Using Instagram in Libraries

So we want to incorporate Instagram and we want to come in with a BANG! so we are going to make our first big attempt at a photo contest. We know we will use the following: Hashtags (#SCCLD & #[whateverwedecideonforthecontest], tagging (@sccld) & we want to focus on library programs. Other questions we need to answer include: How do we announce it? When do we announced? and How long do we let it run?

Without rehashing what has already been said by others here & here.

This is what I perceive our tentative plan with the Contest to get our Instagram started:

Announce on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Library News Section (?) the contest. Include in the announcement the hashtags necessary for recognition; the focus for the contest – Library Programs tagging – @SCCLD and let it ride! (advertise the contest at least once a week.)

#hashtag

FYI: Hashtags started with IRC (internet Relay Chat) and programming for denoting topics/groups, Chris Messina took the idea and implemented it in Twitter. The use of hashtags became increasingly popular and useful; this lead to the adoption of their use by Instagram & Facebook (as a form of tagging topics) – why do the hashtags matter? If you still live under your rock, this is why #hashtags are important.

“So to keep it simple, people are only one hashtagged word away from possibly being seen by thousands, if not millions of people through social media.” ( Read full article here: The importance of #hashtags

Hashtags are what will make our stuff BIG, or at least provide the option. In the contest, using the appropriated hashtags, we [administrators] will be able to track the submissions across platforms, by searching for our decided upon hashtag. So, yes Hashtags are important, despite this video here:

However it is important to note what Davis said earlier, Hashtag within reason 2-4 relevant per post Hashtags is acceptable.