At least in academic libraries, one of the main goals is to support students and faculty with research. Not so much with getting them to read or recommend what to read but to assist them in fulfilling their research needs.
Social media seems to be mostly for outreach. But is there a tie/functionality between social media and research? Am I missing something?
I went through our research databases — we are mostly an Ebsco campus, but we also have SIRS, CQ, Credo, Proquest, Lexis/Nexis, Gale, etc. As far as I can tell, there is no use of social media within them. Should there be? Could there be? We integrate our chat reference service into Ebsco databases but that is not social media. We all know that the students are just ‘going to the Internet” to do their research. Will social media be a way to bring them back to authoritative sources? Will there be a way to put an authoritative seal on self-published wikis and blogs, similar to that of published journals and books? It made me cringe to listen to a woman in one of our videos about the demise of email talk about Wikipedia, how we didn’t trust it before and now is as or more authoritative than The Britannica. Really???
In listening to the Ebsco presentation, their social media efforts are aimed at their clients (the libraries and librarians). How do we, libraries and librarians, bring our users in?
If social media is for outreach at this point, how do we get our users to like us? We have a Facebook presence — our library that is. It has been liked by a mere 116 folks — and a good number of those are library staff. Our postings don’t get many views and with Facebook ever changing rules on how posts appear in people’s news feed, the situation looks grim. We don’t pay Facebook to promote our postings so not even those of us who personally like the page necessarily see the new postings. Our students are in Facebook — our campus page is faring much better in the likes count (5,454 as of this morning) — they just haven’t gotten to like our library page.
I’m looking forward to this class to learn how to effectively use social media to achieve the missions of our libraries.