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Continuing the Conversation: Social Software and the Library, Session 2

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on December 8, 2010 - 3:24pm

Earlier today, Robin Hastings and David Lee King held the second session of their ALA TechSource Workshop Facebook, Twitter and More: Using Social Software in the Library. The following are some of the questions asked during the session. Robin and David will be chiming in via comments, and you can as well.

  • How do you measure the success of your library’s Facebook page?
  • Do you have a feeling about whether the increase of smart phones is/will be making a difference to a  library presence on foursquare?
  • Do you have suggestions for opening up existing Twitter accounts to staff?
  • Is it a good practice to post the same things to Facebook and Twitter? Can you talk about some tools that can help you do this?

Resources from David and Robin

9 Practical Ways to Start Attracting an Audience to Your New Social Media Account:

Open Facebook Search: searches all open facebook accounts:

Blogging guidelines from

Topeka commenting guidelines:

Social mention:

Robin's Library's Website:

David's Library's Website

Resources from Participants

Database of social media policies for government/non-profit agencies:

Preliminary Reading Material

This was the preliminary reading material for the event, though it will certainly still be helpful after the event as well.

Robin Hastings, Collaboration 2.0: Chapters 5 and 6, Library Technology Reports, (45:4) May/June 2009

Kate Sheehan, Keeping up with Keeping Up, ALA TechSource Blog, August 3, 2010:

Darlene Fitcher, Seven Strategies for Marketing in a Web 2.0 World, Marketing Library Services, (21:2) March/April 2007

Brian McManus, The Implications of Web 2.0 for Academic Libraries, Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, (10:3) Winter 2009

Comments (4)

I am, as I kept saying in the

I am, as I kept saying in the sessions, not a lawyer, but we consider the purchase of Syndetics bookcovers & DVD covers for our website to cover both the catalog and the public website and so we use those as needed. If Syndetics doesn't have what I need, I will then go check LibraryThing's free cover archive to see if they have it. Between the two, I rarely get disappointed.

What copyright issues are

What copyright issues are involved in using images of bookcovers and DVD covers on your website and/or FB page? It makes me a bit nervous but we do it. We get most of our images from the enhanced content on our catalog which we buy from Syndetics and from Novelist. Should we have any qualms about using these images? Should we put a copyright statement with the image? Do you know of any libraries prosecuted for doing so? I would imagine that publishers and authors would welcome the promotion.

For #'s 1 and 2, my answers

For #'s 1 and 2, my answers are going to be the same as David's, basically. For #3, all I can say is that I'm the lone tweeter on our staff, so it's not come up. It means that I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets when I'm going to be gone for a while, but for the most part, that's ok and it works for us. We do share admin duties on Facebook, but that is because we get more conversation on our FB page, as opposed to Twitter, so it's nice to have extra eyes on it to catch comments and posts quickly.
As for what we choose to post to Twitter/Facebook, that was sort of an on-the-fly decision. Our Twitter "badge" is right below our "last 5 blog posts" list, so sending blog posts to Twitter for reuse was sort of redundant. Right now, there isn't much being automatically sent to Twitter (new children's blog posts are sent, but it's a pretty rare occurrence, really). If I had a decent calendar with RSS feeds, that would be a great choice for us, but I don't... I do send blog posts to Facebook though, to increase the reach of the library's blog and then I also make personal posts to both.
The way those things were decided was through trial and error - I tested things and then dropped what wasn't getting responses and kept what was. It's pretty easy to set up something like Twitterfeed to send RSS to Twitter for a week or two while you keep an eye on responses and retweets and then get rid of underperforming feeds and try something else instead. Once you have gone through the work of testing it out, it's set up and you can keep it going until it stops working and you have to try something else!

#1 - how do we measure

#1 - how do we measure success on our Facebook Page?

Right now, it's by a couple of things:
- we look at the number of fans we have, and if that's growing steadily. That shows us that people are finding and valuing our content becuase they're staying
- we also look at word-of-mouth - patrons telling us they checked out a book becasue of something they found on our Facebook page, etc

#2 - Increase in smartphones making a difference with Foursquare?

I think it will definitely make a difference - whether or not Foursquare lats a couple more years is anyone's guess, but I think geolocation services and smartphones are a great combination and will likely stay around. So some form of geolocation check-in service will stay, and as more people get comfortable with their smartphones and see the advantage of check-in services (for most people, that translates to free coupons), more people will start using those services.

#3 - suggestions for opening up existing twitter accounts to staff?

Really only one way to do it:
- share the username/password out to staff. Even if you're using a shared service like Hootsuite, you will most likely need to share the username/password. And that's perfectly fine - they're staff, you hired them, you should trust them. If you don't ... it's a performance problem.
- Or don't share, and have one person be in charge of the Twitter account.

#4 - posting the same stuff to Twitter and Facebook?

We do slightly different things with both. We first post most things in Twitter - many of our twitter followers are other PR/media types in town, including newscasters and journalists. So if they get "our news" it sometimes ends up on the evening news or in the newspaper.

For Facebook, we try to limit things that originate from Twitter, and make it slightly different - we're still trying to figure out the audience there, but we definitely try different things in each!