I have many incarnations of my social media life. It began a long time ago, but, I really delved into the social media world with LiveJournal, when I was younger and felt it was necessary to write emo diary entries for the world. I moved on to a website that I kept up for purely creative reasons, where I posted art, poetry, links that were of interest for me. In the last site, I made use of tagging, and I found that because of the sheer number of posts that I made, tagging them well caused traffic to end up at my site from all kinds of users from across the world. My traffic began to increase over time and it was actually a lot of fun to see how my site was visited by people from everywhere at all hours of the day.
When I worked for the local public library, I helped with the food festival called Eat Drink Read Write. It was a very popular festival, and that year we amped up our social media presence. We added Pinterest (pinned recipes and books in various categories), Facebook (posted each day showing books available for checkout in the library in various food-related categories), and Twitter (our Facebook page was routed to post there as well), and also posted reviews, etc. on our library blog page. All of this was tagged, with the festival name as well as with whatever topic we were discussing at the time (food trucks, Asian cuisine, etc.). People definitely noticed our page, it was in their feed every business day, and it was continuously reminding people that the festival was coming up. The festival was a great success and I think the increased social media presence definitely helped.
Social media and libraries are really complimentary. It puts the information professional out there to interact with the public and shows the benefits and holdings of the library. It reminds patrons to visit the library, and by marking it online with tags, it reaches an even greater audience. It may not be a physical person who can come into your library (they may be across the country) but gives your library relevance, interaction, and purpose. I absolutely love the back and forth interaction of the Orkney and Shetland libraries in Scotland. I live for their sass. If I were to ever find myself in Scotland, I would definitely visit these out of the way libraries because I absolutely love what they’ve done online. It’s just one example of how libraries have used a social media presence, tagging, and an eager audience to make a name for themselves.
When our tagging and bookmarking assignment was changed to Reddit, I kind of got sweaty palms. I’m not comfortable there for two reasons, and it was perhaps my own self-fulfilling prophesy that caused me to run screaming from there. I know Reddit only by periphery. My husband is comfortable with it, used it extensively years ago, and I think it is a worthy site, it just isn’t for me. The two reasons I don’t like it are: Trolling and Comments. I despise the comment section of ANY website because it is either inane or mean, and the trolling is just a part of who Reddit is, and trolling is bullying to me, which makes me upset for obvious reasons.
I know there is more to Reddit than that, but those are the things that stick with me. And lo and behold, I get called out (albeit politely for Reddit, a la Librarian-style) for not using the platform correctly. Reddit is not a bookmarking site, and as soon as someone asked me what I was doing by tagging an article I submitted, there were flags thrown up everywhere. These people are a tight-knit group, they know their regular users, and a group of us walking in and talking about a specific topic would have driven them mad.
And a couple people said they were even banned from the group, which echoed my worries. All in all, it was a harrowing experience for me, because I don’t feel comfortable with doing anything other than lurking at Reddit. Twitter? I can do. Blogs? I can do. I don’t want to go to battle with a menacing anonymous mob at Reddit. It makes the introvert nerd in me frightened.