Yesterday evening I attended a CILIP in Surrey talk by Karen Blakeman on social media. One key point of the talk was the importance of keeping track of our social media and in particular making sure what we do use is up to date. She gave some interesting information on keeping track of statistics for different sites and ways in which you can monitor you/your organisation. While statistics weren’t really my area, it was interesting to hear about the vast number of sites capable of tracking and gathering statistics.
What did interest me however was the part about keeping your social media tidy and organised. She asked if everyone in the room could name all the social media they had used in the last 2-3 years? Some uncomfortable shifting in seats followed as we all tried to think back – I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last weekend so who knows what I may have signed up to!?
It made me (and others in the audience) think, how much information, and particularly out of date information about me is there on the internet? Do I actually keep track of every site I sign up to in a moment of inspiration only to forget all about it again days later?
Well, no, not really. But then until quite recently I hadn’t even been using an awful lot of social media. Ok, so I’m on Facebook (I sort of want to shout, well who isn’t these days?!) but I try to keep that a personal space and so am fairly unexciting to anyone who isn’t my friend (possibly not that exciting to those that are!).
I’ve had a LinkedIn account for a few years but must admit I’ve rarely used it, other than to accept a friend request from someone I might have known at school.
I was told to sign up to Twitter whilst on my MA last year and did so (somewhat begrudgingly) but up until a few months ago I didn’t really use it. Having just signed up for chartership I am suddenly finding it rather invaluable for snippets of information, chats and links to articles and blogs, not to mention some light networking.
I do believe I have also signed up to Tumblr at some point, though again I don’t think I have really used it since that first week where I was sure that I would take brilliant and inspirational photos on my phone that the rest of the world would be dying to see…or not.
Hmm, the more I think about it, the longer the list seems to get… So what do these social sites really say about me? Facebook is, well, not going to tell you anything really as I told it not to! Twitter will tell you all I have to talk about is libraries, Tumblr might display me as someone who can’t really take pictures and Linkedin probably still thinks I’m on a pre-masters trainee year. Hmm. Is this what I want others to be able to see about me? Perhaps some updating or unsubscribing is needed.
This leads me to another of Karen’s points: Social media may be free but is also very time consuming! Whether you are using it for work or personal use it is essential to make sure you are sending relevant information to relevant people. Where I work we have our library’s Twitter, Facebook and blog all interlinked. Anything that gets posted on the blog automatically appears on the library Facebook page and twitter feeds. Aside from some formatting disparities between the blog and Facebook this is generally a good way to make sure we reach all our users.
I would not, however, want to do this for my personal accounts. I’m fairly certain my Facebook friends aren’t that interested in snippets of twitter stating that figuring out my chartership PPDP is hard work! Not to mention the few times I’ve been writing in the Twitter #chartership chats. Who wants to see 30 posts filled with @ and # on their Facebook news feed!? So be warned, spamming your friends/users/followers with irrelevant information might just leave you friendless and unpopular! Karen warned of a cycle of having Facebook post on twitter while having twitter set to post on Facebook. An infinite loop of information doom?
This isn’t nearly everything that Karen talked about last night, merely a selection of points that I found particularly interesting and relevant to me and things that made me think about what I’m doing with my online presence. I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on the sites I am using from now on!