The Undercover Librarian

Oh my. This is embarrassing.

I’ve been contending with an erratic work schedule and illness, and I had no idea how long I’d left this site. Although I’m not currently employed in a library, my hope was to use this space, as well as my Twitter feed, to keep up to date and informed, and to stay involved in the field. I’ve managed to get my Twitter feed going at a good clip, but the blog has been terribly neglected – something that isn’t new for me, evidently. I’ve found three similar posts in my archives. In the interest of full disclosure, this is truly a matter of time constraints; after working from ten to seven, with an hour and a half of transit on either side, it’s difficult to sit down and write interesting, useful, and thoughtful content.

To pull this back around to the topic at hand – libraries – time constraints are a very real issue when trying to maintain websites, blogs, and other social media outlets. In my own experience, it is exceedingly rare to find a library that can employ staff who devote all of their time to social media. More frequently, the responsibility falls to a staff member whose primary job is entirely unrelated. My previous employer’s Twitter feed, for example, was maintained by two librarians, who tried to get content posted between student queries at the reference desk. They did it on their own time, whenever they had a spare moment.

Luckily, there are programs available to expedite the process, and libraries can use these to update all of their social media in one swoop, or even in advance. One of the most popular is HootSuite, a social media management system for brand management, which allows a user to integrate and update a variety of sites using a dashboard format. There are numerous social media management systems available, although I confess I’m not very well versed in the workings of most of them – yet.

Several weeks ago, I began to experiment with HootSuite to maintain both my professional and personal Twitter accounts, and it has been incredibly useful on both fronts. My plan is to try and integrate my blogs over the next month, and perhaps additional networks as time goes on. One of the most useful features, and perhaps one that would be especially useful for a busy library employee, is the ability to schedule updates to a variety of networks. For example, I am now able to Tweet five times to seven a week because I can schedule a week’s worth of updates and posts on Sunday afternoon, and schedule them to post at pre-determined times throughout the week. Library staff could easily do the same thing – and do, I’m sure. It’s particularly well-suited to posting about events or items that are pre-planned, such as scheduled programs and events. Spur-of-the-moment posts or tweets can be made as needed, but regular content is still being posted. Content can be written well ahead of time, proofed thoroughly, and without the added stress of trying to get something posted Right. This. Second. So everybody wins.

As I said, my hope is to be able to do the same thing with this blog, so stay tuned for experiment results!

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2012 by .
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