What Is Important in Social Media?

I will be giving a quick 20 minute presentation on social media next week.  I pretty much have the bulk of the presentation together it is just a matter of editing the slides and fine tuning.  However, I thought it might be interesting to see what librarians and medical professionals think about social media and what issues are important…or is social media even important to at all.

I do think social media is important, if not important it is definitely prevalent. According to Nielsen’s just released social media report, “nearly 4 in 5 active Internet users visit social networks and blogs.”  Social media isn’t just a teenager thing or something college kids do.  The biggest users of social media are 25-44 year olds (hmmm in medical libraries that would be your doctors, nurses, physical therapists…not your students).  While the 25-44 year olds are definitely using social media, the biggest growth is from Internet users over the age of 55 through the mobile Internet. 

Since it is apparent that social media is being used and it is here to stay for a while, what are the biggest issues you face personally and professionally?

Do you worry about a lack fo privacy?  As more and more companies are going on Facebook and Twitter what is your thought about following them?  Do you follow them? Why or why not?

What is your library or institution doing on Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare?  Yes if you want your library or institution to participate in social networking they have to have a presence, but simply occupying a space is not social.  How is your library or institution engaging its users?  How do you measure engagement?  Do the increase of bots on Twitter and inactive Facebook followers concern you? 

Is there something else that I am omitting about social media that is important and should be mentioned?  Comment and tell me about it.

2 thoughts on “What Is Important in Social Media?”

  1. In my case, the health professionals in my institution have very little time to scan the daily news for emerging pathogens – and yet they are the essential part of our (infectious diseases) work.
    That’s what I use the social media for, every morning. And my daily updates been extremely helpful, according to my clients.

  2. For myself, the biggest issue with social media is the same issue all librarians face today: keeping up with the information. Even using aggregators like Summify seems insufficient at times.
    Privacy is a concern as well, and I use my personal Facebook page mostly for professional purposes. I try to limit my responses to friends to positive content, and keep all my friends lists private.
    What you may have omitted about social media is a question that is, unfortunately, political in nature, and librarians are loath to give up their neutrality: “How can social media be used to reinforce the value of public and school libraries?” Schools and municipalities are closing libraries around the country, and if this continues, in the not-to-distant future some students will arrive at college with no concept of what a library is, or what a library does.

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