Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?: Using Social Media in the Professional World

The title of this post is pretentious and misleading. I’m sure I’m breaking a cardinal rule of blogging by using a title that’s pretentious and misleading. But please bear with me anyway as, rather than producing the manifesto my title implies, I simply attempt to wrangle in all of the thoughts I’ve had about social media lately.
As the Webmaster of the Simmons College Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists (SCoSAA), I have taken on the responsibility of maintaining the organization’s social media accounts. As of now, SCoSAA has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I need to be doing with these accounts in terms of frequency of updating and content.
Prior to taking on this role, I would sometimes get annoyed with how much discussion there was in library literature and online library communities about how to use social media. I snobbishly thought to myself, “Okay, we get it! Everyone knows how to use social media and we all know it’s important. Can we move on now?” Acting as the social media manager, the online “face,” of a professional organization and the natural sense of self-consciousness that inspires has caused me to realize that my snobbish self was SO wrong.
Yes, I know how to use Facebook and Twitter, functionally speaking. I know where to go to update my status, I know what retweets (RTs) and shares are, and I know how to follow/friend other people. The question is, how do I translate my understanding of social media tasks and understanding from my personal life to this new professional one? Do I update SCoSAA’s statuses as often, less often, or more often than I do my own? Who do I RT, whose Facebook links do I share, and when I do should I add commentary or not? Whom do I follow, and how do I get more people/organizations to follow me?

There’s a great deal of literature online and otherwise about how best to address these questions, but, admittedly, I haven’t consulted too much of it yet. I’ve based a number of my social media decisions upon intuition and consultation with GSLIS colleagues. I’m hoping to be able to seek tips and answers more formally, perhaps even for a project in my Evaluation course, in which I would research the intricacies of professional social media usage. I love it when my real-life interests coincide with potential in-class projects; satisfying personal curiosities during “homework time” is a real time saver!
I would be a terrible social media manager if I didn’t promote my organization’s online presence! Please Like SCoSAA on Facebook here and follow us on Twitter here. Also, check out our website here.
Maybe after this summer I’ll be able to update with that manifesto after all!