When it comes to social media, I've used different kinds, both personally and professionally. While there are tons of different social media platform, the ones that I've found I've had the most success with are Twitter and Instagram.
Based on my tendency to chit-chat (which you've all probably noticed in my posts), you'd think that personally and professionally I would prefer to steer away from microblogging. But in my experience I've found that microblogging--which, for those of you who might be new to the social media world, is blogging with a very limited amount of space--is the best route to go if you want to have any kind of professional presence, and it certainly helps those of us who are long-winded to maintain a manageable personal presence.
For example: as an English major, a MLS student, and a part-time Material Support Specialist, books play a very central part in my life: in my personal and professional world, I do a lot of sharing about books, about quotes, about authors, etc. When it comes to reviews and lengthy conversations, places like this Booklikes page are fantastic. But when I'm snapshotting a picture of my favorite book or an intriguing quote, or when I'm highlighting a particular author, I don't need an entire blog post...and that is where social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram come in.
Instagram is the best for creating an original posting, especially if you're attaching any kind of photo/video. Since its entire focus is on photos and videos, it has a very user-friendly media sharing aspect. I can either take a photo/video directly within the app, or choose from my camera roll (the first is great for when I'm sitting outside snapping pictures of my cats, or when I'm lounging on the couch and need to grab a snapshot of my favorite quote; the second is much better for trips, events, etc.). Once a picture's up, all I need to do is add filters, make any photoshop changes that I'd like, and click publish--I can even opt to automatically post to other popular social media sites, such as my Facebook and my Twitter.
Twitter is less than ideal for any posting that I'm going to want to attach an image to, though it's great if I'm simply attaching an Instagram post to my Twitter profile. Personally and professionally, Twitter is what I prefer: if I'm sharing a photo or video or blog post, I can easily connect my Twitter to other social media platforms, and then I don't have to worry at all about making sure the post gets on my Twitter. If I'm posting a statement, I have multiple options: for short statements, I can post directly to Twitter; if I'm posting a longer, more complex statement, I can attach my statement to another social media post and simply attach that post to my Twitter profile. In both cases, Twitter will have my post available. As a professional, the hassle-free options that Twitter provides with its connectivity makes it , in my opinion, the best social media option.
Are social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter good for the LIS (Library and Information Science) field, though? It's easy to see the benefit of sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, but when you're dealing with the micro-blogging aspects of Instagram and Twitter it's a little harder to see the automatic benefits...or at least I can understand how it would seem that way.
Instagram and Twitter, however, are perfect platforms for quick and easy sharing. Facebook and LinkedIn require more work: a quick FB status is fine, but try adding pictures, tags, etc., and you can quickly get bogged down; when you're monitoring a page, it gets even harder (take it from someone who turned down the opportunity to be an admin on a fan page because she didn't want the work!); LinkedIn has a very limited field, so if you're trying to update the general public it's not going to be the best platform. If LIS professionals have an Instagram or Twitter, though, they can easily create postings that can then be shared to other professional networks without the hassle of creating multiple postings.
Here's an example from my experiences. Just yesterday I was reading a book, and found a quote that I just had to share. I snapped a quick picture with my Instagram app, added my filters/edits, wrote a quick transcription of the quote and added whatever hashtags I wanted, and then quickly shared it to my Instagram, my Twitter, and my Facebook. All within one app! If I went to my Twitter site, the post would be there...and if I went to my Facebook, the post would be there as well. In the off chance that I forgot to share it to one or another of those sites, I have a backup: if I forget to share to my Facebook...my Twitter is connected to my Facebook, and when the post is shared to my Twitter via Instagram, my Twitter will forward the post to my Facebook page; if I forget to share to my Twitter, or I forget to share to both of my social media sites, I can easily tap a button on the Instagram post and share it to those sites without reposting the entire post.
LIS professionals can use tools like Instagram and Twitter to create easy sharing platforms for programs, for author spotlights, and just for sharing pictures. Instead of having to go through what is basically a marketing campaign for every individual Facebook page that they create and every event/posting on that page, they can use Instagram to snap a quick picture or video--while adding text that will alert patrons to events, programs, or whatever else is being shared--and then share it through Instagram to Facebook and Twitter. Twitter pages are great to use for LIS professionals because it provides patrons with a look at library postings without all of the likes/comments/shares data being shoved in their faces. It's still there, but the focus is on the post itself instead of on other people's reactions.
For example: look at this image from IUPUI's Facebook page:
The page is effective in that it allows picture sharing, tags, hashtags, and all of the workings of social media platforms. However, you can see from the screenshot that there is a clear focus on highlighting reactions: the bar allowing users to like, comment, or share is prominent at the bottom, with plenty of space to show any comments made.
In comparison, look at IUPUI's Twitter page:
It still has all the workings of a social media platform--there's still text, links, media, hashtags, etc. But Twitter's focus is on the post itself. The options for Twitter's versions of like, comment, and share are still there as well, but the bar is much smaller and faded out, allowing for users to concentrate on the content of the post instead of user reactions.
IUPUI uses both of its pages well, and other institutions, organizations, and programs use social media platforms in the same way. Which platforms these professionals use depends largely upon how they hope to have their content seen and used--in the LIS field, Facebook is ideal for library programs, sales, events, and other user-oriented posts; Twitter is better for basic updates, or for sharing content that will redirect to a different site, or for any post where the focus in not necessarily on reactions.
There are tons of other social media platforms, and LIS professionals have found fantastic ways to use many different platforms in many different ways: Twitter and Instagram and Facebook are only toes in the water, and IUPUI is only a fish in the sea. Please explore on your own, and--as always--share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments!