Sunday, 29 January 2012

CLIC Social Media Event: Cardiff Public Library blog and use of Twitter

"Fear and loathing on the trail to Web 2.0"
Rob Boddy's look at Cardiff Public Libraries use of social media, with an interactive component!

Rob started by giving us a little background into how Cardiff Public Libraries started getting involved in social media.  Which basically seemed to be that Swansea Public Libraries were using it and Cardiff decided to join (and beat) them!
"A public library always wants more users"
Social media was seen as a good way to connect with the users.

What did you tell them Rob? - “This social media lark is a Good Thing”
After going on a social media course, and discovering that all the tools to create a blog were freely available on the web and very straightforward to use, they decided to push ahead.
What happened next Rob?
They set up a dummy blog and Twitter account.  Institutional blogs can be quite middle of the road and lack personality, so they wanted to try and inject more humanity into theirs.  It was decided to be non-traditional, keep things informal, lively and amusing so as to create more of an identity.

Cardiff Council were very supportive of the idea, as they had been championing using social media for some time.  But they were also nervous about them going “rogue”, so they had to agree to abide by the social media policy and branding policy.

The Page 35 blog is used to discuss "books, libraries and related silliness".  It also includes a Twitter feed and a Shelfari virtual bookshelf.  Posts cover topics ranging from; linking films to books, book related furniture, and the very popular Dewey charades.

“Twitter is easy but full of strangeness”
They use their Twitter account (@cdflibraries) for advertising events and emergency information, such as library closures, and informing users of new stock and new services.  Not always easy in just 140 characters!  They also use it for answering queries, and “almost anything else not illegal”, they currently have approximately 700 followers.

Rob's Twitter nestkeeping strategies include;
-It is always on in background
-Check hourly for mentions and once a day do an advanced search
-Direct message all new followers a welcome, only people though, not organisations
"Web 2.0 blues – why so sad Rob?"
Some of the limits that Rob pointed out were;
The numbers – only 11% of  the UK population are on Twitter
Capacity – it can be very time consuming

“The guilt, the guilt, the terrible, terrible guilt”
Should I really be doing this?
Is it really part of my job?

Rob ended by pointing out that Cardiff Public Libraries social media involvement has been successful and can be seen as a worthwhile endeavour.

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