We had an interesting idea swap today in Bloomer, complete with a guest appearance via Skype (from London!) by Dr. Rebekah Willett. Dr. Willett, soon to be a professor at the School for Library and Information Studies at UW-Madison, has research interest in children and media culture, and had some illuminating perspectives to share--though unfortunately the technology didn't allow for her full participation, but the meeting was a success nonetheless.
Participants at the meeting had more questions than answers about their use of Facebook and other social media, including questions about how best to set up a page, how to feed to facebook and not have to enter things 3 or 4 times (twitter, facebook, blog, website), and whether or how to control negative comments.
If you are new to Facebook or have some basic how-to questions, take a look at the Northern Waters Library Service archived webinar called Creating and Maintaining a Facebook Page, presented by Teresa Schmidt, director of the Mercer Public Library.
If you are looking for a way to integrate your whole online presence, take a look at http://hootsuite.com/ for help with that.
The libraries that do have a significant social media presence suggested that it works best if you make it as interactive as possible, taking advantage of the medium and meeting expectations for people's experience with Web 2.0 tools.
Even if you have a Facebook page (or other social media tools), it doesn't mean that people will use it, or that it will draw new people to the library--how to determine if this is the best use of staff time was definitely a discussion point. How to get teens interested in your Facebook page? Dr. Willett pointed out that teens are really good at segregating the groups of people they interact with online. Using your Teen Advisory Board to advise you on ways to use the technology effectively to communicate with them and their peers, and to be "online ambassadors" is a good way to start figuring out how to communicate more effectively with new technologies. Heidi from Rice Lake advocated using teen volunteers themselves to post updates.
Social networking sites for younger kids, like Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters, are being used in some libraries, but some folks weren't aware of these sites. According to Dr. Willett, these sites are very likely to be used by many kids who aren't old enough for Facebook so it would be good to know about them!
Brendan McCarty, our host, did some excellent research about using social media, and put together a list of resources. Take a peek--they are posted on our website!
Please comment below on what you are doing!