For my interview I chose to interview Tim Spindle who is the Digital Librarian for the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City. Tim started out working at an IT help desk and hated it. Some friends of his who were librarians suggested that he might be a good fit for libraries in that he could help his coworkers with upping their “tech game.”
There first thing I should note about this interview is that my own “tech game” was not on point that day, and after concluding the interview I discovered that my recorder had not recorded anything. Luckily, Tim was very understanding and willing to do it a second time. Naturally, the two interviews were slightly different so there may be a few things I reference here that may not be in the accompanying recording because it was in the initial interview. I would appreciate your forbearance in this matter.
The first part of the interview I would like to highlight is the discussion some of the challenges of social media. One thing Tim said that struck me was that history has shown that basic advertising “one-way” posts that just mention events have not typically been well received by the public. Because of this there is the concern that too much of this type of posting, rather than more creative and engaging content, could actually drive away followers.
Another challenge we discussed was the current model of single channel platforms for the library system versus each branch having their own social media presence. Tim made the point that Facebook’s algorithms make it such that fewer people see an organization’s posts unless there is engagement and interaction (likes, shares, comments etc.), in which case the post can snowball and be seen widely. This being the case, Tim isn’t sure that individual branches would have enough followers to garner the necessary engagement to get that ball rolling.
In talking about some of his more successful campaigns, his attitude was that it doesn’t always have to be completely related to you organization. One of the his more successful campaigns had to do with when Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder to play for the Golden State Warriors. Tim sent out a sad meme with the message that the library has books and resources for coping with loss. It doesn’t always have to be relevant to your organization, but it should be relevant to the people you want to reach. Tim described this as building “social good will” among your followers. If you keep catching their eye, eventually they might engage with you.
The last thing I wanted to touch on was from our discussion of the future of social media. Tim mentions that one thing that social media is going to need going forward is people. As he put it, you wouldn’t build a library branch and not staff it. And he says there are talks in the library to expand the social media team. It seems that the future of social media is staffing for it.