Social media, no matter which platform, is ever-present. And since it is everywhere, we might as well use it for good; for professional improvement, connecting with others around the world, and promoting your services. Today’s guest writer, Karen du Toit, shares her experience with social media in a professional environment.

Socials for professionals

My name is Karen du Toit, and I am the Sectional Lead at the SABC Radio Archives at the South African Public Broadcaster. In 2009 we started a website, via Google sites, and a blog on BlogSpot for the SABC Media Libraries. The thought was that although there was a formal website, we could not on regular basis make announcements or change details or advocate for our services. We wanted to have full control.

Creating regular content on a blog or social media requires a lot of time and effort. It also requires a lot of creativity to come up with new ideas. The blog and website are a bit stagnant for the last few years, but we are still active on social media, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It helps that we have active colleagues on social media that post regularly. Social media is a great way to help us network and connect with peers. Years ago, we did the 23 Mobile Things course, which led me to create my WordPress blog, Karen’s 23 Mobile Things. The blog and Twitter led me to the International Librarian network, I was also invited to give several talks on getting started on social media for the library profession. See one of the papers, where I had asked the input from a Ph.D. student, Bekti Mulatiningsih, whom I connected with through the International Librarian Network: Social media for libraries: with specific reference to SABC Media Libraries

“Social media is a watershed tool in the enhancement of own professional development. The landscape of learning has changed tremendously, made possible by Web 2.0 tools and social media.” This was a quote from the above-mentioned presentation, and it is still very much true. I am constantly learning and I cannot emphasize this part enough! We cannot grow professionally without being connected in this way, especially for people who have stepped away from their studies (for a while) but still want to keep up to date. The lifelong learner needs input from social media. Of course, you need to know how and where to connect, and what information to follow. That is a whole different discussion point, but we are the experts (hopefully) in finding and following the best content on social media.

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Social media requires constant and regular input. It also requires engagement. It becomes difficult to maintain this, but the overwhelming result has been a positive impact on my career. I have managed to stay updated with what is happening in the archive and library world and usually hear about webinars, conferences, and interesting talks via social media, especially Twitter and LinkedIn. To maintain a regular output on social media, it is helpful to keep the following ideas in mind. The problem usually is not coming up with new content, but finding the time to write, share and engage. We still get a lot of hits each month on our website and blog, which beckons me to note that a blog is still one of the best ways to get your message out there. It also never disappears, and people still find the content they are looking for. For example, A post from 2012 is now one of our most popular posts this week.

Ten ideas to creating new posts on any social media

  1. Changes, improvements, and new products at the library and/or archive.
  2. Regular five questions to colleagues.
  3. New colleagues get to answer a few questions about their background and their new job roles.
  4. Events in the library and information world, such as World Book Day, UNESCO World Day for Audio-visual Heritage, and International Archive Day.
  5. Interesting content, material, or books found in the library and/or archive.
  6. Important events in the local community and/or country.
  7. Overview of conferences.
  8. Sharing inspirational posts about the library and archive profession.
  9. Posts about the different services that we render.
  10. Asking for advice about a challenge in the profession or workplace.

There is always something to share. Even cake day can get a special mention or photo being shared.

The SABC Media Libraries, because of their online presence, are regularly contacted about their services and material. It would not have been possible without this instant reach and connection with their users and listeners. The SABC Radio Archives regularly must find radio clips that are being sold to the public.

The final challenge: To find new colleagues to take up social media as part of their workload. I would love to hear how other libraries and archives are dealing with this issue. The parent company has purposefully gone on a call to all employees to connect, like, and share their posts, and maybe this is an idea to follow up.

We will be back next week with another interesting article from the library world!

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Karen du Toit

Karen du Toit

Archivist, Librarian, blogger, mom, grandmother, lover of ALL living things

Connect with her here: LinkedIn/KarenduToit

Blog: Karen’s 23 Mobile Things

Twitter: karentoittoit

Web: SABC Media Libraries

Blog: SABC Media Libraries blog

Twitter: SABC Media Libraries

Twitter: SABC Radio Archives

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