Warning: you are about to board my train of thought. Keep arms and legs inside the cabin at all times, and prepare for some confusing turbulence.
So, social media is. period. And we, as people and as librarians need to sort out and negotiate how we will be living within the ubiquitous social media culture that surrounds us. Personally, I’ve made my peace and found my niche. Then, I think “well, Libraries need to be on social media” (because, duh, that’s kind of my job) and “social media is the chance to reconnect the drift created by digital resources” (no offence, love me some digitized manuscripts, not to MENTION those handy-dandy online article databases that have saved my behind more than once–you know that feeling, don’t tell me you haven’t been there.). So not only does social media help spread information, but it encourages a dialogue, and we know this. We know it helps people feel connected. We know its personal. And we know the library can benefit…but I just haven’t exactly figured out entirely how. Or even my confident version of the why.
I am in no way suggesting ignoring social media here. In fact I strongly encourage participation and experimentation (you know, in college…nevermind.) In fact, development and innovation come from actively going for it, rather than speculating. But before we begin throwing out hash tags, we need a pragmatic understanding of what social media is, how it can be most effectively applied to libraries, and, most importantly, we need to reach an honest understanding of what real success is in this realm.