The trouble with social media

17 Apr

By now everyone should be familiar with Google+, and how amazingly not-popular it is, compared to the juggernauts its other products are (except for other attempts at social media).  Google+ illustrates the core problem inherent in social media: people don’t use it, so it becomes less popular, and people use it less.

If you move to a social media platform, you had best make certain that your target audience is already on that platform.  They won’t move for you.  People are only willing to adjust their social media in small ways, to accommodate a new interaction.  The only time you see people moving en masse is when a service becomes unusable, either because the audience’s friends aren’t there or because the service has upset its constituents to the point that they combine clout and move as part of a concerted, punitive effort.

The other problem, at least for some, is distilling the information overload.  That’s a personal problem, easily addressable, if not addressed.  Having so much data coming at you and trying to discern some meaningful information from it can be a challenge to many, but with practice it does get easier.

How can a library avoid this problem?  I think the best answer to many library questions is simple: know your patrons.  Know where they hang out and focus your efforts there.  If you love and adore Twitter, but all your patrons use Facebook, not even multiple status updates about your new Twitter will move those patrons to Twitter.  Find the confluence and work in the happy equilibrium.  What are your thoughts about the trouble with social media, and how do you address those??

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