Tagged: social networking

It’s all about the wall!

I have been wondering if the academic library I work at should have a Facebook page. We currently have zero input on our website, but with LibGuides we have been able to create some content. Patrons view the guides, but no one has commented on them, so we still don’t have an interactive web presence. The students in our computer lab are always on Facebook, and it seems like a good idea to go where our patrons are.

Davis Library at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has a Facebook page. The page is used to advertise sales and trainings, ask patrons for their preferences, make announcements that the online resources are temporarily unavailable, etc. While these posts are not drawing a lot of comments, I get the idea that the library wants to have a popular Facebook page. It even states on the information page: “We’re experimenting with this Facebook page. What would you use it for? What resources would be useful to have here?” It is a good idea to get student input on the potential uses for the Facebook page; however, the question asking students for input is not posted on the wall, therefore making it unlikely that the students will post answers. There are 1,259 people who like this page, 22 are talking about it, and 1,085 “were here.” Students are looking at the page, but there is very little activity on the wall.

The Wellesley College Library also has a Facebook page, and it is even less alive than the Davis Library page. Only 629 people like it, 7 are talking about it, and 54 “were here.” The wall is used to advertise library activities, but there is no evidence of interaction on the wall.

Hennepin County Library has a Facebook page with 6,305 people who like it and 112 people talking about it. The posts on the wall are a combination of library announcements and patron comments. For example, a patron asks a question about the garden on the roof, and a library employee gave a detailed answer about sustainability. Also, a patron wrote a very positive comment thanking the library for Freegal. This library has a much more active and therefore effective page than both Davis Library and the Wellesley College Library.

It’s not clear why one library Facebook page is more successful than another. Of these three libraries, it is the public library that is most successful, and that surprises me. College students love Facebook, so why aren’t the academic library Facebook pages more successful? I wonder if college students have so many Facebook friends to keep up with that they don’t have much time or desire to keep up with a library Facebook page. Or could it be that the Hennepin County Library has promoted their Facebook page more effectively?

Ultimately, the wall is the essence of a successful page because that’s where interaction takes place. Regardless of how many people like your page, if the wall is dead, then the entire Facebook page is dead.