King me, or, a stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met.

Cleaning up the newsreader after being away is always fun, especially when you’ve got stuff marked “keep as new,” to read later.  It’s always worth making time for, though.

Let’s take, for example, the phenomenon of “friending” on social media.  A recent series of posts on this topic made me smile and sigh with relief. You see, I was worried I was doing it all wrong because I wasn’t running around friending everybody on the planet and promoting my library.

[Truth be told, I'm surprised my Twitter feed has gained the modest measure of success it has. Steely MacBeam and WDVE friended me, but it's not like we've ever hung out on the South Side, or sipped a lovely beverage in Crazy Mocha together. Who knew the Steelers mascot and the kings of classic rock would find my refdesk updates intriguing? She said, tongue wedged firmly in cheek.]

In addition to the many excellent points King makes in his posts on friending and social media, I would argue that the old-fashioned art of being a good writer is the way to attract an audience. It’s not enough just to create content, I’m thinking. You’ve got to create interesting content. Otherwise, you’re just another voice in the crowd saying “look at me!” Given that Facebook status updates and Tweets are extremely short, it becomes something of a challenge–almost an art–to make them amusing and interesting, especially when you’re pinging in between transactions. Also, there are only so many ways to say “Handed someone the stapler,” no matter how gifted you are!

Just one librarian’s theory. Of course, the more I write, in any medium, the more I realize how much I have to learn about writing. That, however, is a post for a different blog at a different time.

Returning to the point at hand–how could CLP use social media for outreach–I suppose the first step would be to find out if our users Tweet or follow in the first place. Based on casual observation, I’d say most of the Ref. Services users are far more fond of MySpace. I would, however, like to see some empirical evidence to back that up.

Onward and downward!

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