Researching with Social Media – Tools to Integrate

Technology | August 11, 2017

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Researching with social media can lead students down a path of false answers. Position your library as a social media influencer with the right tools.

Let’s face it. There is no escaping social media. This channel has become ingrained in our everyday activities and when it comes to college students, social media is not just a channel to keep engaged socially, but a tool they use to communicate, make purchases and yes, even conduct research. Researching with social media can lead students down a path of false answers and fake news, but if your library can position itself as a great resource on social media and employ the right tools to remain relevant to users in this arena, you can ensure that the library is in the forefront of a student’s mind when they start to conduct research.

Serving as an Influencer Rather than a Bystander

For libraries, building a social media presence can be daunting. With your place in social media comes a lot of components to consider. Your library will certainly need to create a social “self” which includes a personality, a brand and a tone of voice. But of all items to consider, keep in mind that the goal of your library on social media is to be viewed first and foremost as an authority. The library is the influencer of knowledge, of expertise and of proper authorities and if students understand this, you can help guide users who are researching with social media down the right path.

Engaging on Twitter, Why this Platform Works

Twitter allows users to create and post short messages (140 characters). Tweets can contain images, text and can also link users out within the tweet itself. Hashtags in tweets are a great way to monitor what topic students are currently studying and researching in social media. By utilizing these hashtags, your library can provide insight into what resources and information are valuable to them in real time. In a 2015 article (1) featured in the Journal of Library Administration, a study is cited which focuses on Twitter. The authors of that study found that Twitter and “that rapid dissemination of information was a positive thing and did increase potential for active learning and class participation in the graduate students they studied.”

There’s an App for That

The most effective way to remain an influencer on social media is to be where your users are. For your library end-users, that means on the social media platform itself, but also integrating aspects of social media in to the research tools provided by the library. Embedding your library’s Twitter timeline is a simple, interactive way to incorporate researching with social media into your EBSCO Discovery Service™ and EBSCOhost® experience and creates greater visibility of your library as an “information influencer” on social media.

Learn more about this Twitter timeline app and how it will appear to users within their research experience.

(1) Source: Wright Joe, Jennifer. 2015. "Assessment of Social Media in the Library: Guidelines for Administrators." Journal Of Library Administration 55, no. 8: 667-680.

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