SOCIAL Media has become a familiar toolset for marketing the library services in academic libraries. The purpose of this medium is to reaching out the current and prospective members of the library via the internet. This article will clear the ambiguity in minds of different users that what is the role of social media in imparting library services to its end users.
The term “Social Media” is difficult to define but different experts define social media in a different way. “Bradley & McDonald, 2011; Hanna, Rohm, & Crittenden,2011” have defined that the social media is “any Internet-based or mobile application that operates for the purpose of collaboration, which allows participants to connect, create, comment, view, share, rate, discover, profile and exchange user-generated content”. But in simple word “Social Media is referring to an online platform that allows users to link to each other and contribute and share contents/commentary etc, As a whole Social Media is intended to facilitating, collaboration, sharing and conversation through means of Media via internet”. The basic purpose of Social Media is to form a large, internally communicative collective that works together to create meaning and contents. It is a source of gatekeeper passing out information to the masses. Under the world of Social Media the masses produce and share information themselves.
The ultimate goal of Social Media is a huge body of contents created directly and often collaboratively by the web’s users. The information being shared on social media websites are considered user-generated and user-created. The experts have the views that there are six primary types of Social Media which are collaborative projects, contents communities, blogs, social networking sites, virtual game words and virtual social worlds. Social Media is playing a vital role in reaching out to the current and prospective patrons of the libraries. There are many people who even don’t have time to visit the library physically.
In this case, one can search all news/views through social media tools. The social media enables libraries to distribute information through a medium. Many patrons are familiar with these techniques. But, still, there are needs for those who are partially familiar with this technology. The advocacy for social media in academic libraries services required competencies and content creators whose are diligent and skillful about social media tools.
While entering the world of Social Media the library must ensure the form of social media they employ and the subsequent contents they produce are relevant to the interest of their audience and end users. Furthermore, as social media evolves and expands into new forms and shapes, so, the libraries must update itself with new tools while reshaping with the passage of time. The survey shows that over 70% of librarians are imparting different services to its end users through social media.
The important thing for the library practitioner is to get some spare time for the patrons whether new or prospective by attracting them through the medium of social media. Using social media snapchat services on a daily basis will promote your services and you will soon have followers and regular library visitors. As aforementioned that there are 70% in the world which are using social media in their library services and approximately 30% librarians are browsing and pasting on social media sites daily. But, number of libraries in developed and developing countries are still not aware about these technologies .
Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are highly used websites in library perspective but , some other channels such as Whatsapp, Youtube, Snapchat, RSS, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, of used in library services as a social media tools, I assure that by adding these services in the academic libraries, it will definitely bring charm to in library services .
— The writer is working as Library Officer in Institute of Strategic Studies, a think-think based in Islamabad.