Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Rudaí23 thing#23: the holistic librarian

'Bringing it all together' is a fitting final 'thing' from the Rudaí23 team. It's tempting to look at one of the things that we have covered, perhaps something that was of particular interest to you, or something that you knew would have an immediate impact on your library or your career development, and forget about the rest. But as with so much that we encounter in our lives, seeing things in how they interact with the larger environment is so important.

Linking social media accounts is something that I have done previously, but I didn't know about the
tools that Rudaí23 talked about in their post. What I did was turn on the option in the blog that I was working on that meant it would automatically update our Twitter account. This definitely helped to save time and effort, but I was often unhappy with how the tweets looked on our Twitter account, and would often try to edit them, or just delete them and start again. Sometimes the synopsis would cut off mid-sentence or the image used would look out of place. I saw a similar issue when I was using my own Facebook account: you would get updates from people (usually 'famous' people) that were clearly from their Twitter account. Do you really want to interact with somebody on a social media platform in which they are not really engaging? And even if you do, is there any point? The image here is a perfect example of this: posts from different social media apps with no interaction from the person involved.

The temptation might be to assume that whatever account you're linking to (usually the social media account that you have the least interest in) will 'look after itself'. I've seen this on numerous occasions (again, usually on my Facebook feed) where you may have errant duplicate posts and it's nearly always a case where somebody has linked their blog or Twitter account to update another social media application. The key, in my opinion, is to allow this to help manage your accounts, not allow you to neglect them. 

This is where applications like Hootsuite are so handy. What you are trying to do is not only make it look like you are personally managing every single social media application, but that you have the tools to properly interact with anybody connecting with you. This is vital, and Hootsuite gives you this option.

Signing up is relatively painless (finding that free option that isn't a trial run took a little while, however) and the interface looks nice. They give you a little tutorial if you want it, but to be honest, there is very little here that isn't completely intuitive. All you do is click on the social media accounts that you want connected and you're good to go.

A screenshot of one of the first things you see as you sign up to HootSuite. This is the beginning of the tutorial (which you can skip if you like).

Posting to two accounts is remarkably easy and most importantly, it doesn't have some of the negative connotations that I discussed earlier (particularly that you are cross-posting). You can see on Facebook in small writing that there is a clickable link to Hootsuite, but it's not particularly invasive. There is absolutely nothing (that I could see) on  Twitter suggesting that you are even using Hootsuite. Another nice touch is the 'automatic link shrinker', which saves you having to go to url shortening sites, copy-and-paste, and then back again (at least that's what I do: I'm sure there's probably a much easier way).

A post to your Facebook feed from Hootsuite

The same post as shown in your Twitter feed
The limitations on the free account are fairly strict, however. You can only have three social media accounts linked, so you will definitely have to choose which ones are most important to you. There are, of course, lots of different options for paid accounts, and depending on how much you're will to pay, you should be able to manage all your social media accounts through hootsuite. For something like a library, the cheapest paid account should be fine: this is the 'small businesses, social media professionals and consultants' option, and gives you the option of managing up to 50 social media accounts.

Hootsuite in a professional environment

This is where something like hootsuite is so important. A lot of the discussions (particularly in small libraries) can revolve around what amount of time is feasible to spend monitoring your social media outlets. Can you really devote all that time to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever if even one of these requires so much time? What about if you had something like Hootsuite, where you can have numerous tabs and keep an eye not only on what you post, but how people are interacting with you? Something like this will definitely help to manage a few accounts on the go.

What I really liked about this 'thing' was how it changed my perception of something I assumed I knew all about. I had a negative perception of linking social media accounts from previous experience, and neglected to keep up to date with how the landscape had changed in the meantime (or maybe I didn't know about these applications at the time). 


  1. Hi Bryan,

    Firstly, congratulations on completing the Rudai 23 course! I've enjoyed reading your thoughtful and in-depth blog posts throughout.

    Hootsuite is an excellent tool, and besides the limitations that you identify, should be a go-to tool for most social media users.

    I like Tweetdeck too, although it is not cross-platform like Hootsuite. Where it really comes into it's own, though, is where you have multiple Twitter accounts to deal with. I am involved with 3 different Twitter accounts, and having them all viewable in one place is great. You can set it up to show columns for search results, hash tags and notifications it's great if you are at a conference and you want to see all the tweets using the given hashtag in one list. It's definitely worth a look if you want more control over how twitter appears on your screen.

    The Rudai 23 Team

  2. Thanks Wayne! I really appreciated your comments!

    That's good to know re Tweetdeck. I was in a similar position a few years ago, and it was a pain switching between the different accounts I was looking after: lots of potential for posting a tweet from the wrong account. I wish I had known about Tweetdeck then. Looks like an incredibly useful tool.