Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Where Are the Research Based Social Media Practices?


I've been reading a lot of research about the interplay of social media and libraries in preparation for something else I'm writing. As I've been making my way through the literature, one thing keeps coming to mind again and again: there's so much that's been written on this topic, but where are the research-based and proven-effective practices?

Don't get me wrong: I love my heuristic-rule-of-thumb approach as much as the next librarian. I've written about how I approach social media and social networking many times here, not least of which was the post in which I actively suggested my own rules-of-thumb for managing a Facebook page, and what I wrote is definitely in the category of "best practices." Further, people who share their opinions about social media can provide a lot of food for thought. There are two Medium pieces that made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, "A Teenager’s View on Social Media Written by An Actual Teen," by Andrew Watts, and "An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media" from Danah Boyd, for instance, that should be read.

But really, I'm so prone to shaking my fist - metaphorically speaking - at instruction and outreach that isn't at least partially research based, that I'm shocked I hadn't come to this conclusion about social media before now. I don't have the time to conduct research like this at the moment, but I'm hoping someone out there does. I've done basic action research myself in the past, so I imagine a proof of concept study would be simple. Anyone out there interested in this idea? You don't even have to credit me if you want. I won't complain as long as I get to benefit from what you learn.

As for me, I'm going to try to read up on research done in other industries. I haven't even begun to look yet, so please feel free to share citations in the comments, but I know I always learn a lot when I look at tangential fields like how much I learned about wayfinding from looking at how hospitals arrange their signage and maps. It just seems like there's got to be research, even if it's in fields that are only vaguely related, like behavioral economics or human-computer interactions, about how to get effective results from your social media presence.

Or am I fooling myself?

No comments:

Post a Comment