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5 Universities Killing It On Snapchat

Snapchat_LogoI am becoming convinced that Snapchat should become a library social media staple. Being a “cusper” (on the tail end of the millennial generation) I might not be as in-tune with what’s fresh in social as my younger counterparts, but the numbers don’t lie. Smith, from DMR, reports that Snapchat not only touts 100 million daily active users, but a demographic that comprises of 77% college students. In addition, Smith states that 71% are 34 years old or younger and 45% are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. Since so many users are the age of traditional college students, I think this makes Snapchat worth the time/money investment for libraries.

Among the throng of brands proliferating Snapchat, I have not noticed a large number of academic libraries using the platform. Moreover I was also unable to find a substantive quantity of higher education institutions in general using Snapchat. However, I did come across a few gems in the postsecondary realm that really understood how to leverage this social tool. Listed below are the aforementioned institutions. I suggest that libraries follow them and monitor how they engage students online for inspiration, before delving into their own snapping endeavors. With features like Snapchat Stories, Live, and Discover, Snapchat is becoming more conducive for student engagement.

Before I list the exemplar universities, I wanted to share two content themes that arose during my Snapchat perusal, Campus Life and Media Reuse/Sharing. Campus Life involves promoting events on campus, taking users on “video tours” of departments or popular restaurants, and generally just communicating what it’s like to go to that university. Media Reuse/Sharing consists of universities sharing student photos/videos on Snapchat or other social media venues such as Facebook or Twitter. Users on social media generally love it when an institution will share their content and it allows the university to use it as organic promotional content. Ok…without further ado, here’s my list!

1) University of Michigan

Username: UofMichigan– I would have to say that this account is probably my favorite. UMich has one of the oldest university Snapchat accounts and the social team really knows how to leverage all types of media. In their Snapchat Stories they incorporate video, music, funny online clips, doodles, hashtags, and pictures. It’s clear that they know who their target audience is, and they are great at embedding themselves into the everyday activities of undergrads. Their current story on the freshman move in checklist and #selfie contest are prime examples of this.

2) MIT

Username: mitstudents – Most of the content I have seen from MIT centers on the “around campus” vibe. What makes their account fun to follow is the fact that they don’t display easy to access campus information, but rather provide you with a behind the scenes peek of what goes on at MIT. It serves as a sort of unofficial campus guide.

3) Colorado State University

Username: ColoradoStateU – Over the summer CSU initiated a #stateofsummer hashtag Snapchat contest. They encouraged students to share their summer pictures on social media for a chance to win a prize. This is a great example of utilizing user generated content to promote the university. Below is one contestant’s post that was shared on Twitter. You can see how students’ activities in the state where CSU is located, serve as a way to engage CSU’s current audience as well as advertise to prospective students.

4) Princeton University

Username: princeton_u – Princeton has caught on to their students’ social sharing tendencies. They not only share snaps on Snapchat but have a designated Facebook photo album entitled Snapchat Saturday. The album’s description reads “Featuring the week’s most fun and creative snaps to Princeton_U!” and promotes user content that exudes school pride.

5) Duke University

Username: @dukestudents – I attended Hootsuite’s webinar, Social Media in Education: Tips from 3 Pros, and got to hear some of the awesome social media efforts that are going on at Duke University. One platform they have found to be highly successful is Snapchat. They use it for outreach and to showcase student life at Duke. The snaps they post are funny and engaging and they have made great use of Snapchat Stories. If you have time I highly recommend you listen to the webinar.

Honorable Mentions

University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Username: unlincoln – Most of the content I’ve seen from UNL comprises of campus activities. Free events such as #Gradfest and Service Learning Fair are communicated from their account. It is a useful resource for students looking for interesting activities, but not highly engaging which is why they didn’t make the cut.

ucsf-snapchatUniversity of California San Francisco

Username: USFCA

Other Universities with Sanpchat Accounts

There are more and more universities joining Snapchat on a regular basis. Listed below are some that I have found interesting.

Chico State University – Username: chico.state

Coastal Carolina University – Username: CCUChanticleers

Eastern Kentucky University – Username: ekustories

Eastern Washington University – Username: ewuathletics

Illinois State University – Username: illinoisstate

Kent State University – Username: KentStateU

Liberty University – Username: sparkyflames

Mount Aloysius College- Username: MountAloysius

Northern Michigan University – Username: NorthernMichU

Northwestern University – NorthwesternADM

Shepherd University- SUstudents

University of Houston – Username: uhouston

University of Kansas -Username: jayhawks

University of New Hampshire -Username: UNHStudents

University of Minnesota: Morris- SCummorris

University of Washington – Username: uwstudentlife

Valparaiso University- valparaisou

West Virginia University – Username: westvirginiau

Wichita State- Username: goshockers

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania- Username: whartonschool

Let me know if you have any you want me to add to the list! I think that these trailblazers are perfect for some inspiration as you attempt your own Snapchat engagement.

 

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Snapchat For Your Library

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Snapchat_logo Snapchat has been getting a lot of buzz as of late (Facebook offered to purchase it for $3 billion, but was turned down). It is currently valued at about $4 billion, and I think it will be the social media application of 2014 (here’s an interesting story of why teens use Snapchat by npr).

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo chat application developed by Stanford University student Evan Spiegel. What makes it different from Google chat, FB messaging, etc is the fact that the “snaps” (photos/videos/text) that you send are only viewable between 1-10 seconds, and then deleted permanently. It is known as the “next wave of private social sharing” (USA Today).

Who Uses Snapchat?

All Things D’s Liz Gannes reports that Snapchat is used by kids between the ages of “13-25 years old, with a growing contingent that’s aged 40 and over.” Business are also jumping on the Snapchat train. Mashable’s recent article 8 Brands Rocking Snapchat lists some awesome ways that brands are using this service.

How Can Libraries Use Snapchat?

Taking direction from the brands listed in Mashable’s article here are a few ideas I have:

1) 16 Handles Example: Ask your patrons to snap a pic of themselves with a roving library item/mascot. When I was attending TSMRI’s social media conference I attended the session 32 Flavors and Then Some: Creative Ways to Grow Your Social Presence. The presenters had the awesome idea of “steal this pen.” Students would take a specific university pen and take a pic with it wherever they were globally. They used Twitter for the sharing, but Snapchat is a great way to do this as well. As a library you could have students send a pic with a specific book, pen, mascot, etc. then in return they could be sent a 10 sec self destructing coupon code that they could bring into the library for a print of their photo.

2) Karmaloop Example: Karmaloop sends snaps of it’s brands new releases, office pictures, etc. You could do the same with the library. You could snap a “behind the scenes” video of the process of repairing a damaged book, a pic of new book arrivals, etc.

3) Taco Bell Example: Taco Bell used Snapchat’s Stories feature. This feature allows you to tell a story in a series of photos. You could do this in your library in several different ways: story of how a book is made, abridged version of a classic novel, etc. This might be one of the most useful ways for libraries to use Snapchat. These are just a few of my ideas. If your library is using Snapchat please comment below and tell us how your using it!

**Update:

Here is another idea that I just discovered: The Snapchat Pitch. In this contest students have 10 seconds or less to pitch their idea to the ad agency DDB Oslo. If their idea is selected they will be flown out to DDB Oslo for an interview.

You could have students describe their favorite book or library improvement idea in 10 seconds or less. http://vimeo.com/84663955

**2nd Update:

This guy performed the most awesome song covers using Snapchat! You could do a contest having students create a video with visuals in Snapchat…Maybe reenacting plots from their favorite book or Shakespeare play?

**3rd Update

I just posted a new post: How to Create a Snapchat Contest. It describes the contest I created this last semester.

**4th Update

Madonna just announced that she will be releasing her new music video on Snapchat tomorrow. It seems like this platform is definitely becoming more of a mainstream marketing tool!

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Mashies Finalists for Library Promotion Inspiration- Part 3

Please view past posts for more background: Mashies Finalists for Library Promotion Inspiration Part 1 and Mashies Finalists for Library Promotion Inspiration Part 2

In my first post I stated that I was going to create library ideas based on each nominee for every category each day. This has proven to be a bit too time consuming so from now on I’m only going to select a few nominees from multiple categories and post about once a week.

Alright today I am taking on the categories of Best Real-Time Marketing and Best Use of Google+:

Best Real-Time Marketing

Mashable describes this category as “the best branded digital response to current events as they’re happening.” I think utilizing current event information is a great way for libraries to demonstrate relevancy, promote their collections, and respond to patron complaints.

Nominee: Bodyform– Rubber Republic

  • Rubber Republic created a hilarious response to “a disgruntled boyfriend’s rant on Bodyform’s facebook page.” The video features  “Bodyform’s fictional CEO Caroline Williams apologizing to Richard for the flagrant use of metaphors in the company’s advertising of feminine hygiene products” and was posted 7 days after the comment. The video currently has 5,325,707 YouTube views.
  • Library Idea- Videos are a great way to get your proposed solutions out to a large audience. Try making a video response of your library’s solution to common complaint.

Nominee: The Poop Tweet– Razorfish

  • This video does a wonderful job at explaining how powerful a timely and creative social media response can be. Razorfish created a tweet in response to someone’s comment about Smart Car’s durability. The response was blogged about, then picked up by Reddit where it reached number 1 twice, and the next morning it was making headlines around the world. The video states that they generated 22 million impressions, increased their Twitter mentions by over 2000%, and searches for “tridion safety cell” increased by 333%.
  • Library Example
    • All libraries get complaints from patrons. With the advent of social media like Facebook and Twitter many of these complaints are disseminated digitally. It’s important that libraries not only respond to digital complaints but do so as quickly as possible.
    • Sometimes digital complaints stem out of one’s desire to vent their frustrations and aren’t even sent directly to the institution they are complaining about. Tracking these comments down allows you to be a fly on the wall and peer into real people’s conversations about your library. For example our library has had many tweets about people talking in the quiet study area of the library. The only way we were able to find those tweets was by searching for the word “library” and limiting by location via zip code. In response to those tweets we offered this solution:

https://twitter.com/UMHBLibrary/status/382950908633432064

  • Library Idea- If you have patrons complaining a small collection you could calculate how large your paper and digital collections are and tweet it. If people are making comments about how libraries are out of date or no one reads actual books you could tweet out your yearly book checkout statistics.

Bottom Line: Respond to complaints in a timely manner, have a sense of humor, and don’t ignore the power of social media regarding this area.

Best Use of Google+

Nominee: The #CadburyKitchen- Mondelez International

  • Cadbury invited chocolate lovers to a Google+ Hangout hosted by French Patissier Eric Lanlard. The hangout featured tips on pastry creation and information about his new book.
  • Library Idea- Google+ is not as utilized by libraries as Facebook, but in my opinion it should be. The main reason is the Hangout feature. Google+ Hangouts allow up to 10 people to video chat at once. This could be a great way to offer reference assistance or teach a library workshop and/or orientation to small groups. You could offer a Hangout featuring a local author and have a Q and A about their new book.

Top Ten IFTTT Recipes for Librarians

ifttt-logo

Ok if you’re a librarian then you’re probably familiar with the statement “if this then that” (IFTTT). It’s pretty much a Boolean search that performs an action in a web application. If you’ve ever performed an advanced search, run a list in your LMS, forwarded your email to another email carrier, etc then you’ve used an IFTTT statement. IFTTT is a free service came out in 2010 and allows you to create and use “recipes” that execute commands online. For example you can backup your tagged Facebook photos in your Dropbox folder by creating the recipe “IF I am tagged in a photo on Facebook THEN I want to add that file to my Dropbox (THAT).” And IFTTT takes all the coding out of it making recipe creation a piece of cake 🙂

Here are my top 10 IFTTT recipes:

1) When you get a Gmail that you have a new Twitter follower automatically tweet them a welcome message

2) Back up my contacts to a Google Spreadsheet: Useful method for backing up your contact list.

3) When a new book is added to Kindle Top 100 eBooks, send me an email

4) When a new book is added to the NY Times Best Sellers List, send me an email: #3 and #4 utilize RSS URLs so the possibilities for this recipe are endless.

5) If I star a Gmail, send it to Evernote

6) Save the Facebook photos I upload to Dropbox:This is a great way to save the photos you post for your library’s FB account.

7) Log all of my completed goals (iOS) in a Google Drive spreadsheet: This is a useful way to keep a record of all your completed projects for your yearly reporting.

8) Tweet every YouTube video you favorite

9) Upload new Instagram photos to Flickr

10) Create a Facebook status update via text message: This is especially useful for those who have not jumped on the smartphone bandwagon. If you manage your library’s Facebook and are on the go just simply send a text message w/ the hashtag #FB and it will appear on Facebook as a status message. Now when you get an awesome idea for a status update you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to post it, all you have to do is text!

IFTTT also has a great user community. You can share recipes you’ve created or browse the ones that have been shared by others. You’ll be surprised w/ people’s innovation! If you have any awesome IFTTT recipes that you use please share them below:

Schedule Your Pinterest Pins

pinterestMost people are familiar w/ scheduling their Tweets (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Socialoomph), PinGraphy let’s you do that on Pinterest!

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Use TED-Ed to Flip Your IL Sessions

TEDEd

Last week I attended the Texas Library Association’s 2013 annual library conference. My head was spinning with all the innovative fresh ideas that were shared! One awesome session I attended was Flipped Classroom: Supporting New Educational Models. The session consisted of a panel of 6 educators who shared their experience flipping their classroom. While it was primarily aimed at teachers and school librarians many ideas were shared that could crossover into the IL session. Ok, so I’ll start by explaining what a flipped classroom is:

Definition

A flipped classroom involves providing materiel before class (usually in the form of a video or a podcast) that the students need to read/watch/listen to and then taking class time for hands on activities. With flipped teaching teachers can spend less time lecturing and more time on interacting with students. Flipped learning allows you to spend your valuable class time on discussion and critical thinking.

TEDEd

One great thing about flipped teaching is that the instructor doesn’t have to make the videos themselves (although they definitely can!), they can choose from a myriad of educational videos that are already out there in cyberspace. One resource that was shared was TedEd. If your familiar with TED already you know what a valuable resource it is. TED-Ed teams up educators and animators to create TED-Ed Videos- exceptional educational videos for your classroom. Here’s a video explaining what it is and how it works:

TED-Ed carefully curates their video library so you don’t have to sift through a bunch of junk to get what you want.

  • On the homepage if you click on Find&Flip 
  • Search for “information literacy” or whatever you want your lesson plan to be and choose the video you would like to use
  • Click Flip This Video and add your own questions, notes, and resources to customize it for your students
  • You can also search Best Flips to find user nominated lessons as well as search by subject or series

And there you have it! Fantastic lessons and great animation that can be customized for your IL sessions. Couldn’t be any easier than that!

Tips/Resources

Here are just a few tips that I learned during the session

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Using Hashtags to Teach Subject Headings

CaptureOne of the hardest concepts, that I have found, for students to grasp and actually utilize are subject headings. Because students don’t regularly employ them in their day to day life they tend to be cast aside for a comfortable natural language search technique. I show students how useful subject headings can be when searching in the library’s catalog and throughout various databases, but they still don’t use them when it comes to conducting research on their own. While mulling around ideas of how to teach this concept in a more efficient manner, a little light bulb went off in my head…hashtags! Hashtags are a concept that students already understand and implement and are a great way to teach about subject headings. Here are a few exercises that I have come up with:

  1. Objective: Show how hashtags and subject headings can help one find more information on a specific topic
    • Example: Click on a trending hashtag on twitter (located in the left column) and explore the various tweets on that topic.
    • Take that same topic and search it in a database.
      • Show the database subject heading for that specific topic and click on it to show the database resources on that topic.
    • Exercise: Have the students pick a hashtag of their choice and list the top 3 Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook results for that hashtag.
      • Have them use that same hashtag and search it in a few library databases and find the most relevant subject heading. Then have them expand/click on the subject heading and list the top 3 results they get in each database.
  2. Objective: Show how hashtags about the same subject but with different lettering can result in a different (and limited) set of results
    • Example: #napomo, #natpomo, #natpoetrymonth, #nationalpoetrymonth
    • All of the hashtags above are about National Poetry Month but they all lead to a different set of results!
    • You could then introduce how subject headings work and discuss that through the use of a “controlled vocabulary” subject headings are required to be worded in a specific way so the researcher will have a more comprehensive list of results.
    • Exercise: Have students come up with their own controlled vocabulary for hashtags. You could also have them explain why they used each hashtag (ex: shorter lettering makes it more conducive for Twitter use)

These are just a few ideas, but I think they could be really useful. Since students already understand the concept of hashtags this takes a lot of the “lecture” part out and allows more focus on activities and engagement.

Update 2/11/2016: I wrote an article for Computers in Libraries about my further experiments with hashtag IL instruction. Check it out if you’d like to learn more!

Alfonzo, P. (2014). Using Twitter hashtags for information literacy instruction. Computers in Libraries, 34(7), 19-22.