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Observation of student workers (frequently frequenting Facebook! ... Student backlash on University staff, administrators participating on Facebook ...

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can we be friends

Can We Be Friends?

One New Jersey Academic Library’s Experience with Facebook

Harry Glazer

Communications Director

Rutgers University Libraries

inspiration
Inspiration
  • College & Research Libraries News article - “Do you Facebook? Networking with students online” Brian Mathews, Georgia Institute of Technology; May 2006
  • Personal contacts’ recommendations
  • Observation of student workers (frequently frequenting Facebook!)
facts about facebook
Facts about Facebook
  • Over 10 million registered users,

(as of Nov 2006)

  • Over 43,000 people in the Rutgers network,

includes recent alumni and select staff

internal marketing
Internal Marketing
  • Recruited Librarian colleague, Julie Still (Rutgers-Camden), as partner to manage the project
  • University Librarian supportive but unfamiliar with the medium; requested a ‘tour’ before approval
  • Tour of Facebook allayed concerns
initial efforts
Initial Efforts
  • Started September 2006
  • Developed group name and description with Librarian colleague
  • Placed ‘flyer’ ad on Facebook (no known responses)
  • Targeted, recruited group members from leadership of similar minded Facebook groups: Alexander (Library) All-Stars, Booklovers, I work at the Library but I ain’t no Librarian, Thesis on my mind, etc.
intensified recruitment
Intensified Recruitment
  • Student workers at RU Libraries
  • Leaders of student government
  • Editors, writers of student papers
  • Leaders of other student groups
  • 120+ members as of Jan. 2007
environmental indicators
Environmental Indicators
  • Negative response to news feeds
  • Student backlash on University staff, administrators participating on Facebook
  • Uneven responses from students to Facebook emails
encouraging signs
Encouraging signs
  • Campus paper ran story on new resources as a result of a “Wall” post
  • Campus paper lauded Libraries’ Facebook page
  • 10% response to pre mid-terms survey on ‘favorite places to study in the Libraries’
more recently
More recently …
  • Experimented with Event invitation, for Feb. 6th exhibition opening; received 21 Maybe and 4 Yes responses – none showed up!
  • 2nd news story on Libraries appeared in campus daily newspaper, due to posting on our group’s ‘Wall’ (re: extended evening hours; 1/17/07)
  • Posted a news story on the regular Libraries website about our Facebook presence – attracted 15 new group members
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • Hard to judge utility of medium as a marketing method;
  • Creativity and brevity essential
  • Online ‘friends’ only solid if friends offline too
  • Relevance of medium in students’ lives is as a social networking site; they don’t go there for academic info or seek it while there
  • Investing $$ in promotion, or recruiting students to help manage the group, may yield more positive & measurable results
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