I am currently working at a library in Central New York.  My library is part of the Mid York Library System.  My library is one of the 43 member libraries.  At the end of January our main library shared an infographic from the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).  The infographic was part of an IFLA blog post regarding alternative facts and fake news.  This topic is in the news everywhere and everyday it seems.  Libraries across my region are hosting workshops for librarians regarding fake news and how to evaluate the facts presented to you.  As information specialists we have the potential to be inundated with quests for the truth.  Being able to help our patrons decipher fact from fiction is a skill that we will undoubtedly be honing in the months, if not years, to come.

That’s not what this blog post is about though.

Nope.  Not now at least.

This blog post is how one post on Facebook can reach well beyond one’s expectations.

The Mid York Library System is liked by 641 people on Facebook.  Admittedly that’s not a lot of likes.  In fact many may be shaking their head at the small number of followers the Mid York System has. What that number doesn’t indicate though is the power of social media.  Take a look at the infographic that was posted on Mid York’s Facebook page.


Did you happen to catch how many people this post reached?  Over 20,000!  Now take a look at the same infographic again.


244 shares.  Not bad for a library that has just over 600 followers.

What does this imply?  Several things.

  1.  Social media has the power to reach far beyond our expectations.  A share here, a share there, and all of a sudden your social media platform or website is reaching audiences that you never dreamed of.
  2.  The popularity of this Facebook post draws attention to the fact that, as mentioned previously, fake news and alternative facts is a topic that interests many people.  Your followers are telling you what they like and what they are interested in.  Providing them with similar content online or even taking it a step further and arranging programming based around this topic appears as if it will be well received.  Perhaps scheduling and staff issues are a concern and your library wants to act in the moment, so to speak.  Start a dialogue on social media.  Ask questions.  Start sharing relevant posts and articles.
  3. Visual information is well received.  Graphics can convey information in a colorful eye catching way.  When creating social media content create a graphic or add a photo.

I think the social media world is one that is run by numbers in a way.  Many people and organizations are constantly trying to increase their followers.   People tend to feel as if the number of followers will dictate your popularity.   What this experience shows is that focusing on content may take you farther than you imagined.  As curators of social media content perhaps we should be focusing on reach and shares over likes.

One can never underestimate the power social media.




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