Ask an Agent: Determining What’s Appropriate for Social Media Account?

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Question:  How do you run a successful YA library social media account? Specifically, how do you know what is appropriate to post and what is not (especially right now in the wake of all that is going on in the world). I want the teens to be informed, but I also don’t want to alienate anyone, or have it feel like it’s my soapbox because it isn’t, it’s theirs. It certainly wouldn’t be all politics. There would be pop culture, book culture, etc… I’m not sure my Teen Advisory Board would be up to the task, but I will ask them about this. Also, what are the best YA library social media account to follow? Advice from others would be greatly appreciated.

Carrie (Tulare County Library) says:

 If the teens want to share their opinions, though, that is appropriate—you are giving them a public space to post about issue relevant to their lives. I’m all for free speech, but I understand a library social media presence needs to have some boundaries on what’s okay and what’s not. There are teens with very good judgment, and if you have an older volunteer up to the task, what if you start them off with the assignment to post news about books and pop culture, and of course, library happenings?

If you aren’t sure if they up to the task, what if you always had to approve posts before they go live? I’d actually let the teens get political, so long as there is some sort of disclaimer posted that all opinions matter, and that the opinions posted here don’t necessarily reflect the views of the library. I’d also invite teens with differing opinions to post their views.

My teens are super busy (no time to sleep, even!) so while I’ve invited them to post to our blog, there is a drought in terms of content.  In the past, I’ve had them email me content that I’ll post once I’ve reviewed it.

Kelsey (Burnham Memorial Library in Colchester VT) says:

I think it might be helpful to know how you define your account as successful. For example, if engagement is your goal, then publishing more things you want teens to like is a priority. I’m not sure I would count my accounts as successful exactly, but considering the goals are visibility and being the ‘alt’ account for the library, I think I do okay. It’s mostly book-related news, the occasional re-share of something our library proper has posted and pictures after a program when permission has been granted. Personally, I steer clear of anything overtly political online–I can always take down a display or poster more easily than I can delete a post if I need to. I would follow any library you want to emulate (similar size/demographics maybe?) and libraries that are super active (I’m looking at you RobbinsLibraryTeens on tumblr). My accounts also follow popular authors, and the teens have told me they’ve started following authors they found in my followers so it seems useful. 🙂



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