I've been travelling, still am travelling, which occupies a lot of attention I could and should be devoting to this class (Social networking for information professionals). When I have been putting some thinking in this direction I have mostly been belatedly thinking of details and considerations I ought to have addressed in my proposal assignment.

Things like staff training and conduct guidelines when using social media - timeliness of replies, and probably especially language use. On the organisational end, the library assuredly does not want to have to deal with the fallout from staff wittingly or unwittingly using bigoted or abusive language on social media. From a community perspective, not alienating or harming members of the library's patron base who experience marginalisation is an essential first step to serving the full community the library is duty-bound to.

Or how frequently to update and / or engage with patrons and other who interact with the library's social media presence - the goal is to be informative without updating so frequently that patrons disengage or unsubscribe to keep from being overloaded. Also some notes about the line between professionalism and engaging social presentation, as some amount of self-aware engagement and humour seems to be popular when shown by online brand presences, but not to the detriment of the goal of maintaining an organisational presence (unsourced, personal impression - should research before asserting in a formal context).

Probably should have referenced more directly literature on library attempts to engage with social media. I put in plenty of effort looking to sources to justify the ubiquity of social media usage among the population broadly, and some articles from past assignments establishing a ubiquity of internet access within libraries.

It seems I also neglected to establish in the proposal itself, at least in a clear and appropriately positioned manner, possibly because I got so absorbed in the assignment process I failed to realise details established in the journalling might need establishment and clarification in the assignment itself.

I am finding myself somewhat cynical about the role of social media in libraries. It seems, rather than something one does to excel, to be something that is nigh essential to modern library practice. There certainly is room for excellence, both of the sort that brings widespread notoriety, whether for purely superb use of tools, or charmingly eccentric presentation, or for the lower-key excellence that is consistent quality of service which does not attract wider attention. But, certainly the former, notoriety-grabbing sort of excellence is open only to a relatively small fraction of information institutions across the world, and for many institutions, particularly the smaller ones, to strive for this excellence is to seek something unattainable and most likely a counter-productive use of resources.

An example of notoriety-grabbing excellence, albeit from a university rather than a library specifically, would be the Periodic Table of Videos produced by the University of Nottingham. These draw attention from being well-constructed, educational, and entertaining in a way that is of broad interest, not only to people directly connected with the institution producing them. One could imagine a similar series produced by a library gaining a like degree of fame, but the available market space is probably not open to a large number of successful contenders, and success here depends not only on having the resources of a major institution behind it, but also on the charming qualities of the specific personnel involved in its production. Most libraries will not have either of these in their favour, let alone both. It is important that one's institutional reach not too far exceed its grasp, or the net result will be a waste of resources chasing unicorns. Better in most cases to focus on serving one's intended clientèle - a well-produced effort may gain the library attention anyway, which could perhaps then be leveraged to the library's benefit, e.g. more funding, further leeway to embark on mission-serving projects, etc.

Cynicism, then, from social media opening up yet another essential front in the provision of effective library service, an expansion of labour rather than a replacement or increased efficiency of existing duties.