I previously published a post on the importance of using social media to bridge the gap between practitioners and researchers within the archival sector. Given the response I decided to do a little follow-up with a few social media tips and upcoming collaboration opportunities.
Social media presents us with the opportunity to collaborate with one another, in accessible language which not only increases the reach and impact of your ideas, but also fosters collaborative opportunities. Aligning our professions’ research activities with industry requirements would be to the benefit of us all.
It is essential to engage with social media in a strategic and conscious manner. In order to derive the full potential of engaging with social media I have compiled a short list of the most important things to consider when engaging with social media:
What are you hoping to communicate?
Decide what type of information you would like to communicate to your audience. Are you hoping to explore complex concepts or are you wanting to share information about upcoming events? Remember that one of the most crucial parts of communicating your ideas/innovations are convincing the reader why they should care.
Who are you hoping to communicate to?
Are you hoping to communicate to academics, practitioners or the community with which you work? This determines the language and the approach you take. Don’t shy away from complex concepts when communicating to the lay-person, just ensure that you make your content accessible and interesting. The golden rule: Don’t ever talk down to your audience.
Choose your medium/platform
Different platforms cater toward different content and types of communication. In my opinion, Twitter and Blogging is most widely engaged with amongst Australian archivists.
Twitter is most effective as a means of communicating ideas, sharing resources and highlighting upcoming events. The downside of Twitter is that it limits you to 140 characters, which is fine when communicating facts, however in the humanities we are often trying to convey ideas.
Blogging allows you to explore ideas more thoroughly and is also free through services such as WordPress. Blogging does take a fair bit of commitment as the best blogs are added to on a semi-regular basis. However, if you are like me and enjoy writing, the content will add up quite organically.
Remember: Don’t just ‘shout into the void’. Social media enables conversation and collaboration to take place. Take advantage of this capability and join the conversation. A forum is no good if no one actually takes hold of the opportunities it presents.
Don’t be afraid of having a considered opinion. This is how you stimulate discussion! The #fundTROVE letter which was written by Cate O’Neill, Nicola Laurent and myself got an overwhelming response because it was topical and also took a stance on an important issue.
Upcoming opportunities for cross-engagement between archival researchers and practitioners:
- Leisa Gibbons has put out a call for interview participants for her web-archiving research project. She is asking for any researchers or practitioners with an interest in social media web archiving.
- On the 10th of March, Library and Information Science Research will be hosting a virtual panel discussion in order to consider the roles of researcher-practitioners in Australia. All are welcome to join.
- Become a member of the Australian Society of Archivists’ Archives Live website. This service is free to the community and offers opportunities to engage on forums and follow blogs.
- Start reading and engaging with blogs; New Cardigan has a great list of Australian GLAM blogs.
If you have not already done so, consider starting your own Twitter account! You will become aware of the overwhelming amount of opportunities for collaboration between archival researchers and practitioners.