social media week

Some thoughts as I wrap up my social media week with a few last posts (plus rain-drenched provisions for our class):

— My week fell during the Day of Remembrance (and the ten year anniversary of the events of April 16th ’07). I wanted to be very careful not to look like I was remarking on this opportunistically. This is a huge deal in social media — it’s really tasteless when publicity outlets appear to use a catastrophe, or even just a major event that’s unrelated to their beat, to gain more “likes” and followers. Of course, it’s also important to note things like this. I’m hoping I did a decent job.

— Not being in the History Department, and also being somewhat outside of the world of Public History (except for this class), I struggled a bit with figuring out what to post. I stuck to some interesting articles and tidbits about state and national history. Hopefully this didn’t seem too boilerplate or generic.

— I found myself wondering what other platforms would be useful. Tumblr seems to be waning in popularity, and I don’t know if VT Public History would make for a good Instagram account (let alone Snapchat). A publishing platform like Medium might be useful, but I think having a self-run WordPress is even better.  I think Twitter is more powerful than Facebook, and strategizing how to get more followers might be useful for @VTPublicHistory.

Now, onto converting my podcast to an mp3…



My “Week” as Social Media Manager

I spent last week writing posts for the Public History program’s social media profiles, just like I have every other week all year (woohoo!). I posted the usual posts I do every week: a #MuseumCrushMonday which featured the Glencoe Mansion Museum and Gallery in Radford (this was a re-feature because the museum had a rededication ceremony last week), a post on new job openings in the public history field, and highlights on any current events at Virginia Tech that relate to public history. With the 100 year anniversary of the U.S.’s involvement in WWI approaching, I focused most of these highlight posts on Daniel Newcomb’s work on VPI’s role in WWI and the exhibit he curated on display in Newman Library. I also posted a shoutout to Dr. Melanie Kiechle, who was quoted in the New Yorker, and retweeted some relevant tweets from institutions around the country.

One of my biggest concerns about VTPH’s social media is its impact and outreach. On average, the Facebook posts reach about 20-30 people. That’s out of 75 people who follow the page. If more people who interact with the posts by liking or commenting on them, then more people see them and potentially interact with them as well. I like each post with my personal profile to help with that and I can typically count on the same 2 or 3 people doing the same (looking at you Rebecca! Thanks!). I really hope that this interaction trend will rise as more students in this class post on the page. We definitely post more regularly than other VT social media profiles for the liberal arts, so there’s a lot of potential to increase our impact.

Social Media Assignment

I was assigned to contribute to the Public History social media sites during the week of Spring Break. As I thought about what would be good to share, I decided since it was Women’s History Month it would be good to share interesting facts about Women at Virginia Tech. Facebook provides an opportunity to draw people’s attention to historical facts and provide a link to further details. I also posted about the film “Hidden Figures” which was playing at The Lyric Theater in Blacksburg – providing another opportunity to celebrate women’s history – and get some free popcorn to boot.

At Reynolds Homestead we use Facebook to promote our activities. We recently began adding “Interesting History Facts” on Wednesday and we are launching a “Throwback Thursday” to share old photos, some of which we will ask our friends to help us identify people in the photos.

We’ve also found the Facebook “Boost” option a good way to reach a larger audience for events. During this past week, I “boosted” a post on an “Old Time Music and Dance” concert and for $18, much less than I would pay for a newspaper ad, I reached 1,368 people – 77 of whom engaged in the post and 10 shared the post with others.

Twitter is not a social media outlet I have used often, because the majority of our patrons tend to respond well to Facebook, we tend to focus our efforts there. I can see where it could be useful as we attempt to grow our number of younger patrons.

Social Media Review

I worked on social media last week, so I wanted to write a post about what the week was like. Starting out, I was more comfortable with Twitter because I’ve been using Twitter most of the year for the VTHistoryMA account. The Public History Twitter account is really simple to use because the account follows a lot of people who share public history content. It’s pretty easy to find interesting articles that they’ve shared and then retweet them. It was a little more difficult to create original content, but I think I was able to strike a good balance between retweets and original posts. It turns out that most of my original posts dealt with podcasts, but I think that’s just because it’s what I listen to everyday and because of our class projects. The best advice I can give for the 15 tweets is just to get started early. It isn’t a lot, really, but it definitely helps to get started ASAP so you can find good content over the course of several days instead of retweeting just anything to get your quota.

I struggled more with Facebook. I haven’t been using Facebook as much, and the way that it’s set up lends itself to more substantive/important posts (maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it makes me feel). I had to brainstorm for a while about what kinds of things I could post on Facebook. My first thoughts were “happenings in the history department” which Ellen already does on a weekly basis. The next thought was to go for current event sort of things, like the upcoming the 100th anniversary of the US’s entrance into WWI. I think that post was the most successful – it was informative and timely.

I think social media is all about being consistent: posting consistently and posting consistent content. I haven’t really delved into professional social media other than having a LinkedIn, but it might be something I need to invest my time in over the next year.