Presentation Outline

Social Media Background

(Online) Community Research

Future Directions

MSU Social Media Survey, Fall 2013

“If [social site] can help cultivate a brand that expands beyond books, students may discover that the library is more relevant and approachable than previously perceived, and a valued part of their personal networks.” 

Phillips, 2011

Digital Dualism

An interrogation of the discourses that draw sharp boundaries  between the ‘online’ and the ‘offline’ world. 

Particularly those discourses that      "deploy a moralistic argument claiming what occurs ‘in real life’ is inherently more social, substantive, significant, and healthy than what occurs in ‘the virtual world.’"

Geiger, 2014



“Be Interesting, Be Interested.”

Glazer, 2012


Research Question

How is community formed?

Community Analysis


Action-Object Mapping

User Type Data

Interaction Analysis


Focus Groups

Survey Data

Group 1

Automated Tweet content 

Low responsiveness 

No dedicated personnel 

No programmatic approach

Twitter as a broadcast platform

Action-Object Mapping

Group 1 Median Interaction Rate 


Group 2

Original and unique content 

High responsiveness 

Dedicated personnel 

Programmatic approach

Twitter as an interactive platform

Group 2 Median Interaction Rate 


Interaction Rate Increase 

Group 1 → Group 


Group 1 → Group 2

Strategic Social Media Program

Social Media Plan

Realize mission of the university

Build and engage community

MSU Library Social Media Guide

  1. Audience Focus 
  2. Goal
  3. Values 
  4. Tone and Tenor 
  5. Activity Focus 
  6. Posting Frequency 
  7. Posting Categories
  8. Posting Personnel 
  9. Assessment

Audience Focus

Undergraduate and graduate students

Other MSU units/departments

Library and information professionals and organizations


Build an (online) community 

Form partnerships 

Engage and connect 

Increase awareness 





Activity Focus, Tone and Tenor

Information sharing

Social interaction

Welcoming, warm, cheerful, energetic tone

Posting Frequency

 Post daily at minimum

Regular monitoring of subsequent interactions

No automatic posting


Quantitative Data

Qualitative Data

"Organizations are sort of notoriously bland on their social media accounts, because everything you say represents the entire organization and it’s very hard to be edgy or funny when you have the organization’s face attached to it."

-Student focus group feedback

“On Facebook I think of it much more as a community, because it’s more   interactive and personal that way. Twitter for me is more receiving information. It doesn’t feel community-based, more networked-based.”

- Student Focus Group

 “. . . a Twitter account that was more than just updating you on events, but that was more inviting you in and creating that community.”

 - Student focus group feedback

"I never expected to have established personal connections with people on Tumblr, but I ended up doing it. That was pretty cool."

- Student focus group feedback

“If you have a Twitter account, you have to give people a reason to follow you. I think a lot of entities at MSU don’t understand that. The library does an awesome job. You guys give people a reason to follow you. You’re responsive. You’re clever. Interesting. And it’s not just event updates. And I’m serious. I really admire all of the social media at the library.”

— Student Focus Group

Anthropomorphic Library

Q: How important is the idea of personality for social media? 

A: It’s essential. 

A: It’s huge. Which again, I think, coming back to campus and coming back to the library, the library and the Rocky G has personality, and that’s why people follow it.

- Student focus group feedback

Social Media at the MSU Library

Group 1 → Group 2

New content 

New interactions 

New connections 

New community 

New value for the library?

Future Directions

“Social Network Sites have the potential to serve as a medium for meaningful support . . . in students’ lives”

Gray, Vitak, Easton & Ellison, 2013

“Institutional Involvement is related to degree completion, because a student who is committed to the institution is likely to persist in that environment.” 

Brown & Burdsal, 2012

Campus-scale social media

"Social media creates new opportunities for classroom instruction, especially for enhancing student interaction and engagement beyond the formal learning environment."

Joosten, 2013

"Twitter proved to be an effective way to engage students in experiential learning by applying course material in a social media setting."

Rinaldo, Tapp, & Laverie, 2011

"Using Twitter in educationally relevant ways can increase student engagement and improve grades."

Junco, Heibergert, & Loken, 2011

"Because many social media tools are not institutional enterprise systems, 
educators are concerned about using them."

Joosten, 2012

"Organizations and institutions need to consider how social media guidance and usage can impact instructional, research, administrative, and
other functions on campus."

Joosten, 2013

Advancing the research question

How do libraries contribute 

to student success?

Social Media  Community

Community  Student Success

Emerging Hypothesis 

Social Media  Student Success


Scott Young 

Doralyn Rossmann

CNI 2014

By Scott W. H. Young