Creating a Listening Post for your Blog (Part 2: Social Media)

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Image credit: Ambrozjo @ sxc.hu

In the first part of this series of creating a listening post for your blog, I covered RSS feeds, and the use of an RSS reader, such as Feedly, to collect and organize your RSS feeds in one place. RSS is advanced at this point in the Web 2.0 world that you can even create your own feeds from just about any URL using online apps like Feed Dude!

But RSS is a passive form of keeping one’s ear to the ground and listening to what the community is saying. A more active form of industry eavesdropping is to set up social media, and the added benefit is immediate communication with the messenger of the information. You can usually comment or reply to the information that you are watching in real-time.

Twitter is, of course, the most widely used social media platform for disseminating information in quick bursts. Creating a Twitter account instantly provides you a news feed of all the tweets that your friends are sending out. All you have to do is invest the time to find friends to follow. For the Library Currents Twitter page, I followed a long list of libraries, librarians and LIS professionals who tweet out important news and information. If there is anything that I need clarification on or more information about, I just have to reply to the originator of the Tweet! These conversations go both ways: I have set the Library Currents project blog to tweet out an announcement of all new posts and articles. Interested followers are able to start a conversation by replying to my announcement or retweeting the announcement to their own followers. Now that is going viral!

The Library Currents Twitter News Feed (formerly my personal Twitter account)

By following only those Twitter users who are in the areas that I want to know more about, I am creating a listening post that, like RSS, keeps me updated without having to return to the site every day. The bonus feature is the ensuing conversations that erupt from sharing information.

Like Twitter, Facebook also allows the conversation to emerge.  With Facebook, you can set-up a fan page for your blog separate from your personal page, which is what I did with Library Currents. Using IFTTT, I also have my blog posts announced on my Facebook timeline (more on IFTTT in a future post). But how can I set up Facebook to be a listening post like Twitter?

The answer is simple! The key is to use Facebook as your fan page (Library Currents, for example), and like pages while under your fan page moniker. You can subscribe to personal pages and individuals, too. The following is a random sample of some of the Facebook pages that I am following as “Library Currents”:

The Library Currents Facebook Fan Page News Feed

Once you have liked a few pages while using Facebook as your fan page moniker, click on the HOME link. Voila! Your feed now reflects the news of the pages you have liked! This feed will always display different news than your personal page.

The beauty of the Facebook news feed is that you can like posts, comment, and share them all at once. This immediate feedback includes conversations with your friends and followers, which is important for developing a web presence.

Additionally, using Facebook’s and Twitter’s search tools for your keywords will usually deliver results for organizations that you would normally not know about. Some of these pages don’t even have traditional blogs, but have a strong Facebook or Twitter presence!

For Facebook, you can double the impact of your news feed by joining various Facebook groups in your topic of study. Unlike Facebook pages, where one person or one organization controls the content, in Facebook groups the members drive the conversation. I think the future of Facebook is in Facebook groups, as individuals realize that the power of their singular voice can be amplified.

The same news feed processes can be found in most social networking sites, whether it is Pinterest, Instagram or Google Plus. The key is following or friending other users and checking back in with your news feed. With the advent of technology, soon you should be able to check all your social networking feeds in one place!

Next up: A Rundown of the Planning Phase and what’s to come!

Was this post helpful? Is there anything you could add or questions you might have? Please provide a comment below!

Series Navigation<< Creating a Listening Post for your Blog (Part 1: RSS)A Rundown of the Planning Phase of the Library Currents blog >>
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Mickel is an MLIS and the creator of Library Currents. His inspiration for the blog was the SJSU course "The Hyperlinked Library" taught by Dr. Michael Stephens, a course that is also a worldwide MOOC. If you wish to contact him, feel free to write to Mickel Paris at librarycurrents1@aol.com.

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