Tag Archives: Social Media

Social Media Outside of the Classroom

As the graduate intern for social media, I’ve been teaching social media workshops for Penn students, faculty, and staff at the Weigle Information Commons for over two years now. When I first started, it still was not clear what the purpose of social media was in the classroom or in academic life for that matter. However, more and more people are now buying into the idea of personal/professional branding and using social media platforms as learning tools.

In the last two years, we have all noted the rise of social media usage and how the lines between personal, professional, and useful are blurring. With the close of election 2016, the beginning of 2017, and the resurgence of using social media to organize in-person gatherings and protests, there is absolutely no doubt that social media will continue to rise in importance for college-age Americans and those who serve them as educators, mentors, colleagues, and support staff.

Here at the Penn Libraries, January has been an exciting time. On Saturday, the 14th, a hundred or so librarians, scientists, coders, hackers, and interested parties gathered to scrape data from NOAA.gov and other websites prior to the new administration potentially removing it from those sites. In addition, we have a series of workshops on identifying and avoiding “Fake News.” Individually, neither of these events is about “social media” in the way that my social media workshops are, but they are inherently linked to how undergraduate, graduate, and professional students use social media in their everyday lives on-and-off campus, in-and-out of the classroom.

Fake news is often perpetuated through news feeds on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. In addition, accessing real news, and learning about real “threats” such as losing valuable information about climate change or other public scientific data, also occurs on social media sites. Most of us access our news digitally and many of us access our news on social media platforms.

For many years, I’ve heard concerns from older generations that millennials and younger generations consume news and “real information” differently and perhaps less intentionally. This quote from the Media Insight Project’s study on how millennials get their news is illuminating:

The worry is that Millennials’ awareness of the world, as a result, is narrow, their discovery of events is incidental and passive, and that news is just one of many random elements in a social feed.

This has been the concern of older generations of educators since I started working professionally with social media in college in 2010 and continues through to today. From my experience, students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels are very concerned that they are accessing and publishing the right information. There is a lot of social anxiety around what our brands look like online and building those brands requires a certain level of familiarity and comfort with using social media. For intellectual spaces like Penn, it also means that there is growing concern among active users of social media that their intellectual growth and learning empowers them to understand what they read and take action on it. Here are some of that 2014 study’s findings about how millennials consume news:

  • While Millennials are highly equipped, it is not true they are constantly connected. More than 90 percent of adults age 18-34 surveyed own smartphones, and half own tablets. But only half (51 percent) say they are online most or all of the day.

  • Email is the most common digital activity, but news is a significant part of the online lives of Millennials, as well. Fully 69 percent report getting news at least once a day — 40 percent several times a day.

  • Millennials acquire news for many reasons, which include a fairly even mix of civic motivations (74 percent), problem-solving needs (63 percent), and social factors (67 percent) such as talking about it with friends.

As we look forward into this new year, I plan to attend as many workshops and teach as many workshops as possible about how to continue to be a responsible consumer of media. Keep the Penn Weigle Information Commons and the Penn Libraries’ programming sites bookmarked as these are themes that we continue to explore as a university and a community.

If you’re interested attending our ongoing workshops relating to media consumption, digital, and social media, here are a few:

(Jan. 30) Shoddy News

(Feb. 8) Creating Meaningful Graphics

(Feb. 15) Creating Video Presentations

Why Social Media?

Why social media at Penn? Social media at Penn and in college, graduate school, and in the professional world is not about scrubbing all traces of who you are off the internet. It’s about creating content that you are “sincerely” passionate about engaging with and making connections online that will lead to IRL experiences like your next research project, a career, a new friend, or an amazing conference experience.

I’ve now had this conversation countless times. As the Saturday consultant at the Weigle Information Commons, I’ve taught social media workshops at the Penn Libraries for two years now. Now and then, I publish a blog post on a particular social platform or tool. Every few months, a friend, a patron, a colleague, or a stranger asks about my work with social media and says, “Oh, I should really do more online!”

Continue reading Why Social Media?

Managing Social Media at the Commons


michelle joMichelle Bookyung Jo is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying communication. In this post, she shares her experiences working at Weigle Information Commons as a Social Media Manager and discusses our strategies for actively engaging the Penn community.

I have always known that Weigle Information Commons has a lot going on, on top of the study booths and group study rooms students reserve throughout the semester. Working as a social media student worker at WIC for the past academic year, I not only learned more about what WIC is but also gained important hands-on experiences managing social media accounts to connect with WIC’s audience.

WIC has various online channels through which it reaches the Penn community. It has its own Twitter and Instagram account and also contributes to the Penn Libraries social media channels: @upennlib on Twitter, InstagramFacebook; pennlibraries on Youtube; and University of Pennsylvania Libraries on Flickr. Focusing on Twitter and Instagram, I got to see who WIC connects with and what WIC is for the Penn community.

My most basic job responsibility was scheduling tweets for WIC’s weekly workshops, but I explored more ways to leverage social media channels and use Twitter as a way to promote WIC as a resource for everyone. Some weeks I focused on updating the audience about various types of digital support WIC offers including digital device rentals. Some other weeks, I focused on major upcoming events in WIC such as the Engaging Students through Technology Symposium and Diversi-Tea sessions. More importantly, trying to see WIC’s social media presence from an undergraduate student’s perspective, I tried to make the social media channels as current as possible, posting pictures of workshops and any ongoing events at WIC.

The most challenging part of my job was to make sure that our content reaches not just Penn faculty but Penn students as well. We understand that following many subsidiary accounts within the University may not be as appealing as following the main “uofpenn” account, but I still wanted to make sure that there will be content for students should they find us interesting and look for more. Such an effort was mostly made on WIC’s Instagram account, and it has been a channel where I post more up-to-date content about WIC.

As an undergraduate student worker, I realized that there is a lot going on at WIC. I would like to invite fellow undergraduate students to know that any digital or technology-related support is available at WIC and encourage everyone to check our blog and social media channels from time to time.

Social Media at the Commons: Facebook

Hi, there! I’m Jaime and I’ve been consulting/interning here at the Commons since 2014. My personal passion is helping students, staff, and faculty learn how to connect their personal and professional brands online by engaging with others on social media. This past Saturday, I worked with two long-time patrons dedicated to getting their social media game on point. Kemuel Benyehudah and Sandra Andino have been coming to the Commons since November 2015 to work on maximizing the effectiveness of their public Facebook accounts.

Continue reading Social Media at the Commons: Facebook

Instagram, Vine, & Snapchat: Storytelling Through Social Media

The power of a compelling narrative has always been an easy draw for me, particularly in the travel narratives of others. Wanderlust piques my interest, but the story captures my attention, and I’m not alone. Narratives and storytelling are fundamental to human experience. Doris Lessing writes, “A story is how we construct our experiences,” and as products of an increasingly digital world, this sense of construction is nowhere more tangible than in our engagement with social media.

Each time we post, tweet, or snap to impart information to others,  we also contribute to and shape the narratives of our lives. In turn, our followers interpret, engage with, and respond to what we’ve shared. As an information student, I am especially focused on the information habits of others: how do other people interpret information, and, consequently, which methods are best to reach the widest audience?

This past summer, I wanted to share my own travel stories easily and instantaneously with family and friends. Before and during my travels, I wondered how best to translate these experiences for others beyond a photo album or the occasional post of media on Facebook.

So I investigated and considered the storytelling capabilities of three social media apps: Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat.

Collage of Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat Logos

Instagram‘s optional filters and simple editing tools enable users to design a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing narrative. Its accessible interface fuels creativity in its users, and interesting angles, unusual subjects, and attention to details are all hallmarks of Instagram’s most attention-grabbing photos and videos. Videos may last from 3 to 15 seconds, providing for a momentary glimpse into the user’s experiences. I also found the add a location feature helpful to connect with other users, who also linked their posts to my location. In this way, our media becomes a collaborative effort in sharing our diverse perceptions of the landmarks we encountered.

Twitter’s Vine is the app I used least during my travels. Vine videos last approximately 6.5 seconds long and usually require some preparation beforehand, which is not often an option for the on-the-go traveler. However, this length is ideal for followers, who can review posts with ease while scrolling through their feed. Vine also offers little in terms of editing, but the initial planning required before recording combined with the time constraint, challenges Vine users to be innovative in their design. The products are often highly addictive and hilarious, and because they are experienced at lightning speed, it is much too easy to get lost in the Vine vortex.

I had initial reservations about Snapchat. Mostly because many of my friends use it almost exclusively to exchange hilarious selfies. I  mean, have you seen the rainbow mouth feature?! Yet, I soon realized that posts on Snapchat or snaps introduce a temporal element in a way that Instagram and Vine posts do not. Videos sent directly to followers may last 10 seconds at the most, and once viewed, they disappear. Users may also post their snaps continuously over the course of 24 hours to be compiled in the “my story” feature. These, too, will disappear after a 24 hour period. This ephemeral in-the-moment quality demands that your viewers follow your stories closely and nearly contemporaneously. But fear not! Users may save their snaps to their device for later viewing. Snapchat’s editing features are less extensive than those of Instagram, but in some ways, the shakiness of the camera and the background noise provide for a more authentic narrative.

Instagram, Vine, Snapchat Infographic
Created with Piktochart!

What do you think? How do you share your stories?

 

Interview with Audrey Harnagel

 smile-1Audrey Harnagel, rising Penn senior, recently completed the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program.
As we enter summer, we would like to acknowledge some of the incredible collaborations we’ve had with students this year. Today we’re delving into the work of Audrey Harnegel, a rising senior at Penn, who works in multiple disciplines and was a fellow in this year’s Hoesley Digital Literacy program. This program is designed for students who may not be familiar with technology topics such as Graphic Design and Visual Literacy, Web Design, Spreadsheets and Excel. The library staff who collaborate with students in this program focus on building confidence, providing learning strategies, and encouraging creative exploration of software and technologies commonly used in the workplace. Comfort and confidence with, and a strong foundation in technology skills can provide a valuable edge in many job and internship searches. Audrey was kind enough to answer a few questions about her experiences with Hoesley program activities below: