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Social Media for Beginners Event (May 2013)

National Museum Wales
It is said that the average blog reader stays only 96 seconds per blog, if true I had better make this snappy !
At the National Museum of Wales on 24th May we held a CLIC event with speakers Sarah Nicholas, Gemma Southgate and Kristine Chapman explaining and discussing the wonderful world of Social Media for beginners.
Sarah Nicholas, from Cardiff University introduced first “The who, what, where, when and why of social media”, by inviting the group to talk about our own interests, to practise doing offline what we can also do online! With the opportunity to discuss the numerous social media tools available; which ones we use, have heard about, others we have not heard about! All to illustrate that social media is for anyone; everyone can have a voice. It can be used for a range of many different things for personal and professional as it can be utilised to build friendships and networks.
Often it is the case that we think, ‘must use social media..’ and we forget we should always focus on the task and not the tool. The message is the important part, not just how we communicate it, and if we remember that we can use it appropriately when and where.
Social Media tip no.1 – It has to interest you or you will not be motivated to use it.
Gemma Southgate
So feeling a bit more confident we advanced into the world of “Blogging: creating good content”. Guided by Gemma Southgate, Cardiff University we looked at a basic ‘how to’ of getting started – creating a blog by choosing a platform to use and then using a check list for things to remember, for example, including links to videos or other social media tools like Twitter, asking questions to encourage conversations and checking for typos!! Gemma proudly claims that “blogging has completely changed her life”, so if you are feeling inspired check out:
Cardiff School of Art & Design http://cardiff-school-of-art-and-design.org/library/  
Cardiff University Libraries http://blogs.cf.ac.uk/library/
Social Media tip no.2 - Be comfortable with the content you are creating.

Gemma Southgate & Kristine Chapman

To tweet or not to tweet? was ably explained by Kristine Chapman (National Museum Wales) in her “An introduction to Twitter”. Many of us have misgivings about Twitter but as with any of the social media tools, it is what you make of it and with Kristine’s guide on the practicalities of how to begin we can all at least try!! Twitter is a conversation, a public conversation and can be interesting, helpful and funny; hopefully you can ask questions and get answers. With the reassurance that yes, it is OK to first just follow when you start or “lurk”, remember to then be brave or reweet then Tweet!
Kristine included useful advice on using hashtags # to classify your tweets (that is why we librarians like it!) how to reply so everyone sees your tweet and not just those following you and the person you are replying to, using Direct Messages (DM) and shortening urls to use links. Yes you can tweet using your job title or your name, but usual advice seems to be to be informal and have a good picture. Kristine also advised on using lists to help manage your tweets and how to favourite or bookmark when you find something good!
Social Media tip no.3 – Remember you are having a public conversation!
After a very informative and lively morning we were treated to an insight to the ‘Shirley Jones: 30 years of the Red Hen Press’ exhibition, by John Kenyon, Head Librarian of the National Museum Wales. http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/rhagor/article/shirley_jones/
For Social Media advice check out a Social Media Surgery http://socialmediasurgery.com/surgeries
Just to say a big thank you to all our speakers for contributing to this event and to Nicky Getgood and baby from Canton Social Media Surgeries, for attending this event and letting us know what goes on at a SMS.

Rebecca Evans (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

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