The heritage preservation and conservation field seems to have thoroughly embraced social media, perhaps in part because we are a group widely dispersed around the country (and the world). Given the number of conservation labs and preservation departments with just a few staff members, being able to interact with an online, virtual community of preservation and conservation professionals becomes critical not only to professional growth, but also to the cohesiveness and shared knowledge base of the field.
When the Preservation Department started this blog (as well as its Facebook page and Twitter feed) over a year ago, Iowa State University Library did not have a defined social media policy. I’m currently chairing the Social Media Working Group at ISU Library, which has pulled members from several different Library departments, some of which use social media and some of which do not. We’re just polishing up the final draft of our report and recommendations for Library social media guidelines. Our hope is that social media activities within the Library will be better integrated, so different departments can support and promote one another rather than operating in isolation.
I’m interested to hear from our readers about your professional social media activities and interactions. Are you a student, a private conservator, an institutional conservator, or a preservation professional? Do you maintain a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed about your preservation studies or professional activities? If you work at an institution, is there a social media policy in place that governs your activity? Do you have internal support from your institution for blogging, or do you use an external blog hosting platform (like WordPress or Blogger)? Is your target audience other professionals, lay persons, or both? In what ways has social media served as an effective professional tool for you?
Let us know about your experiences in the comments section!