Time, Education, Design, and Social Media

Happy Friday! And it is a super-happy Friday on campus because classes are over and once we survive finals week (next week), we have holiday break! That is definitely cause for celebration. So in honor of surviving yet another quarter, let’s talk about time, education, design, and social media.

One seemingly cannot escape hearing about social media and social media marketing on a daily basis. WebWorkerDaily had a great article discussing How much time does social media marketing take? The answer is, of course, it depends on what you are doing and what you want to accomplish. I highly recommend keeping the graphics from this article on hand to explain social media marketing the next time someone brings it up in a meeting. It’s a nice graphic and it reminds people that, while you might not have to “pay” for accounts on a lot of social media sites, you have to invest time.

This discussion of social media marketing brings up another issue that I hear about a lot from my colleagues: how to learn to use social media. I don’t think I’ve quite gotten across the idea that one can’t just read about social media or take a course to understand how to use social media effectively in a library or academic setting. (I also have yet to convince some people that they shouldn’t wait for a journal article to tell you how to use social media; at that point it’s a little late. Go to the blogs and Twitter and everything will be okay.) It’s like trying to explain Twitter–doesn’t really make sense until you sign up and start tweeting with other people.

Design, like understanding social media, is learned by doing and not just reading about it (although studying successful examples is always a good thing too). It’s like archival processing. I can talk to you until my voice gives out about the standards and protocols for processing a collection, but you’ll only be able to truly understand once I sit you down with an unprocessed collection and let you muddle around for a bit. The lovely, tidy picture of archival processing that is written in the textbooks is nothing like the messy, sometimes moldy, collections you encounter in the archives. In all three cases, practice might not make perfect but it is the way you’ll actually be able to do anything useful with what you’ve read.

On that note, there have been some rather excellent posts and discussions lately on education and the necessity of higher education in particular. (But we are not, dear reader, going to contribute more to the messy dialog about the need for graduate level education in library and archival science. At least, not today.) I obviously believe in the value and importance of higher education since I work in academia. But I don’t believe that higher education is the only path, or even the best path, to take for acquiring knowledge in every instance. I find it especially interesting to read about what other people think about the necessity of higher education for careers in emerging and creative fields. I highly recommend this read on Design and Education, if nothing else, you should enjoy the clean design of the website and Harry’s lovely portfolio of work. Also, if you are interested in the process of design, I suggest reading the messiness of design. And when you get to actual design time for your website, check out what your web design says about you. Isn’t design fun?

I guess all I’m really trying to say is don’t be afraid of wandering a bit on your own and muddling through learning new things. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to learn about web design and social media marketing when there are so many awesome people online who share their work and expertise because sharing ideas generates more ideas (as yesterday’s This is Indexed showed us). So get out there and learn something new. Then be nice and share your knowledge and experience with others.

To end, we must have a video. Because Season 5 of the new Doctor Who is out on DVD (and I finally got to watch the first episodes), we need to end with the Doctor. This video is slightly spoiler-y for episode 1, so you have been warned. Enjoy some of the Doctor’s awesomeness.

Have a wonderful rest of your day and relaxing weekend. Don’t get too caught up in the holiday madness–save some time for reading. I’ll be back next week with more fun things to share.