Sarah Werner has posted the slides, notes, and audio from her recent talk at Rare Book School, “How to Destroy Special Collections with Social Media in 3 Easy Steps: A Guide for Researchers and Librarians.” After pointing out that many special collections are engaging in outreach via social media, Werner lays out, step-by-step, how to frustrate users and “destroy special collections.” The steps:
Step 1: Keep those images locked up tight.
Step 2: Treat everything from the past as a joke and pretty picture.
Step 3: Only count things that can be counted.
In between each of the humorous steps, Werner gave examples of the evils she warns against, and demonstrates how this type of Special Collections social media usage can stifle research and perpetuate misunderstandings. She closes with three steps to “help special collections grow by using social media”:
1) Digitize with open access licensing and easy-to-use platforms; 2) Teach your audience to think about the past instead of laughing at the past; 3) Choose your aims carefully and don’t confuse popularity with engagement.