Like a Duck to Water: Taking on Social Media at Work

In this day and age, who isn’t on social media be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.? (I happen to be on all three)  I never considered myself to be a social media maven of any kind.  I post the occasional news article, quirky observation, or photos.  I like to take photos.  It was Twitter that really pulled me into social media and trying to understand it.  After all, have you used Twitter? It requires some thought but once you figure it out and how it works for you, you’re golden.

When I interviewed for my current position, one of the first things I did was check out their social media presence.  What were they on?  What were they not on?  Specifically, I checked out their numbers in comparison to their other offices.  The number were solid.  Not two high but not too low.  I remember way in the back of my mind thinking, they could do better.  And, more importantly, I could help them do better.  That was the initial seed that was planted.  I recall during the interview phase discussing with my future boss and coworker about the state of their Facebook page.  We chatted about it a bit.  About their content.  But nothing concrete or Earth-shattering came of it.

Fast forward: I got the job.  A couple of months went by and then my boss approached me about being added as one of the Facebook administrators. With a shrug, I was like, “sure.”  That’s when things changed.  Before, I regarded our Facebook page with mild interest.  Something I would look at occasionally.  Once my name was attached to it, that’s when things changed.  Now I wanted to know exactly what goes on there, how often, when, and what was the response.  More importantly, what we could do to improve that?  Admittedly, I stepped on a few toes during this process.  Apologies were made.  Slowly but surely things started to change.

The voice that I spent years crafting on this site, lent itself perfectly to the Facebook page.  Professional but personable.  I discovered that one big issue I always had with being an archivist is that we, as a profession, do amazing work that requires a variety of skills.  But, all too often we hide in the background.  We want to be invisible.  I’m not advocating for a celebrity-archivist type.  I guess at the heart of it, I’m tired of telling people I’m an archivist and getting a blank stare in return.  If I’m lucky there’s a flicker of word recognition, where I can actually see the person remember hearing that word before.  Time to take down the veil, people.

Tweeking the Facebook page and posting semi-regular content was surprisingly easy.  Easy in the sense of I had a lot of help and it wasn’t too labor intensive.  The number of followers for our page has grown tremendously over the past year and they continue to trend upward.

Sometimes, the thing you don’t expect to like or love to do becomes the thing you like or love to do.  In order to discover the things you like/love to do you have to be open to them…even if they terrify you.  The first time I put up our now, famous Top Ten lists I was terrified.  How would people respond? Would people like it?  You know what happened people liked it.  Sometimes, there has been content put up that didn’t go over so well.  By so well, I mean didn’t garner a lot of interest or attention from followers.  Stuff like that happens and its okay.  IT’S. OKAY.

The world doesn’t end because you don’t deliver pure awesomeness every day.  Sometimes, you have an off day or an off idea.  That’s when you shrug it off and keep it moving.

I enjoy what I do so much that I’m exploring other social media platforms to push our content.  Even if it ultimately won’t work for us, content-wise, I’m excited about learning.  It’s fun as a post-graduate student to learn stuff again (okay, my nerdiness is starting to show).    Don’t be afraid to try new things, kiddos.  You never know what you’ll end up loving. (Except processing…still don’t enjoy that bit, haha.)



About Ashley S

I'm an archivist!
This entry was posted in Archives, History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Like a Duck to Water: Taking on Social Media at Work

  1. Pingback: Exchange of information and sharing of concerns | NixoNARA

  2. Ethel says:

    Where can I find your top ten list?

    • Ashley S says:

      Hi Ethel, if you were directed here from the AASLH page, the top ten list I referred to was content on the National Archives at Philadelphia’s Facebook page ( Please note: I no longer work there as of March 2015. The top ten lists, in general, were quick facts we thought people should know about our services or record collections. For example, we created a top ten list for naturalization records which touched on how to search them in our records, what we had (which states and date ranges, as well as our services. I hope that helps!

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