Graham Walton, Editor of New Review of Academic Librarianship, recently appointed a social media editor for the journal. We caught up with Claire Sewell to find out more about her new role. How did she become a social media editor? Why did the journal decide to launch social media pages? And what will she be posting about in her new role? Read on to find out.
Q&A with Claire Sewell, Social Media Editor, New Review of Academic Librarianship
How did you become the social media editor for the journal?
I was lucky enough to be recommended for the role by someone already on the editorial board. For my postgraduate dissertation I researched the impact of social media marketing in academic libraries, and it has always been a professional interest of mine. I’ve managed the social media presence of other groups before, so it was something I had experience of and I was anxious to take this further. I’ve recently moved to a role within the Scholarly Communication department at Cambridge, so I’m taking a more in-depth interest in the journal publication process. All of these factors came together at the right time when the journal was looking for a social media editor, and the rest is history!
Why did the journal decide to launch social media pages?
It’s no longer the case that having a social media presence is an added luxury for a company. People will look for you online and you are responsible for being in control of your online identity. We wanted to reach out to both our existing audience as well as connect with a new one, and social media is an obvious place to do this. One of the main benefits of using tools like Twitter is that you can take the conversation to your audience rather than relying on them to come to you. We’re keen to talk to people who read the journal, are interested in publishing something, or just want to learn more about the process. Hopefully by having a presence on social media we can start these conversations and involve as many people as possible.
What sort of social media presence existed for the journal when you first started out in your role, and how will you establish what the priorities will be in your first few weeks?
The social media presence was almost a blank slate. We had a Twitter account, but it had been dormant for a few months, and there were some issues to address (such as improving the user name). Since the Twitter account already existed, I decided that resurrecting this should be the first priority. I also felt quite strongly that Twitter was somewhere the journal should have a presence, since many members of our intended audience of information professionals are active on it. In addition to this, I wanted to establish a strategy that would fit in with the audience for the journal and open up opportunities for discussion, at the same time as thinking about what was practical. As a result, I decided that I would start by creating a presence on three networks: Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. These are all established social spaces which attract slightly different audiences, and therefore offer us different benefits. I’m hoping that by using these networks, we will reach as many followers as possible from our target groups. This will help to draw the web presence of the journal together and share content in a professional way.
What type of material do you anticipate posting about?
We will obviously feature the types of material you would expect a journal to post about: calls for papers, notifications of new issues and so on. We also make one article from every issue available via Open Access, so we will be promoting this to our followers. Beyond this, I want to expand our remit a bit and demystify the publication process and what goes into producing the journal. Given the current emphasis on the importance of scholarly communication in the information world, I think there are many misconceptions about what we do and I want to talk about these. I hope to talk about who we are as a committee, our individual roles, what goes on at meetings and how we plan things. Hopefully this will encourage people to see that academic publishing is not so scary and lead to them getting more involved.
Are you hoping to engage with authors on your social media pages? What would you like to find out from them?
Engaging with authors would be fantastic! We want to hear about the issues that are important to people so we know that we are covering the topics that people want to read about. The journal needs to maintain its relevance for readers, and part of this is engaging in a dialogue with them. I’d like to find out what people think we should be covering, who we should be talking to, and how we should take the journal forward. Hopefully having this discussion in an open setting will allow others to view it and encourage them to contribute as well.
How will you measure the success of your social media pages? Do you have a target you’re aiming to reach?
I try not to think about impact too much in terms of numbers, but rather the levels of engagement we get from our followers and the wider community. By looking beyond the numbers I hope to build up a picture of the impact we are having on the community in a more comprehensive way. Social media is not meant to be a one way communication channel, so I’ll be looking to see the types of interaction we are getting from people. If we are getting people to talk to us and about us then we must be doing something right!
How do you think the social media editor and editor-in-chief will work together?
We keep in close contact to make sure that the other is updated about what is happening. Obviously I’m quite new at this, whilst our editor-in-chief Graham is more experienced, so it is great to have him (and everyone else) as a sounding board when I have a question. Hopefully we will be able to define more of our relationship as we move forward, and I’m thinking of it very much as a learning experience. The regular contact is also quite motivating for me as it helps me to feel less isolated which can happen when physically separate from the rest of the team.
Check out the social media pages for New Review of Academic Librarianship: