by Chris Zammarelli, Washington DC Chapter, Government Information & Taxonomy Divisions
My place of work recently announced that we will be having mandatory social media training. Because so many of the people we are trying to reach out to are heavily engaged in social media, it is important for us to understand what they are using and how we can use it to forward our mission.
Traditionally, I’m not someone who says anyone has to use a particular something. Nothing makes a wary person more averse that saying, “If you’re not using this, you’re not ready for the future” or words to that effect. I know it makes my skin crawl.
But enough of our clientele are using social media that by not using it ourselves, we are making ourselves invisible to them. For those of us who do any sort of outreach work, social media are a part of our jobs now. Learning about social media is as important as, say, learning how to use Outlook.
And I think that’s a way to present this to anyone who is reluctant. Social media are just another type of software in our workplace, like accounting software or integrated library systems. I wouldn’t suspect everyone who takes the social media training to become tweeters to rival Amanda Palmer or Kanye West. Social media might just be tools that a lot of people use at work and then don’t think about after they leave the office at the end of the day.
I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to social media, and I could complain that I have to take the training too. But while I know how I use social media, I don’t necessarily know how our clientele is using it. That’s something we need to keep in mind moving forward: if using this stuff is going to be a part of our jobs from now on, then it is also part of our job to know how it’s being used.
Chris Zammarelli is a contract cataloger on behalf of ATSG at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs’ Office of Information Resources. He is also a 2011 candidate for the SLA Board of Directors. Follow him on Twitter @cmz1018.