Demographics

While we do not have the luck to be privy to the stats the Seattle Public Library have on their social networking visitor traffic, the value of such information cannot be understated.  The library, among others worldwide, most certainly must supply their respective communities with data indicating where their finances are directed and what results they bring in, given that they are publicly financed.  With this in mind, and the fact that not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or lesser-known social networking sites, it is not possible to use social networking demographic data to make broad generalizations about the patron community.

As someone who has had a Facebook fan page for a long time, I can tell you what the insider data reveals and thus what the Seattle Public Library is able to detect.  From public view, we can immediately see which kinds of questions attract popular responses by audience members indicating they “Like” something, and then what they say in response to it.  From the public side, we can also see the dates by which these reactions were recorded.  However, from the Admin’s view, we can see charts of the growth of membership in terms of how many people joined by particular date (once 30 members have joined), how many visitors came each day (broken down into visited pages and “unique page visits,” which means not the number of pages or times the page was entered, but how many individuals entered), the country of listed residence of the member, the age and sex of the visitor, how many people “Like”d the page, the amount of comments per posting, and a quality of response measure coming from a relatively complicated formula (it is difficult to find an exact standard by which this number is measured, but it appears to be related to percentage of members who have commented, rather than absolute numbers).

There are some techniques as to how you can get better results on your page.  Among the plethora of how-tos, this one stood out from my recent memory: Successful Facebook Pages, as well as one that we covered in our LIBR500 course, from The Other Librarian.  It looks like Seattle is doing quite well on all regards, given the high number of members and overall response from the public.

It appears that the library is just now getting started on a Twitter page (SeattleLibrary), but there are lots of people who talk about the library there, including a few of these:

Twitter Adventures in Library 2.0

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