An Analysis of Twitter and Facebook Use by the Archival Community
This paper discusses how the archival community is using social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook as outreach tools. The study analyzes the usage patterns of 195 individual and institutional users over a thirty-two-day period during the summer of 2009. By focusing on the 2,926 outbound links posted to the services during the period, the author shows that use is dramatically different between the three test groups: archival organizations using Facebook, archival organizations using Twitter, and archivists using Twitter. The study shows that archival organizations overwhelmingly use the services to promote content they have created themselves, whereas archivists promote information they find useful. In all cases, more frequent posting did not correlate to a larger audience. By examining how others have applied social networking, archivists and archival organizations can determine a social media outreach platform that is suitable to their institutional needs. This study may serve as a starting point toward a greater understanding of outreach in the digital age.