The Realities of Social Media

With one semester as the Rice Library’s social media intern under my belt, I think it necessary to divulge what I have learned.

Books are cool, okay?

As a youth I enjoyed books but the obsession whittled away quickly upon entering High School. Working at the library the last few months reignited that flame. I have spent hours wandering through the aisles, an act that tempted my curiosity to no end. It became impossible to walk past books holding the mysteries of foreign lands, the conspiracies of political dynasties, the magic of poetic rhythm, and NOT pick them up. I am very thankful to the library for pulling me back into the world of information; where words from a computer screen plant themselves rather poorly inside my brain, the literature from a book is deeply rooted, ready for plucking at a moment’s notice.

I am also thankful for the humbling qualities of the library. I was embarrassingly unaware of the world until I was in a position to witness the multitude of its subjects: thousands of books detailing material that had remained foreign to me all my life. Although I do not confess to have gained a perceptive knowledge of every subject that inhabits our library, I can declare that I am at least aware.

SHHHH!

My preconceived notions about working in a library had not come from research, and had no factual support whatsoever. I had plucked scenes from movies and television programs, children’s books, and those awful motivational posters that teachers buy. These portray the librarian as a tight-bunned, bony-fingered prude that loses her cool at the slightest raise of voice. Taking that information, I molded my idea of what a 21st century librarian is. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As shocking as it may seem, a librarian’s primary job is not re-shelving books. It is a job that includes a multitude of duties, ranging from teaching instructional classes to literally everything else. They have a working knowledge on every resource the library has to offer, armed to aid any student that approaches with inquiry. Also librarians are an extremely cordial people, and most don’t even wear glasses… take THAT stereotypes.

Another element I found rather surprising is the amount of resources available to the student at the Rice Library. This wouldn’t have been as much as a shock had I not already been a student here for two years. Photoshop, movies, music, a literal wall of magazines, interlibrary loan, charging stations, iPad, and the list goes on and on. After working here for a couple of weeks I mourned the loss of my perceptive ability, for how could I possibly have attended this university for two years and been so blind to the resources so clearly available?

Coffee + Sanity

In third grade my class went on field-trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. The details of that trip elude me except for the following: I had dropped my peanut butter sandwich on the sidewalk of bird-dropping hell and proceeded to engulf the entire thing, and Flamingos are pink from the vast amount of shrimp they consume. The idea that a diet can affect one’s body color was evidently the shock of the century, for I implanted that fact deep into my consciousness. I still think about that today, whenever I am drinking coffee. Waking up at seven every day is a routine that had two years (freshman +sophomore) to disentangle itself from my being. Coffee smoothed the transition, and I continue to drink it because it is the only thing keeping me together at this point. I have yet to notice any change in my body’s color, but I will keep you updated if the vast amount of brown coffee beans I absorb daily initiates any effect to my complexion.

Observations

I have noticed a few patterns whilst dabbling in the social media world that I find a bit interesting. First off, the student body LOVES the 1960s/70s time period, specifically the hippie culture associated with the era. Any time I post a throwback to that period, the response is enormous. For example, a recent picture I posted depicted the Bull Island Music festival, which took place around the Evansville area in 1969 and in no time at all the picture, was retweeted nearly 20 times and favorited even more than that.

I have also been pleasantly surprised by the lack of “grammar Nazis,” as they have come to be called. Although I am an English major, I despise grammar; I respect its effort, but hate its binding qualities. Make no mistake; I think in the most grammatically correct sentences and phrases, but my brain works faster than my fingers do, leading to errors in my work. Luckily, I have yet to have a big slip up, only a few minor faults that librarians Joanne or Ashley, in their infinite wisdom, have quickly corrected, saving me from impending backlash.

Finally, I have found that USI students have a weird obsession with Dave Coulier. Early on in the Fall semester, I edited, rather poorly I might add, a photo to include Full House actor Dave Coulier strolling through the hallways of the library. My goal was to show people that the library has a sense of humor, but what I took as humor, others took as fact. They saw this picture of a 90s Dave Coulier roughly cropped into the Rice Library and lost their cool. People were demanding Dave, coming to the library full of excitement and childhood glee, only to have their spirit broken when informed the reality. I apologize to the multitude of students whose dreams were crushed that autumn afternoon, as well as to the faculty who had to witness the life drain from the hopefuls’ eye’s as they broke the news.

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