We Don’t Pin But We Do Tumble: The Rationale Behind Our Social Media Outreach

Our social media mix. Blue is obviously a favorite of their founders.

Our social media mix. Blue is obviously a favorite of their founders.

It’s become an accepted fact – and has drifted well into trope territory – that everyone is obsessed with social media. Saturated with it. Filtered through it. Even addicted to the point of being unable to sit through an entire meal without checking it. The corollary to this “fact” is that everyone, everywhere should be using every conceivable format to deliver the minutiae of their lives via as many pixel-dependent, wirelessly-delivered vehicles as possible.

I know this to be true because I just used my smart phone to Google quotes about social media that people Tweeted to their followers before reblogging it on their Tumblr accounts, all while Instagramming my morning snack as I listened to Spotify.

Increasingly, we are asked by users, colleagues and random people on the street what kind of social media we’re using, and, more importantly, why? So I thought it might be illuminating to outline what social media/outreach avenues we do use, and address the reasons why we don’t use others.

Blog (hosted by EduBlogs using WordPress)

If you’re reading this post, then you already know we have a blog. But you may be a new reader, or someone who’s always wondered, “Why a blog, exactly?” Simple: a blog allows for longer investigations, deeper reporting and an agile approach to providing context and access for our digital collections. Here on the blog, I can wax poetic about a single item, opine on the state of the industry, or just take a moment to tell you about our latest collections. It’s a multipurpose platform that’s gotten us a fair amount of contact from the general public and from researchers looking into a specific topic.

The blog is great for all of this, but it isn’t our first choice for a “catch-all” execution that would serve as a hub for our social media strategy. That distinction goes to …

Our Facebook page, with a partial cameo by Doris Day.

Our Facebook page, with a partial cameo by Doris Day. If you want to know why she’s there, click over and see!

Facebook (www.facebook.com/baylordigitalcollections)

By now, we’ve all heard the conventional wisdom about Facebook: everybody has one, but at first it was only college students, and then the teenagers came in, and now it’s all people “your mom’s” age, and wow, isn’t that funny? I’m reminded of the old Yogi Berra joke: “Nobody goes there, it’s too crowded.”

The truth is, of course, that Facebook has an enormous global reach, and it serves a wide range of people from high school students through retirees, businesses to non-profits. We use Facebook as an aggregator of our various social media executions: we’ll post links to the blog, a photo of an item from the collections, a link to a colleague’s blog post, anything that might be of interest our 169-and-counting friends. A big advantage for us is the residual exposure we get when a friend shares something on our page, which is seen by their friends, and their friends’ friends, and on and on until every person on the planet has seen it. (This only happens in cases of cat-related memes or recipes for Jalapeno Ranch Dip – JUST LIKE CHUY’s!!!!#!%!$%.)

The header for our Flickr photostream. Click the image to access!

The header for our Flickr photostream. Click the image to access!

Flickr (www.flickr.com/baylordigitalcollections)

Flickr is a pretty straightforward platform that allows users to share photos, either to their friends and family or to the world. It’s been used by large institutions for years to add materials to The Commons, a project that seeks to catalog and describe photos from collections at places like the New York Public Library, the Texas State Archive, the National Archives and more.

We use Flickr to post small sets of images from our collections that we’d like users to find and use in their own creative executions, or to show what an item might look like if it were digitally restored (as opposed to the non-retouched versions that live in our Digital Collections). By far the most-accessed set of images to date is our set of full-plate images from the War of the Rebellion Atlas.

Truett_twitter

The homepage for the @GWTruettSermons page. Click the image to follow us!

Twitter (@GWTruettSermons)

It’s personal confession time: Twitter doesn’t much appeal to me. I mean, I get the instant access to breaking news, and the ability to follow lots of sources for information, but the ability to blurt the latest random thought or retweet someone else’s random thought just doesn’t do much for me. Fortunately, it also isn’t an avenue that lends itself to our strengths as a group, except in the case of the George W. Truett Sermons collection. For that, we did create a Twitter account to deliver twice-weekly snippets of Rev. Truett’s sermons to our small (but growing) base of followers. But until we become a “breaking news” kind of shop, we’ll probably not be launching an official DPG Twitter account any time soon.

Our brand new Tumblr homepage! Click the link to take the fall.

Our brand new Tumblr homepage! Click the link to take the fall.

Tumblr (baylordigitalcollections.tumblr.com)

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve to be rewarded, so here you go: We’ve just launched a new Tumblr blog! You can find it at baylordigitalcollections.tumblr.com, and we’ve chosen to call it Digitized and Randomized. Our vision is to make it a daily source of completely randomized materials from the collection, including photos, quotes, video clips and more.

Tumblr is a “micro-blogging” site that allows users to post bite-sized snippets of information. It bills itself as platform that allows you to “effortlessly share anything,” with a philosophy that focuses on creativity, positivity and geekiness. It’s also loaded with memes. Lots and lots of memes.

Tumblr also tends to skew younger, though it does have an active core of library professionals (dubbed Tumblarians, natch) who post library and archive-related materials, literary trivia and general library nerd-fuel. We are actively hoping to be included on one of the influential lists, like this one.

Someday, we, too hope to be on this list. Help us achieve the goal by following our Tumblr!

Someday, we, too hope to be on this list. Help us achieve the goal by following our Tumblr!

Now, I know what you’re saying: “But Mr. Curator Guy, I don’t want to fire up another account just to see this awesome new outreach tool. Can I follow your Tumblr without signing up for one myself?” Well, Mom, the answer is, “Yes!” Just bookmark the URL as a favorite, or us your RSS reader to follow our feed and you’ll never miss a post. But I’d encourage you to sign up for an account anyway, especially if you like things that are funny. Or related to “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.” Or GIFs.

The Eternal Question: Why Aren’t You On Pinterest?

Another personal confession: my wife has recently become a Pin-Friend. (Or a Pinner. Or a Pinfluential Person, or whatever people who spend increasing amounts of their free time browsing the limitless time-devourer that is Pinterest.) We get asked now and again why we’re not using Pinterest for our digital collections, and the answer is two-fold.

One, it doesn’t play particularly nicely with CONTENTdm, the software that presents our collections online. Not to get too far into technical details, but Pinterest needs a stable source for its image files (i.e., something that ends with .jpg in a URL) to work nicely. That way, people can find it, “pin” it and access it later when they want to see it in its original context. CONTENTdm serves up content as a series of dynamic files that includes image files like Pinterest needs, but it’s not obvious to most people where to find them, and anything that makes using our collections more confusing is not something we’re interested in pursing at this time.

Secondly, we don’t have much in the way of restaurant copycat recipes, cat photos or decorations for themed birthday parties, so it doesn’t really fit with our core content at this time. But who knows? Maybe someday someone will donate the world’s largest collection of Princess Fantasy Birthday Party Idea photos, and Pinterest will make more sense for us.

(You should, however, check out the official Baylor Proud Pinterest page – it’s awesome!)

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We hope you’ll find time to check out all of our social media channels, and engage with us where you feel the most connection. And if you have ideas for how we can make them better, drop us a line at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu. For our Tumblr followers, that’s an email address, and it’s something people used to communicate in the mid-1990s. (Ask your grandparents.)

Hucksters, Elevator Operators and Itinerant Scandinavian Pastors: A Sampling of Tidbits from the Waco City Directories

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.52.56 PM

Title page of the 1919-1920 Waco City Directory.

Last week, we unveiled a multimedia project we created wherein we mapped the home addresses of Baylor students from 1913-1914. The info we used to plot those addresses came from the Waco City Directories, an invaluable reference for Waco researchers that includes addresses, phone numbers and other information about early Wacoans.

Today, we’re offering a smorgasbord of fun finds from the directories as a way to entice users into a deeper exploration of this illuminating collection.

Nice Work If You Can Get It: Jobs In The Directories

1907Though we probably don’t give it a second thought anymore, there was a time when “elevator operator” was a viable career option in the United States.

1921-1922_03When people hear the word “huckster,” they tend to think of someone who’s trying to rip them off. In 1919, however, a huckster was a peddler of small items, especially fruits or vegetables.

1904The reasons for the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church’s unfilled pastorship are unclear, but it indicates a job opportunity for an enterprising Swede with a desire to live in Central Texas.

Ads For Everything and Everyone

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.57.27 PMEvery business needs a “hook” to differentiate itself from the competition. For Graham-Jarrell’s – “The Woman’s Department Store” – it was the fact that every month, the owners gave a bonus to their employees.

1921-1922This ad for Baylor University comes from the 1921-1922 directory and trumpets a university that had grown tremendously from its founding in Independence, TX in 1845. It ran just a year after the university celebrated its diamond anniversary, an event captured in a photo we blogged about back in 2012.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.54.49 PMBased on the text for this ad for Park Lawn Cemetery (located adjacent to Oakwood Cemetery, one of the oldest and largest in the city), the funerary industry has been trading on the ephemeral nature of human life since at least 1919.

1921-1922_04Once a major manufacturing concern – and now an empty field, as we’ll see below – the Mailander company specialized in fixtures for businesses, including showcases and other furniture. Note the profusion of smokestacks depicted in the advertisement; far from being an example of an unsafe environment, it is meant to symbolize Waco as a center for business and industry.

mailander_map copyThe site of the Mailander factory is now an empty city block at 6th St. and Jackson. The railroad line depicted in the ad is still there, however, and the site is just a block West of a major Waco landmark – the silos of the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Co.

1921-1922_02By 1922, the directory had grown so inclusive it required a full-page list of abbreviations for everything from occupation (undtkr for undertaker) and location (opp for opposite).

What’s In A Name?

To conclude our trip through the directories, I wanted to include some of my favorite names from the 1919 directory, in alphabetical order. And we thought names like BrookLynn were innovative – 2014’s got nothing on 1919!

Rilda Aerl
Euphemia Ashburn
Larkin Barker
Unity Mae Cardwell
Pate Darwin
Lyphus F. Easterwood
Mordis Falkner
Troupe E. Gammage
Sophronia Holliday
Pet Ish
Myrtice Jinright
Floy Kelly
Attalee Lumbley
Cebron Megarity
Orville Oates
Nero Pruitt
Alleyne Quicksall
Elmer Robideaux
Jeptha W. Simpson
Francis Thwing
Alf T. Usher
Joab Vestal
Coma Waldrop
Jahtee Yeager
Hattie Zurfluh

To see the digital copies of the Waco City Directories, visit our Digital Collections homepage. To arrange access to physical copies, or to see more resources related to Baylor and Waco history, contact The Texas Collection.

Where The Bears Made Their Dens Back Then: A Multimedia Visualization of Baylor Student Housing From 1913-1914

Student housing, 1913 style. From “Baylor University Students of 1913-1914: A Multimedia Project,” via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

Welcome back to a new year and a new post here at the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections blog! We’re excited to be back on campus and look forward to another year of providing you with unique insights into our ever-growing array of digital collections.

This week, we’re taking a multimedia look at a pair of resources related to Baylor University and Waco history: the 1913-1914 Waco City Directories and Baylor Round Ups

Abel Maud Miss, student Baylor Univ, res 727 S 17th

This entry for Maud Abel, a student at Baylor in 1913, is the first student-related entry in the 1913 Waco City Directory. The directory – which contains the names, addresses, ethnicities and occupations of Waco’s citizenry – is a rich resource for students of Waco history. While updating the navigation for a number of volumes this collection, I noticed a large number of entries for Baylor students and had an idea: what if we used Google Maps to plot the known addresses of those students on a current map of the city of Waco? And what if we added select photos of those students to the map, so modern researchers could get a sense of where Baylor students in the early 1910s lived during their tenure as Baylor Bears?

And so the Homes of Baylor University Students of 1913-1914 project was born. Using the names listed in the 1913-1914 directories and the 1913-1914 Round Ups, I plotted the hundreds of names in a custom Google Map, along with a sampling of photos of students, some single headshots and others group photos taken on the front steps of their boarding houses.

Exploring the Project

The Google Map plotting the student housing locations of 1913-1914. Click the image to access this resource.

The housing map is simple to navigate, but here are a few helpful tips to make your browsing more enjoyable.

–       You can navigate directly to an address by clicking on it in the list at the upper left of the screen. An entry marked with a blue star indicates a location marker that also includes a photo of the student(s) who lived there. Green markers indicate female students, yellow markers indicate male students, and brown markers indicate either mixed gender residences or students whose gender is unknown.

Navigation panel for the Google Map.

–       As you zoom closer to campus, you’ll see a green rectangle. This roughly represents the boundaries of campus as they stood in 1913-1914.

–       Clicking on a marker will pull up a list of the students who lived at that address. For large dormitories – like Burleson Hall – there are multiple markers with long lists of names.

Location marker for Maud Abel’s home address, 727 S. 17th St.

The photos for the project are housed as a set in our Baylor University Libraries Digital Collection’s Flickr photostream. In the descriptions of each photo, you’ll find a link to the corresponding page in the Round Up from which it was taken so you can explore each photo in its original context.

The Flickr set of images for the project. Click the image for access.

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We hope you’ll enjoy exploring the topography of Baylor’s student housing in the earlier 1910s through this multifaceted project. Leave us your comments on what you found enlightening, interesting or confusing – we’d love to hear from you!

Images from the 1913-1914 Baylor Round Ups via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections, digitized from originals held by The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, TX. To see the digital copies of the Waco City Directories or the Round Ups, visit our Digital Collections homepage. To arrange access to physical copies, or to see more resources related to Baylor and Waco history, contact The Texas Collection.