For my You Pick Cool Tools I thought I’d play Polly and try my hand at rounding up resources on the topic of Snapchat. (I know Polly covered this briefly in the Cool Tool on Photo Fun but I thought I’d try to delve in a little deeper and dig up some more resources for people who like me, are curious about trying it out with their library).
Okay cool! Ummm…what’s Snapchat?
Snapchat is messaging app that lets you send photos and videos that are annotated with text, drawings, and/or stickers or, that have been augmented with filters that superimpose some other imagery over your photos and videos.
Or like this:
Or even this:
Alright…but I/my library is already on Twitter and Instagram do I really need Snapchat too?
I hear you! I first heard about Snapchat at my post graduation subbing job at a Jr/Sr High School Library. That was over 5 years ago and yet I just joined this past year. And only after major pressure from my best friend. I didn’t quite see the need for it either and admittedly, I was slow to see the appeal even after joining. But, my friend and my youngest brother kept sending me messages with it and eventually, it grew on me. Now I’d say that Snapchat is one of my most frequently used apps and the main source of communication between myself and my best friend and definitely between myself and my 16 year old brother! There’s something about the videos and photos I send back and forth with them using the app that makes it feel more like it did when I got to see them every day-I feel much more in tune to what’s going on with them in their day to day lives than I ever did when we were just texting or even talking on the phone. And that’s what I think Snapchat can bring our patrons, a sense of connection with our programs that they don’t get from other forms of social media. Facebook is old school, Twitter is succinct, Instagram is highly polished and curated but Snapchat is silly and goofy and fun. It’s time we showed people the lighthearted, fun side of our libraries.
Hold up! Isn’t this the one where messages disappear after you watch them-I’m not putting a bunch work into something that just disappears!
Well, yes. Messages you send others disappear after they’ve been viewed or, in the case of “stories” you post to your account for all to see, they disappear after 24 hours. If you’ve created something you’re particularly proud of you can save it to your account for future use/reuse. And remember what I said about this being for our fun, lighthearted side? Don’t use Snapchat for your important announcements and information-at least not without making sure it’s posted elsewhere too-use if for fun, behind the scenes sneak peeks. And don’t think of the messages being temporary as a bad thing-think of it as adding extra cache to what you share. Like it’s limited edition-people will want to check in so they can be the cool people in the know!
Alright! Are you convinced you want to learn more and maybe try Snapchat with your library? Me too! Let’s look at some of the resources I found to help us get started!
Before you jump right in there and start snapping you’re probably going to want to get acquainted with the app, it’s features and some basic vocabulary. Thankfully, there are no shortage of beginner’s guides to Snapchat floating around out there on the internet. Here are some I pulled for those of you who are really new to this app.
- Mashable’s Snapchat for Beginners
- Hootsuite’s How To Use Snapchat Beginners Guide
- The Very Necessary Beginners Guide to Snapchat by Ahna Hendrix
- Wired’s Hot to Use Snapchat Guide
- Dummies.com How To Use Snapchat
- Thrillist’s 18 Super Simple Snapchat Tips for Beginners
- More of a visual learner? Break The Internet has a nice tutorial on YouTube.
Ready to make some Snap Stories?
I freely admit that a few weeks into using Snapchat I thought I was some kind of expert until I tried to figure out Snapchat Stories. Several snaps and texts with my 16 year old brother and I finally figured out what I needed to know. Not everyone has a 16 year old brother who is willing to walk them through these things so here’s guides to help you out.
- Don’t know what I’m talking about? Start here with Life Wire’s What is a Snapchat Story
- Hubspot has a tutorial on How to Create a Snapchat Story
Here’s some bonus info/fun stuff:
- Those emojis you’re going to start seeing pop up next to the people you’ve been messaging in Snapchat? They’re not random. Check out Life Wire’s guide to Snapchat Emoji Meanings.
- Did you know you have a Snapchat score? Life Wire is here for you again.
Snapchat and Libraries:
Looking for ideas? Still need to convince yourself or someone else that your library belongs on Snapchat? Check out some of the information and ideas below.
- It’s from 2013 but Librarian Enumerations has some ideas to get you started with Snapchat in your library on their blog.
- Nikki Robertson shares some quick ideas, examples, and more getting started guides on her site. (***also mentioned in Polly’s round up in the Photo Fun Cool Tool***)
- David Lee King also shared some quick starter ideas/uses on his blog.
- American Libraries Magazine did a nice overview in their November 2016 issue. I’m especially intrigued by the geo filter contest that was mentioned in the article. (***also mentioned in Polly’s round up in the Photo Fun Cool Tool***)
- Shannon Miller put together a padlet on ideas for using Snapchat in schools. Most of the ideas are for classroom use but there are some links to library specific ideas as well.
- Shannon Miller also posted on her blog about using Snapchat to celebrate poetry month.
- Earlier this month School Library Journal did a nice piece on using Snapchat for Readers Advisory!
- The Cape May County Library even created a YouTube Channel for their Teen Book Tuesday Snapchat videos!
Connect with other Libraries and Librarians on Snapchat:
- The Librarian Enumerations blog put together A directory of libraries on Snapchat by type
- Shannon Miller put together a handy padlet of libraries and librarians who want to connect on Snapchat
So, what ideas are you most excited about using in your library? I noticed that most of the ideas I found and linked to focus on older students but I’m in an elementary library. I don’t think that means I can’t use Snapchat, it just means that my audience is most likely going to be parents so I’ll have to adjust my content. But, if Snapchat is about showing an insider’s view what better an audience to try and reach with that insider’s view than the parents and guardians of my students! Afterall, my students see me every week-they know what’s up in the library. It’s the adults at home who often don’t realize that the library is, as my co-worker Molly and like to hashtag it on Instagram, not your grandma’s library anymore. I think it could be cool to try things like:
- Quick samples of what each grade level/class will be doing that day or week
- Book suggestions for at home reading with their kids based on the time of the year or common family/life situations (maybe someday I’ll even be able to get some requests for books on different topics, like bringing home a new baby, to feature on the book suggestions!)
- Get to know your librarian/my favorite part of the day-like a quick video I do every day so parents can get to know me better
- Activities they can do at home to extend what we’re doing in the classroom/library
- Virtual summer reading program-I’m not sure how this would work but me reading a book snap video by snap video maybe?
It’s a start! Any other ideas for connecting with parents through Snapchat? Feel free to throw me a comment-and definitely send me a message if you want to share your libraries Snapchat account. I’ll be snapping from ours at FPSLibratorium. Look us up-hopefully, we’ll have some great things to share!