Over the last few years the Law Library of Congress has taken dramatic steps to reach beyond our traditional website to ensure that people are aware of our services and products.
We started an official Law Library of Congress Twitter account in October 2009. The account slowly acquired new followers over the first year and eventually reached 5,000 in January 2011 after fourteen months. Since then the pace of new followers has greatly increased. We surpassed 10,000 followers in May after just four months. On Twitter, we retweet interesting related items, respond to simple requests (i.e. requests that can be completed in 140 characters), provide access to longer requests through our Ask a Law Librarian service, and tweet about new material from the Law Library. Our use of Twitter depends on news of the day. Some days there might only be one tweet but on a busy day there could be up to a dozen.
Shortly after Twitter, we started our Facebook page in December 2009. It took off right away and surpassed our Twitter account in February 2010. It wasn’t until almost a year later in January 2011 that our Twitter account started to quickly gain more followers and went back ahead of Facebook. We post a lot less frequently to Facebook than to Twitter. On a normal day, there will be one post and on a very busy day three posts.
We branched out more in August 2010 with this blog! In Custodia Legis provided a new outlet for discussing our content while allowing a conversation with people who comment on posts. For the blog, we post content daily and occasionally twice a day. Each month I do a recap post to highlight the items people viewed the most on the blog, commented on the most, or liked the most on our Facebook page.
The Law Library also oversees the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN). In furtherance of the network, we started a GLIN Facebook page. The page typically gets updated once a day. It points out some of the resources in GLIN that might be overlooked. It has almost 500 likes.
Also during this time we have worked to put our videos in formats that can be viewed off our site as well. Our events that are available on the web are also posted on YouTube and in iTunes U as part of our “Law and the Library” series.
In April we started our second Twitter account. This one focuses on all things THOMAS.gov. It quickly gained 1,000 followers and has people talking more about THOMAS on Twitter. With the account we try to post information on bills being discussed on the House or Senate floor, tweet tips, and provide the top bills of the week. We are also available to respond to questions about THOMAS or to receive feedback.
What gets lost in the number of likes, followers, and commenters is the number of human interactions that I have with people. I frequently have someone come up and talk to me about one of the blog posts or I am asked to talk to another group in the Library of Congress who is interested in doing something similar to us. All of this, really makes me feel like the Law Library is really making strides in building our community.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite way to follow us? And do you take away a positive impression?