You will notice less of NIU Rare Books on Social Media these days…

Our institution has launched new reporting requirements for all NIU social media accounts that are, to put it mildly, onerous to the point of ludicrous.

They want us to count all interactions. And document whether they are positive, negative, or neutral.

They want screen shots to document all of our counting and downloaded analytics.

Every. Month.

I maintain 4 separate things on behalf of NIU right now. They are all being put on hiatus/shut down. My personal accounts (like this one) are not affected.

We were asked to register our accounts last year with the University. Which is fine. We have policies that all registered accounts must adhere to in terms of not doing stupid things with NIU social media accounts.

I already report annually on our departmental social media accounts. But this is too much.

If I can’t be trusted to handle professional social media accounts in a professional manner, there’s no point in me having them.

As a result, I’ve shut down the NIU Rare Books blog and our Facebook pages. That level of reporting completely defeats the purpose of social media, and, I suspect, is designed to encourage those of us who control accounts outside of the media relations & communications departments to shut them down.

So, I’m done.

My first post-tenure flounce. Isn’t this exciting?


About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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8 Responses to You will notice less of NIU Rare Books on Social Media these days…

  1. Sarah says:

    What a disappointing turn of events–and what a short-sighted prioritizing of reporting over actual outreach! I hope your flouncing encourages the powers-that-be to rethink this policy.


  2. Carl says:

    This seems to be a knee-jerk, and albeit unprofessional, response from a a supposed professional. #sad


    • Lynne says:

      I don’t do social media full time. The return on investment of my presence on these sites was not worth the level of documentation requested.

      I don’t see how that is an unprofessional response. *shrugs* YMMV, of course.


  3. Arlo says:


    Bro, you probably don’t realize it, but what you wrote is uncool. A person has incredible bureaucratic stupidity dumped on them, decides the best move is to leave the party, and you accuse her of being “unprofessional?” OK, I’m revising my opinion of what you said, worse then uncool, it was tool-like.

    You might want to read up on the required stats and calculate overhead in terms of time that compliance would require before you judge.

    I’m sure you could say some awesome stuff to say instead. You could make it, like, a professional goal or something.


  4. Colleen says:

    I can’t even…

    Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I have to say it again. Ugh. How short-sighted. How litigious and fearful. With a policy like that I could probably fit in some push content like blogging every one in a while, but it would be impossible to build any sort of community, relationships, loyalty.


  5. 7 says:

    I read their instructions, but no where did I find a “Why” for this action. Maybe this is a good time to discuss with the powers that be what their motivation for this practice may be. That’s a good time to tell them that their reports overhead is so onerous that you will not be able to maintain a social media presence because of it. I imagine that something “bad” happened on another SM site and this is a reaction to try to “Cover their ASSets” from the “Bad” event ever happening again.

    To quote the Roman Emperor Caligula, “Feces Occuridum, it’s all about how you react to it.”


    • Lynne says:

      There has been no public “why”. From my perspective as a user, we were asked to register our accounts about a year ago (we did this as a group in the Library via our head of Library ITS) and adhere to a policy of understanding that we are representing the university.

      The workshops were run while I was at professional conferences. I didn’t learn of the *content* of the workshops and the level of reporting required huntil a colleague told me about the new reporting requirements beginning August 1.


  6. Allison says:

    So sorry. A policy to remind social media users the represent the university, sure. But this…? Worst of all, it’s the community that loses out in the end.


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