Friday, February 1, 2013


Promoting your library through social media using Instagram and Webstagram 

Instagram--you've probably heard of it (even if you don't have an account), especially if you work with teenagers every day!

So what is Instagram, exactly? It's a social media services where users can share photos they've taken and apply various filters and frames to make it look unique and artsy.  Users can share their photos with followers on Instagram AND connect their Twitter and Facebook accounts to share their photos there as well.  Like users on Twitter, Instagram-ers use "hashtags" (the pound symbol: #)  to mark keywords or topics in a post and make it easy to find other posts that have that same hashtag.  

How can we use this in the library or classroom? 

(Before you begin using this in the library or classroom, make sure you familiarize yourself with the privacy policies of the social media service, as well as any privacy policies or filters your school district or library may have in place.  Share these policies with your students and remind them to always monitor what they put on the Internet, whether it be personal information or appropriate content.)
Instagram can be used in classrooms and libraries for collaboration, self-reflection, critical thinking, and communication skills, and they can also reinforce Common Core State Standards–“Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.” 
To read more about how Instagram can be incorporated into your lessons to accomodate a variety of types of learners, follow this link.
Also, the beginning of this video below has a great explanation of how Instagram can be used in the classroom:

Ideas for Instagram-ing your classroom or library:

  • photojournalism
  • writing prompts for poetry or creative writing
  • classroom blogs
  • digital story telling
  • character insight ("A day in the life of [Hamlet]")
  • metaphors
  • book sharing community (sharing images of finished books with mini reviews)
  • perspective
  • personal connections to classroom learning (students can take a photo of something outside of school that reminds them of a book or topic that's being discussed in class)
  • orientation or classroom tour  
  • community awareness        

The images below are from our library's Instagram project that we are using to promote all of our district libraries.  We used to create this gallery; you can see all of the images so far by searching #colonielibraries on Instagram.