Date of this Version
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the industry panel session hosted by Bond University Library at the Australian Library and Information Association's Information Online 2013 Conference. The panel was held to discuss the use and implications of professional Instagram profiles. The panel included a professional photographer, an internet marketing expert, a social media expert, a librarian and a social media-savvy student. The inclusion of a range of perspectives from outside the library aimed to provide a holistic approach to the institutional use of Instagram and to provide inspiration. The panel took place on Wednesday 13 February 2013 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Design/methodology/approach: The panel discussion covered three broad topic areas: the popularity of Instagram and listening to your audience. The risks, limitations and disadvantages of using Instagram. Engagement with followers and measuring the value of Instagram. Throughout the panel session live mobile polling was used to gather feedback and responses from the audience in regards to their photo-sharing practices. Real examples from Instagram profiles were shared to stimulate discussion. The session concluded with a Q&A session from the audience.
Findings: The session was attended by approximately 80 delegates. The results of the mobile polling will be included in the body of the article. Based on feedback from delegates on Twitter and Facebook (which was collated via Storify) the session was perceived as a useful introduction to a professional exploration of Instagram and photo sharing.
Practical implications: The session was an opportunity for conference delegates to hear about Instagram use from professionals in other fields. Each panel member contributed a unique perspective on the use of Instagram. In particular, the inclusion of a current Bond University student on the panel allowed for a customer's perspective on the library's use of Instagram. This discussion and the feedback gathered from the audience has formed the basis for further evidence-based research.
Originality/value: To date, few libraries are using Instagram. This discussion on the professional use of Instagram contributes to the body of knowledge about library social media use. It also extends the conversation to include mobile photo sharing, an area which has not been well addressed in the literature. This panel was unique in that it brought together professionals from other environments to reflect on library use of Instagram.