Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Social Media

Here’s How To Talk To Your Community On Social Media (Which By The Way, You Should Be Doing)


First and foremost, if you’re not using social media to connect with your community then you should stop everything right now, set up social media accounts, and spend some time every day connecting with your community. I’m not the first or the last person to say this, and if you need any further inspiration, I recommend checking out David Lee King and all of the great things he has to say about all things social media + libraries.

If you are (and you probably are), I’m sharing the above screenshots as an example of what I think is a very good way to talk to your community using social media. To break down the details of how we do it here at the Benson Memorial Library, read below:

  • We tried Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as our main social media feeds. Facebook by and far worked the best with the community. Instagram gets some likes and enough to update it every once in awhile. Twitter does nothing for our library.
  • We have three (of eight total) staff members who check our Facebook page. One person is in charge of scheduling most of the posts. The other two fill in posts from time to time. All of us will answer questions directed to the library or comment when the library is tagged.
  • One of my daily duties is to quickly browse the local Facebook groups: the ones that talk about local issues, the ones that advertise events, and the buy/sell/trade groups. If I spot something that can be helped by the library, I will respond with a comment, tag the library, and inform one of our staff members to respond to the inquiry. This is how we got the screenshots that you see above.
  • One of our staff members will use their account or the library Facebook account to respond to any comments. We do so in a way that introduces us, who we are, and what we can do. We always leave contact information in our comments so the community member can follow up outside of Facebook if they choose to do so.

What it all boils down to is something very simple: get your library out there where your community gathers (and yes, Social Media is a place where people gather!) and talk to your community. When you do, great things and connections will happen and your library and community will grow stronger because of it!

Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Life

Help my Library win $1000

My library, the Benson Memorial Library in Titusville, PA, was chosen earlier this year to be part of the Greater Titusville Development Foundation Grant Facade Project. We were very honored to be part of this program. It allowed us to repair our historic sandstone steps and ensure that they’re around for many future generations.

The final part of this grant is pretty awesome….a social media contest to get the most LIKES on our project. The photo posted above shares the BEFORE/AFTER of our steps, and if that photo can get the most LIKES this week (contest ends at 12pm on Sunday August 14 2016) we can win $1000!

If you have a moment, would you please consider LIKING the above photo? Click on the image above to be taken to Facebook where you can LIKE the photo.

$1000 can go a long way for a public library….that amount is half of our yearly budget for programs for youth in our community. It could pay our electricity bills for 3 months. It could help fund another building improvement project in the near future. Your support means a lot!


Social Media, Technology

Social Media, 2016



Facebook has become one of the, if not THE, main form of communication. Sharing, messaging, and now live video are the way that we communicate with each other. It is our email, texting, and our own little website. I have ups and downs with Facebook myself. I recognize and respect how important it is, but at the same time have a strong dislike for the service. Sometimes I just don’t want everyone and everything to be in my life. Over this past year I’ve gone from around 1500 “friends” to 770. I want Facebook to be the space I share with the people that I really know, value, and need to have in my life. Gone are most if not all the librarians who I just know because we’re both librarians and gone are the fringe “I think we met once we should connect on Facebook” type of people. I need my net of close friends and family and this is where that happens.



Twitter has become a news platform and I am happy to see it accepting that role. This is where anyone can go to share links, ideas, and real time events. Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter in 2015, seems to be the future of social media. There is an excitement around Twitter for me these days that I haven’t felt since I first joined the service back in 2008.



I’ve started and deleted about 5 Instagram accounts. I appreciate what it does and I love seeing beautiful photos that everyone posts, but I just don’t want another place to post my photos. My Facebook profile documents everything from 2005-Present and I also have about 20 years of photos in my Google Photos. Instagram just feels like another step that I should cut out. I do, however, recognize how neat it is for a business. As Haley and I start Fidelia Hall we have used Instagram to share the messages we are putting up on our sign in front of the building. It’s been really neat.



Yahoo seems to have sucked all of the fun out of Tumblr. I wasn’t very much into Tumblr in the first place, but I have really come to love how it brings together fringe and passionate groups of people. If you have an interest but you can’t fine a community around that interest…well, try Tumblr. For myself, I use it to “collect” things that make me happy.



Miitomo was the big thing for 3 days and then everyone forgot about it. I can’t blame them, as the experience of using Miitomo is kind of clunky at best. This is something that I hope Nintendo really works on (it has gotten better). I probably keep coming back to it because I love all things Nintendo, but I also really enjoy seeing some folks answers to the questions. I feel a close connection to these people and I look forward to reading what they have to say every day.


I still believe in the power of blogs and blogging services like Medium. I love how they give everyone who decides to invest time in them a chance to develop their writing and share their ideas.


I mostly miss Branch and Potluck, as I loved the communities that sprung up around those services. I found myself talking to different people and I think it was great for expanding my world view. I know that most of those teams are now at Facebook and I am curious to see what they can bring to the table there.

Life, Online Identity, Social Media, Technology

RIP Social Media 2004(ish)-2016

Sparky is my pet name for social media JK who the hell would give social media a pet name

In my almost 36 years on Earth I have learned to trust my gut, and for the past two years there’s been this feeling in there every time I sign onto Facebook or Twitter that all of this is all over and that it is time to move on. Social media has been co-opted by the mainstream media and has become yet another tool in the belt of capitalism. No longer is social media a tool for the people, a place where we can connect and share with our family and friends. Nope, those days are over. These days, social media is a tool used by others to sell us things, tell us who to be and what to watch, and to shape an entire culture. We post photos and ideas for our friends and family and in turn all of these are taken and analyzed and sold back to us. Sorry to sound like such a crazy conspiracy theory mid-30’s white male nutcase but SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS YOU KNOW IT TO BE TRUE 

Will I keep using these services? Probably. Facebook is really the defacto way to get in touch with people these days. After all, who really knows each others email addresses and phone numbers anymore? Facebook has killed those. I just changed my phone number recently and guess who wanted my new phone number? My mom. That’s about it. To many, email is just a service that collects junk mail and advertisements and is used to store files as attachments. Twitter is good for sharing links and quick ideas. I wish Branch was still around to take these tweets and have a conversation around them.

The only thing that’s changed is how I will personally approach these services. If I wanna talk to you or get an idea out to you, it’ll either come directly fro me in a message or via this website. If I wanna see what you’re up to, I’ll go directly to your page and check that out. No more News Feeds, no more Timelines, no more Suggested Articles.


Social Media, Technology

Destroy the News Feed


Let’s face it: when the Facebook News Feed started filling up with recommended articles, targeted ads, and gave users the option to unfollow certain people, it made the idea of the News Feed suck even harder. Now everyone was either being told what to read by Facebook, what to buy via ads, and made it so easy to self select a certain life POV by making sure some friends rose to the top and others remained very quiet. It took a neat thing and turned it into a giant vacuum where we can all now post about the things we love and get hearts and nonstop positive feedback from those just like us while Facebook analyzes all of that data and spits out even more things that hit our happy button. The News Feed has become a place where we now all go to get our incestuous feel good “I’m a good person and I have an opinion and all these people agree with me” vibes. Let’s destroy the News Feed.

Facebook news selection is in hands of editors not algorithms, documents show is an interesting article to read, but isn’t all news in the hands of just a few editors who basically tell you what you want to see? Also, you can destroy this feature by using this Chrome Extension. I recommend it because I know that I’m just like all of you and that the possible news of”CELEBRITY A tweeting about CELEBRITY B discovering a new planet but not really because once you click on the link you realize that someone is just really good at writing headlines”is way too enticing to NOT click.

To do so, there are a few steps you can take. I like the Google Chrome Extension News Feed Eradicator because it not only wipes everything away but gives you a random fancy quote instead. You can also unfollow everything, but if you’ve been on Facebook for at least 10 minutes you’ve probably already become friends with 168 people and have liked 2,358 pages. You will never unlike and unfollow all of these things, but have fun trying.

Let’s all destroy the News Feed. Let’s get back to challenging ourselves with many different points of view instead of self selecting and letting Facebook decide what we want to see.



Family, Libraries, Life, Online Identity, Social Media, Things

A New Way of Connecting

I like to read. I’ve always liked to read. The Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn. I like to share. I’ve always wanted to share neat things, ideas, photos, and more. Social media enables us to do that.

What I don’t like is how much time I seem to spend on social media. I am one of those people that has to reply to every comment, like, or mention. I don’t like the idea of a comment not being properly recognized! And with that idea in my head, I go a little bit crazy. If my career was to be on social media to communicate and share with the world all the time, I would gladly do it. However this is not my career so I can’t do it all the time.

I think a lot about the David Weinberger piece Library As PlatformNate Hill was really the dude that introduced me to that piece. It was really his drive to turn the Chattanooga Public Library into the working example of the Library As Platform piece. But anywho…

I think about how much I’ve changed over the years and have started to see the online version of me as a very authentic platform. I am Justin Hoenke who is also Justin The Librarian who is also @justinlibrarian. These are all platforms which are used to share with the world. They’re all like my own TV station. You tune in and read and view the things that I share. TV stations don’t talk to you unless you in the moment. You have to make the motion to reach out to them. In the end, all of these things tie back to the physical form of Justin William Hoenke.

I will be sharing ideas, links, photos, and more through my platforms.

  • Facebook:
  • Twitter:
  • This website,


I would still like to connect with you and talk about things! There are a few ways to get in touch with me:

  1. Email me at
  2. Facebook Message:
  3. Twitter DM:

This is an interesting experiment and I am curious to see how it works. Try it out now! Send me a message. I really do like talking with you.


Online Identity, Social Media

Online Identity

I have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about our online identities and how much cooler the world would be if we open sourced our lives.  What do I mean by this?

define open source - Google Search

FREELY AVAILABLE is what stands out to me.  A life where nothing is hidden, everything is on the table for everyone to read, share, comment, and discuss.  I’ve talked and presented about this topic in the past (here) and I feel that it’s about time to bring it up once again.

As I said above, I believe in a life where everything is freely available.  That means putting it all out there: Embracing the icky stuff, celebrating the joyous moments, admitting confusion…..Everything.  Social media has great power at connecting people and giving everyone a voice.  For me, I never felt like I was using social media properly until I realized this.  Over the past few years, developing my voice and connecting with people has taught me two things:

  1. Professionally, it has connected me with some amazing people and given me the opportunity to do some amazing things and travel to some amazing places and talk about the things I am passionate about.  Without social media, I may not have had this opportunity.  
  2. Personally, it has allowed me to open source my life to my friends and family.  We’ve all had great moments in our lives and at the same time we’ve all been miserable.  It’s been great sharing these moments with my friends and family.  That way, they know where I’m at, where I’m heading, and how I got there.  The best part about it is the discussion it stems from these posts…people open up and share their lives with you.  You quickly find out that you’re not alone in the world.

There are different ways to approach this lifestyle and it takes some time to find exactly what works best for you.  I’m happy to show you what’s been working for me:

Here’s my approach:


Before you go laughing off Google+, let me state my case for it. I love Google+ for sharing things professionally.  There’s just something about the Google+ interface that encourages sharing and discussion.  The way you determine how you want to share something (through Circles) gives you amazing options as to how you decide you want to share something.

The conversations I’ve had over the past year on Google+ have been very stimulating and the things I’ve discovered via other folks that I’m following have really helped me think differently about how I approach my job.

Google+ isn’t a Facebook killer, replacement, or anything else like that.  Google+ is Google+, a great tool that you can use to really develop your professional image.  Give it a shot.  I gave up on it shortly after it was released and came back to it a few months later…and I’ve never left it since.


Simply stated, I don’t think I would be where I am professionally without Twitter.  It has given me the opportunity to share and discuss everything with the world and for that I am very grateful.

One of the great things about Twitter is that it’s so quick and in the moment that it really can be something to everyone.  Having a really focused moment talking about libraries?  Go for it.  Then it’s OK to switch that up and talk about music or something else.  I do it all the time.  It’s also great for finding new things to read.  The people I follow are always sharing great stuff to absorb.

What really makes the Twitter experience most useful for me is watching who I follow.  Over the years, I’ve been endlessly dabbling in this specific area.  I’ve found that when I follow too many people my Twitter feed becomes unmanageable and really turns me away from the service.  It’s almost as if there’s an information overload.  You can always turn to something like Twitter lists to manage this, but I’ve found those very ineffective.  Tweetdeck is also another tool you can use to manage your streams.

Twitter is great for developing your professional identity and at the same time mixing a bit of personal into everything.


And finally, we come to Facebook.  With over 1 billion users, there’s a chance that everyone you’ve ever known is using this service.  That can seem like a very overwhelming and scary thing.  It was for me for the longest time.  There was this thought in the back of my head that SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME and I did not like that at all.  However, I’ve found that if you take the time to really look at your privacy settings and use at least one or two lists that Facebook can be an amazing tool for achieving an open source life.

Recently, I opened up about something going on in my life on Facebook.  I was embracing the icky stuff.  I shared it privately with Friends only and used a list that I created before to limit the post even more.  My privacy setting looked like this:

FB privacy

What was the end result?  My initial post got a lot of comments.  People opened up, shared, discussed, and more.  It was a beautiful thing.  I also received 5 personal messages from people that read my initial post who wanted to talk a bit more in depth.  The end result was that I didn’t feel bad for having these feelings.  I felt like a lot of people understood me, offered worthwhile suggestions, and I was able to grow and learn from it.

My conclusion?  Have a look at your online identity and see what you’re sharing and where you’re sharing it.  Think about what you want to get out of each and every post.  Do you want an open conversation?  Do you want to live an open source life?  If so, how do you develop your social networks to best meet your needs?  With some time and effort, you’ll find what you’re looking for.