by Louise Morrison and the MmITS committee
A few months ago we asked MultiMedia IT Scotland (MmITS) members and non-members to complete a brief survey. We wanted to find out more about what our members want from the group, to help us plan our future activities and events. We were also interested in discovering why people had joined MmITS and whether they were aware of our online presence.
The survey was available via SurveyMonkey. We publicised it via e-mail lists, on our blog, website and Twitter and MmITS committee members also asked attendeees at the Chartered Institute of Librarians & Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS) Autumn Gathering to complete the survey. The survey ran for a month and, in total, we had 111 responses. A big thanks to everyone who completed it!
Here are our major findings.
The main reason for joining MmITS is to keep up with developments in new technologies / IT
Of the survey respondents who were MmITS members, 75% said the main reason they joined was to keep up with developments in new technologies / IT. This shows we need to make sure we keep on top technological developments in the library / information world and communicate these to members. Our blog, website and Twitter are good ways to keep members informed but we are also hoping to undertake some training events in the new year.
How people heard about MmITS
- The most popular way of finding out about MmITS was via the CILIPS website and publications, with 43% of people hearing about us in this way. This shows how valuable this is as a communication method. CILIPS has always been very supportive of our activities and we need to continue to coordinate with our friends in CILIPS.
- 20% had heard of MmITS via word of mouth and a further 20% had heard via other means including events and personal contacts.
- 13% had heard about us via our blog, website or Twitter account. We have been a lot more active with our web and Social Media activities over the last year (we created our Twitter account and new blog last September) and this is clearly alerting new people to the MmITS group. Although 13% is not a huge number, we expect this to increase as more people access our resources.
- 4% had heard about us through a MmITS event. Although this is quite a small percentage it does show that our events are alerting potential new members to our activities. However, it suggests that there are not many non-members attending our events. Most of our events are open to members and non-members so perhaps we need to publicise this more.
Few respondents read our blog, yet it gets read by thousands of people is general
Posts on our blogs regularly get thousands of views. The most popular posts since the blog launched last September have been:
- 1) 5 reasons why we really need librarians and Information Professionals in the Internet age
- 2) 5 reasons why I can’t find Open Access publications
However, the majority of survey respondents had never accessed our blog, twitter or website.
Clearly the blog’s audience is not solely MmITS members. This makes sense as by putting content online it opens it up to a very wide geographical audience. In fact, in the last 90 days, 59% of blog views have been from outwith the UK. This is not a bad thing as we do not operate in isolation and want to interact with as broad an audience as possible including other CILIP groups and library & information professionals worldwide. We also see our various web resources as a means of attracting new members. However, we are keen to make sure our members know about our resources, so perhaps we need to market these directly to MmITS members.
A lot of people are not allowed to access Social Media at work
Of those respondents who had never accessed our blog, Twitter or website, many of them said this was because they were not allowed to access Social Media sites at work. This is something to bear in mind when communicating with members as we need to make sure we reach everyone. We have created an e-mail distribution list, please contact Leigh Bunton (Leigh.Bunton@glasgow.ac.uk) if you want to be added to it.
Lots of people don’t know they can join MmITS!
Finally, 45% of respondents were not aware that Scotland-based members of the CILIP special interest group, Multimedia IT (MmIT) are automatically entitled to be part of the Scottish sub-group, Multimedia IT Scotland (MmITS). This shows that we need to be more active about marketing ourselves as many MmIT members living in Scotland might be unaware of our services. It can be confusing for people as not all CILIP special interest groups have a Scottish sub-group so we need to be clearer about what we offer. We should make sure we coordinate our activities with MmIT and CILIP, to help raise awareness of the group.
What we’re going to do..
The survey findings told us a lot about what our members want from MmITS and the best ways to reach new members. Based on the results we plan to:
- Keep up and promote our web and social media activities. We know that MmITS members want us to help them keep up with developments in new technologies / IT and our website, blog and Twitter are ideal ways to do this. We need to make sure our members know about all these resources, perhaps by promoting them more heavily via MmIT and CILIP.
- Look into the possibility of holding online or face-to-face training sessions for MmITS members. We have discussed this idea at recent committee meetings as we think it would be popular with members. We are still in the planning stages but will keep members posted on developments. We are hoping to organise our first training event in 2013.
- Provide more clarity on who can join the MmITS group, where it fits into MmIT and CILIPS and what we can offer our members. We can do this by providing more detailed explanations on our blog, website and any group publications.
- Reinforce our role within CILIPS. We know that lots of people heard about us through CILIPS publications and website so we should take more advantage of these. We will speak to CILIPS colleagues about what more we could do. Maybe we could write about MmITS in ‘Information Scotland’ or cross-post blog pieces on the CILIPS website.
- Coordinate our activities with MmIT. Seeing as it is necessary to join the UK-wide MmIT group to be eligible to join the Scottish sub-group, it would make sense to coordinate promotional activities. We will talk to the MmIT committee about the best way to go about this. Perhaps we could write a piece for the MmIT journal and do more cross-promotion.
If you have any ideas to help us promote MmITS or any other ideas for group activities, please let us know!