Miskatonic University Press

York centralizes control over social media presences


I was at an internal workshop at York University Libraries this morning about writing headlines and titles. Apparently the sweet spot is 51–70 characters with seven words. See this post’s title as a demonstration of what I learned.

Robert Gehl, a prof at York, writes the FOSS Academic blog. In How universities lost the internet, he said:

Fast forward to today. Now, I am happily employed by York University in Toronto. But just the other day, my colleagues met for a faculty meeting, and we discussed recruiting students. Someone suggested we post information about our faculty to our department website and social media. “No,” the chair said. “All of that would have to go through the central administration” – the implication being either it wouldn’t be allowed, or that it would take months to achieve.

(His later points about universities outsourcing important IT are dead on. It’s dreadful in libraries. Almost every university library in Ontario runs Alma as their library management system with Primo as the front end—we rent them from Clarivate, a massive data broker.)

Back in 2008 (IIRC) I created @yorkulibraries on Twitter and ran it for a while before handing it over to someone in the dean’s office. No one ever questioned me creating it (though it certainly helped that I was web librarian at the time).

I asked today if the Libraries was on Mastodon. I was told the central brand department is looking into expanding into new socials, for example Threads, and Mastodon could be one of them. Nothing can be done until they decide. Later I looked at the Social Media and Digital Requirements.

Digital properties offer an excellent way to engage with our community and beyond in real-time and we hope that the updated Policy, Procedures and these guidelines and requirements will serve to help prepare you and support your work while ensuring brand alignment and compliance. Failure to comply may result in the University taking steps to have an account closed or temporarily shut down until the user is in full compliance with the Requirements.

York’s motto is Tentanda via: The way must be tried.