Social Media Broadcasting

March 3 – YCAL-JWJ Social Media Workshop

Visit the Yale Collection of American Literature - James Weldon Johnson Collection (YCAL-JWJ) and Beinecke Library social media channels (and those of other special collections libraries) and consider the following:

—who do you imagine is the audience for the YCAL-JWJ social media? who could it be? who should it be?

—what can a tweet or instagram post about YCAL-JWJ collections accomplish?

—does social media allow for different kinds or engament with collection materials than other modes of display or exhibtion? is there greater room for humor, for instance? other kinds of playfulness? or pathos? or direct political commentary? other kinds of observation?

—without benefit of a physical exhibition at the Library to promote, how might single posts represent the broader concerns of “Road Show”? is each post essentially a micro-micro exhibition? is it necessary (or even useful) to try to reveal something of the broader exhibition in these platforms?

With these considerations in mind:

Using an “institutional voice” write about “Road Show” exhibition-related topics and objects— including references to specific collection material, images, quotations, etc, WRITE: 1 tweet (or series of no more than three tweets) and 1 Instagram post about the same object to share with the class. Submit texts and image to NK via email by 3pm Tuesday, March 2.

REMINDER: each tweet and post must include the following hashtags: #BeineckeRoadShow and #RoadShowByYOURFIRSTNAME (plan character counts accordingly).

The most straightforward post might be an image and a citation (like this Beinecke Library tweet featuring Margaret Bonds sheet music: or this YCAL-JWJ Instagram post featuring Eugene O’Neill’s pocketwatch). In this case, including our #BeineckeRoadShow tag adds a layer of interpretation simply by connecting the featured object to our wider exhibition.

Posts might also include multiple collection objects and additional commentary, like this YCAL-JWJ Instagram post by student assistant Emma Brodey: Family in Quarantine.

Tweets can be threaded to gather multiple objects (including relevant materials in other libraries), like this thread by Beinecke curator Kathryn James: @OsbornEarlyMod: Blackwell Herbal.

You will also be responsible for posting at least 10 tweets and 5 Instagram posts on the YCAL-JWJ social media channels between March 3 and April 9. You needn’t post according to a schedule, but in case it may be helpful this is 2 tweets and 1 Instagram post per week. This work may be directly in support of your micro exhibiton. In other words,  you might use this space to: put objects you’re considering in conversation with one another; test possible theses, narratives, or arguments; draft exhibtion text. You are welcome to recycle social media work for your micro exhibiton in any way you see fit.

The materials you choose for this experiment might be related to your developing micro exhibition but  this is not essential. Social media posts also offer opportuities to consider stand-alone objects that fascinate you but aren’t suitable for inclusion in your micro exhibion.

You are welcome to use texts and images Nancy  and Tim prepared for the in-person exhibitions for these posts (see: and – if you do, follow the Authorship Guidelines for collaborative work.