Presentation Title: Wildin’ Out Online: Equipping Zookeepers with Social Media Skills

Presenter(s): Erin Castillo, School of Information

Abstract: In August of 2021, I presented at the 2021 American Association of Zoo Keepers National Conference held in Los Angeles, California. My presentation, Social Media In and Out of the Enclosure, taught zookeepers the differences between four major social media platforms, strategies to use each effectively, and how to leverage analytics to improve organic performance. This was one of four presentations that made up the conferences media skills professional certification course, whose goal was to equip and empower zookeepers to share their rewarding professional stories with the public through various channels of communication. The challenge I faced as an information professional was delivering content in a digestible and effective format for those who were not as experienced with social media. I utilized various zoos social media accounts to mine for teachable content and tasked my program participants with creating the copy, image, and tags for their own posts. This experience has made me a stronger information professional because it required me to package and deliver information into visually understandable, real-world examples that others could easily learn from. By equipping zookeepers with tools and strategies to navigate and manage their organizations social media accounts, they are better equipped to share the rewarding (and mundane!) aspects of their roles in animal conservation. The most fulfilling part of my experience was making information more understandable and approachable for zookeepers, one of whom shared that my presentation was the most useful conference program she had ever attended.

Link to Recorded Presentation:

4 thoughts on “Wildin’ Out Online: Equipping Zookeepers with Social Media Skills

  1. Rosario Mireles

    Hi Erin, Wow what a novel idea! Who would have thought that zookeepers could benefit from learning how to post their stories on social media! Awesome presentation!

    ~ Rosario

    • Erin Castillo

      Thanks, Rosario! Social media is almost like a public utility in today’s global day and age. As a business, you *can’t* afford to be off of social media, so it was really important for me to help an organization like AAZK (and their zookeepers) improve their social media literacy. Their message and work in conservation is so critical to the balance of the environment and wellbeing of animals. That’s where my passion for librarianship lies – empowering others that they, too, can use information tools like social media to improve their services (and have some fun, too!).

  2. Charlene Brewer

    Greetings Erin,

    Nice! Now I want to see the original presentation you made for the zookeepers, LOL. Social media is so prolific, yet complicated to grasp at times due to the information overload. I heard an analogy that the information landscape today is like trying to drink water out of a firehose. Hopefully we, as information professionals, can help to mediate the flow. Great presentation!


    • Erin Castillo

      Thanks, Charlene! I was super conscious of not overloading the zookeepers with too much unnecessary information. I saw a lot of people taking notes, which was a nice sign of attention!

      One thing I wish I had done was recorded where each zookeeper came from so that I could follow them online and catch up with their progress.

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