The “new” moderators of wellness: Academic librarians in the platform age


By offering unparalleled access to swaths of personalized information, social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) have grown to become major news sources globally. As observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, social media platforms have played a large role in accelerating the spread of misinformation. Although platforms have begun to take appropriate action to circumvent misinformation, such as hiring content moderators and employing algorithms to remove content deemed problematic, moderation remains distressing, opaque, inconsistent, complex, and ever-changing. Even with filtering for misinformation, the accuracy and validity of information consumed by the general public is mixed, resulting in confused and frustrated users. Academic libraries can play a role in addressing the harmful impacts of misinformation by fostering a safe environment to encourage critical conversations. Already, academic libraries are shifting from physical to digital spaces for outreach and communication, promoting their events, collections, and resources. This presentation (1) examines ways in which social media platforms’ business models and governance strategies produce misinformation, (2) unpacks layers of wellness to focus on social connectedness, and (3) widens conversations around wellbeing in the platform age to include academic librarians. As academic libraries evolve their channels and strategies to best serve their patrons, we invite librarians to reflect on how to navigate the information landscape in today’s platform age, strengthen the social connectedness component of wellness, and moderate the dissemination of information, ultimately contributing to a healthy and sustainable community.

Jun 6, 2022 10:00 AM