Recently I find myself quite absorbed by twitter, and with the zeal of a new convert I’m now going to add to the enthusiastic clamor surrounding it. I’m sure for many readers here I’m preaching to the choir. However if, like me a month ago, you don’t fully understand what twitter is, I recommend an article called “Twittering Libraries” written by an LIS student in the Fall 2008 term.
First, I acknowledge that skepticism is natural (and not helped by the recent headlines about twitter’s phishing snafu). I too used to wonder if it was *really* worth trying to figure out yet another 2.0 buzzword. Believe me, I am not the queen of all things tech, although my youthful appearance often conceals this fact. I’m not trying to claim twitter expertise (I suppose that’s called twexpertise) by any means, but I am starting to feel as affectionate toward it as toward firefox and gmail.
As I’ve already written a few posts (here and here) about twitter and libraries on my personal blog, rather than repeat myself I’m going to report some of the more illuminating and entertaining moments I’ve had on twitter recently:
-Twitter searching. Every so often I search “library” and see what non-librarians are saying about us. A couple of days ago I tried to find mention of my institution and realized there wasn’t much buzz about us in the twitter universe. Maybe it’s time to change that?
-Expanding on that thought, which one is worse: To be distantly at risk of a twitter hack, or to have no input about your twitter identity? Take FakeRodBlago, for example, which is a comedic account of the proceedings against Rod Blagojevich, written by “The Rod.” Taken from a public relations perspective, what happens when you are not representing yourself, and your identity is at the mercy of people making fun of you?
-Bear in mind that Twitter is a fairly basic tool. To designate a subject term, use a # symbol. So for example, if you use twitter as a chat tool and include a unique identifier like ‘#butterfly322’ in your tweets, you can later go back and search for #butterfly322 to review the discussion.
-There is impressive diversity to the tweets coming out of libraryland. I’m glad to see so many of us on twitter, because it means we are in more places more of the time. In this way we can stay relevant and in the consciousness of our patrons. (Never mind staying on top of things with each other and the profession!) Check out these examples: Disobedient Librarian, Infodiva, TextALibrarian, MdLawLib, Bill Drew.
-There are an array of crazy twitter tools that I haven’t even begun to play with, and the list is growing all the time. Who knew about some of these?
-Twitter is evolving. I believe it’s still in its infancy in terms of relevance, but I keep hearing new uses for it every day. People use it for all kinds of things, from the important to the mundane — breaking news stories, personal status updates (of the type “mmm, grilled cheese sandwich” etc.), automated updates, favorite links, technology troubleshooting, marketing new products, and a lot more. There are students, tech folks, religious folks, parents, shameless self-promoters, educators, recruiters, and average joes all using twitter. So pretty much any type of person — just create an account and watch Everyone to see.
In summary, I think this tool is definitely something that academic libraries should pay attention to. Please come find me if you decide to join!
12 thoughts on “Proselytizing for twitter”
I have enjoyed reading your columns. Twitter is an invaluable tool for LIS career development and networking amongst information professionals. I have been able to connect with mentors and also inspire Twitter users about the possibilities in the information industry.
I must say some of the best experiences are when I receive “kudos” and RT(ReTweets) of information that I post. I try to provide value to my followers, by providing future story ideas or providing links to authoritative facts and resources. Thank You for the shout out.
Nice post. Follow me on twitter – BillDrew4.
Nice post. Also, the Shifted Librarian is encouraging libraries-as-institutions to use Twitter creatively, engagingly: http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2009/01/05/an-open-letter-to-libraries-on-twitter.html
My cat totally tweets!
My 2 cents on Twitter & Libraries: http://www.lib.jmu.edu/org/jwl/socialeyes.aspx
I don’t really like twitter and have been ignoring it.
ResourceShelf, compiled by librarians also has a twitter feed at:
In addition to our Library’s standard Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/codlibrary/) the College of DuPage library also using Twitter to promote our Library Secrets program– http://twitter.com/librarysecrets
I’ll be presenting a poster session on how we’ve used Twitter and other social software to market information, technology & general library literacy at ACRL 2009. Hope to see you there!
can’t be at ACRL, alas. But I’m doing my darndest to get to ALA in Chicago this summer.
One of the great things about Twitter is that it allows for no-nonsense, no-obligation networking. It’s kind of like being in a room full of strangers at a conference – one can pick up many conversations and move from one person to another with ease.
It’s just as easy to make a long-lasting acquaintance as it is to make an informal one on Twitter without worrying if that new contact is a “friend,” “associate,” “colleague” or what-have-you.