Microblogging and Twitter

I find that Twitter is one of my favourite methods of getting news. I’ve always been a headline scanner, which might be why I enjoy RSS feeds as well, and twitter makes it really easy to get little snapshots of information. Especially on my phone, where I have a widget that acts as a feed of the accounts that I follow.

There are other reasons that I enjoy using Twitter as well. For example, I find that even though I use my real name on the site, that having the option of using a pseudonym, and that people can make their feeds public or private and be as interactive as they wish, is really nice.

At the time of this post I have posted 477 tweets, that range from conversing with followers, posting links to library & ebook news, advertising programs, linking to content that I have created and some general blather.  My first tweet was September 8th, 2009, and was very interesting “configuring software, and reading Judith Butler’s Bodies that Matter on GoogleBooks.” I hope since then they’ve become more relevant/exciting. In general, I try and keep it professional, with a bit of personal, since I am using my real name.

I am also a member of the microblogging site, Tumblr. I joined that site under a pseudonym and use it to post images of knitting & crochet projects, pictures of places that I have been, things that I bake & decorated and occasionally Haiku. I also spend a fair amount of time following people with interests similar to mine.

For this week’s activity, since I have a Twitter account and another microblogging account, I decided to try out a third-party twitter program. First, I downloaded and signed into TweetDeck but while the layout was nice, I didn’t like that it was limited to Twitter. Then, I remembered that at the library where I work, the social network profiles are managed with HootSuite.

So I went to that site, where I signed up for a profile and added my Twitter, LinkedIn and WordPress profiles. The accounts are arranged in tabs, where each tab represents an account, or group associated with an account. You can see everything at a glance and even schedule posts for the future (to prevent cluttering your feed).

my hootsuite profile

My HootSuite Profile, Twitter account on top.

The only thing that I felt was missing was a way to integrate my Google+ account, I found a how-to online, but it involved upgrading my new HootSuite account, and I am not ready to do that. You can also use HootSuite to get stats and allow for team posting to an account, and there is a Chrome App. I look forward to working with the app.

Libraries and Microblogging

I feel that the most important question for libraries when thinking about any type of social software is “What are our patrons using?” and “What are other members of the community using?” Because while is is great to get buy-in from your existing patron base, you also want to be able to create new connectors with non-users. If your community is interested in Twitter- I would almost prefer it over Facebook since it is a lot easier to cross-promote with other community organizations, and to stumble upon the account accidently. A lot of users still aren’t using Facebook- or feel that their accounts are too personal to follow organizations, and Twitter is definitely more public in nature. And since you are limited to 140 characters, it forces staff to be precise and consise in their communications through that medium. Additionally, Twitter is great for cross-promotion of activities. Local organizations can retweet one another to increase awareness of events and activities.

From the readings this week, I certainly enjoyed hearing about the embedded twitter librarian, as well as ideas from improving your library’s program outreach through twitter. Especially pointing out that having some resources available that don’t require your followers to actually come to the library is great.

This week I’m going to close with some good examples of library and library staff twitter accounts that I enjoy following.

Some Great Library & Librarian Twitter Feeds:

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3 Responses to Microblogging and Twitter

  1. ASK says:

    Sarah, great idea about local organizations re-tweeting each other to create more awareness. That is a great use of Twitter. Thanks for providing the links!

  2. cmonnin says:

    HootSuite looks really interesting, I’ll have to keep that in mind. It would be a great tool for libraries who use multiple social networking platforms.

  3. katharine22 says:

    Your comment on librarians needing to keep their information concise on Twitter made me laugh – but it’s true. Plus, as a user, I’d much rather read something that is 140 characters or less, whereas I wouldn’t read a long blog posting. Something to keep in mind when creating these tools for a library.

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