This lesson was so practical and hands-on for me. Aren’t they all? 🙂 However, I knew beforehand that while I have had a Twitter account for a few months, I have not been using it effectively. Oh, and as an aside, I didn’t realize that I was microblogging every time I post a status on Facebook. It does make sense, once you think about the word – micro (small) and blogging.
I didn’t understand how to use hashtags, although I knew the term and knew it something about categorizing words and/or ideas. Sounds rather like something a librarian would like! Once I read more in depth about them, I learned that it is really quite simple and effective! I really liked the article from the New Yorker magazine, linked from the Twitter hashtag info page. I love the author’s muttered-into-a-handkerchief usage. I really didn’t know the subtleties of Twitter usage. I’m quite excited about this! I am beginning to understand why Twitter appears to be so popular. Although, as Diane Neal pointed out in her blog, there are reportedly only 5% of US Internet users using Twitter an any given day. This data is from August 2011, so it is possible the statistics may be changing. It still does seem like a low number. I’d love to do a little poll of our LIS 9763 class. If you are an avid Twitter user, meaning accessing Twitter most days, would you mind leaving a little comment below? Are we at the 5% mark, just in our little class of 20 or so people? I have posted very few tweets, although I do count myself in the 5% that check it every day. There are a few things that I follow that I really don’t want to miss. I am a news junkie, so I follow local and international news outlets as well as some library related groups. In addition, my son’s Grade 6 teacher tweets every day about homework and class expectations so I need to keep up with that to know what’s going on.
Rather than sign up for something new, I decided to further explore Twitter and begin to use it more actively, rather than continue to be a passive observer. I will still keep my tweets to a library or technology-related nature, as I know if I start a personal Twitter account “for fun” I will get lost in it. Time is already at a premium at this point in my life. I decided to do a search for #library and found an huge number of great library-related sites. Or are they called accounts? I chose a few to follow, a range of library related sites to keep me informed and, dare I say, entertained? I will do the same with technology themes as well, but for now, I have added the following:
- School library Journal @sljournal
- Sarah Houghton @TheLib (librarian in black)
- RUSA (ALA) @ala_rusa
- Nancy Pearl @Nancy_Pearl
- Anne Marie Aikens @femwriter (manages media/communications at Toronto Public Library)
- OLA Staff @ONLibraryAssoc
- JobList Library Jobs @ALA_JobLIST (I am curious to see what the job descriptions entail – perhaps it will help guide me in my choices of classes in this programs. As a part-time student, I will be at Western for quite some time)
- Edmonton Public Library @EPLdotCA
- The London Library @theLondonLib (as in, London, England. I love to hear about international libraries and news. I am one of those people who wants to visit the local library wherever I am. Can we say #worldlibrariesfieldtrip?)
I’d be curious to hear what YOU are following in library world.
In considering microblogging for libraries, I have come to the conclusion that this is something worth exploring. David Kelly’s article was enlightening and states the value of different types of tweets for libraries. I really like the idea of not only promoting events (creatively, too!), but also promoting the collection. Why not promote something, say a book about a movie or an event? Some people may not have even thought about the library to supplement their information/entertainment needs. Of great importance, I believe, is the interaction between a library and its followers. Of course, this takes time and effort from cash and time strapped libraries.
I do think that libraries may need to find a balance between Facebook and Twitter use, although with an app such as TweetDeck you can send your tweet directly to Facebook. Libraries need to consider if they want this content to be the same or not. As always, no matter what we do in libraries, we always need to consider the following: Who are we currently reaching? Who do we want to reach? What do we want to say? Finally, How are we going to say it?