Category Archives: Micro-Content: Twitter & More

A Twitter Tale

Amanda Clay Powers writes:

i’m following 51 people on twitter. today one of them “tweeted” that it was shawerma wednesday at shaherazad, our local mediterrenean restaurant. i love shawerma wednesday, but i’d forgotten all about it.

when i signed up for twitter it was an experiment. i looked for everyone at msu and in starkville–there weren’t many–and “followed” all of them. and then they “followed” me. i started getting updates about when exams were happening (and what people were doing to de-stress!). then mpbonline and the clarion ledger started following me. mississippi public broadcasting is doing some pretty cool things, it turns out.

then i went to ala in anaheim this year and found some friends to follow there. i roomed with warmaiden who was hooked in with lots of cool library-type twitterers. so now i’m following folks that are doing really interesting emerging technology library-type things. and they twitter about them. it turns out you can get a lot of information–or at least a tiny url–into the 140 character micro-blogging limit.

now i get updates on emerging technologies, news from public radio in mississippi, along with a peek inside the undergraduate’s mind. and i got my shawerma today for lunch for just $3.50 thanks to willbryantplz.

so now i have to figure out if it can work for our library. what kind of information would people want who are following a library’s tweets? who would be following them? or would it just be an rss feed we could put on our site somewhere with updates? the clarion ledger and uiuc undergrad library both do that. but what would our patrons want to know? here’s a list of potentially good information:

    1. when anything is closing early or closed for a holiday, etc.
    2. when the network is down.
    3. when we have an event in the library (?).
    4. when we have an interesting workshop in the library (?).
    5. when we post pictures on flickr (?).
    6. when printers are down or other equipment.
    7. news at the library.
    8. when podcasts are released.
    9. major new resources/databases at the library.
    10. new blog entries?
    11. hmmm…?

Twitter: Love it or Hate It?

I have a new post up at ALA TechSource:

http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2008/07/the-ala-annual-tweet-report.html

And, I must confess: I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the ALA Annual 2008 Twitterverse that sprang up for those few days in late June. It fascinated me to see the power of such a simple and, yes, overburdened, tool. Micro-blogging has found a place amongst LIS workers and even through outages and downtime, the tweets from ALA marched on. “I credit Twitter for helping make this my best ALA yet. More connected. Too many people to see, places to be, but I read tweets,” responded Brenda Hough to my tweeted requests for “interviews” for this post. The call via Twitter and at TTW prompted many useful, hilarious and telling responses. Others helped out via comments at TTW and in personal email.

Looking at the tweets and responses, patterns emerge of how the tool was used and how people responded to it.  The functions of Twitter at a conference such as ALA include:

  • Reporting On Sessions
  • Meeting Up & Making Plans
  • Commentary & Transparency
  • Finding New Ideas
  • Simply Fun Observations & Connections
I concluded with:  I will certainly advocate for more reporting, more wry observation, playing nice and much more fun for sure.

Read the whole post for an examination of each of those functions. But, also give some attention to some other functions of Twitter: too much noise and the potential to do harm – that’s the “playing nice” part. I think for TechSource I took the happy road, because I was very “up” on how folks were using the tool at ALA. Maybe I should have included a bit about what a colleague calls “the dark side.” I would hate to see people get hurt because of snarky tweets during conference presentations or in general. I always remember something Jessamyn West blogged: Use your powers for good. I hope we use our Twitter powers for good.

Will Richardson read my mind:

Whether it’s some people getting a little snippy from time to time and then other people making a way-too-huge-a-deal about it, or whether it’s two very smart people like Gary and Sheryl blowing out a Tweet-a-minute micro debate about the state of education in this country, or whether it’s people trying to live Tweet hour-long presentations that turn into like 347 updates, I’m finding anything that hints of substance just too scattered, too disjointed to read, even with the wonders ofTweetdeck. It’s like trying to eavesdrop on the conversation of a bunch of people with really bad cell phone reception, hearing a part of one response ’til it cuts out into the other. Frustrating.

And I can’t help feeling like it’s just making all of us, myself included, lazy. We’ve lamented this before, this “fact” that the whole community is blogging less since Twitter, engaging less deeply, it seems. Reading less. Maybe it’s just me (again) or maybe it’s my long term attachment to this blogging thing and my not so major attachment to texting, but it feels like the “conversation” is evolving (or would that be devlolving) into pieces instead of wholes, that the connections and the threads are unraveling, almost literally. That while, on some level, the Twitterverse feels even more connected, in reality it’s breaking some of the connectedness.

Read his whole post here: http://weblogg-ed.com/2008/what-i-hate-about-twitter/

As a response to Will, I think a few things are happening. Lots of folks are using Twitter and talking about how they are using it (guilty here). It’s the tool du jour (or maybe FriendFeed is?). But I also see that many of us have slowed down blogging. Could be summer. Could be other newer tools. it could also be that there are hundreds if not thousands of biblioblogs out there, making the conversation broad and deep but also HUGE to try to follow.

What do you think?

Ellyssa Krsoki on Twitter in SLJ

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6573999.html

“Twitter is just one of the Web 2.0 technologies that we are using to engage students within our traditional Web page (www.pasadena.edu/library),” says Mary Ann Laun, assistant dean of library services at Shatford. “We highlight events, interesting stats, and curious facts in an effort to call attention to some of the great things happening in the library. From announcements such as ‘the system is down, ask for help at the Reference desk’ to special events, we have fun conveying quick messages to students.”

Twitter can also help promote a blog, whether you’re an individual or an organization—like YALSA. The Young Adult Library Services Association (a division of the American Library Association) uses a service called Twitterfeed to automatically generate tweets from its blog posts (twitter.com/yalsa). The result: instant content for YALSA’s Twitter profile—no extra work required—and extended marketing of the YALSA blog.

Missouri River (www.mrrl.org) is another Twitterfeed user. In addition to its blog posts, the library uses the service to import its Flickr photostream. The alternative would have been costly, according to Robin Hastings, Missouri River’s information technology manager.

“We find that [Twitterfeed] has saved us from having to create the infrastructure for a dedicated alert service that will get announcements out to patrons in the format they want—text, IM, or email—or pay someone else to do the announcing for us,” says Hastings. “[Twitter] is a new channel of communication to our patrons that is easy to use and free.”

Don’t miss the whole article!