Twitter for Internal Communication: A TTW Guest Post by Mick Jacobsen 14

At the Skokie Public Library Twitter has become a nimble, extremely quick, and easy to use internal communication device.  A small group of Skokie employees use Twitter to bounce ideas off one another, solve simple issues such as “how do I check something out to missing,” and even answer reference questions.

What makes me excited about this use of Twitter?  First it came about totally on its own, nobody planned to use Twitter as a means of communicating.  Second is the mass effect of Twitter.  I can send a question to many and not have to worry about one particular person being away from their phone/email.  The third is the chance of transparency (this is Tame the Web after all).  Anybody who wishes can follow and contribute (like you if you want, and why wouldn’t you, lots of cool ideas are being discussed) to what is going on at the SPL.

I find it hard to believe that the SPL is the only library that has started using Twitter for internal communication.  I would be interested in hearing what others are discussing and how it came about.  I have also recently read about a few companies that are selling internal style Twitter clones and I am curious whether anybody is considering using something of that nature.

Read this awesome story as an example of how Twitter is being used in the private sector

Oddly enough, as I write this, one of Michael’s LIS768 group just finished presenting about Twitter.

Feel free follow some of the Twittering Skokie librarians: (this is me)

Mick Jacobsen is Adult Services Librarian at the Skokie Public Library.

14 thoughts on “Twitter for Internal Communication: A TTW Guest Post by Mick Jacobsen

  • Helen

    We use Yammer for internal comms. With a Twhirl-alike Adobe AIR app. Though I can’t say it has really caught on yet – a lot of people are unfamiliar with Twitter, and unsure of how to use this tool, or why they should when they can just use email lists…

  • Peter Bromberg


    I’m curious about the specifics. If you are using twitter for internal communications, does this mean that you (personally) ONLY use twitter for in-library use? If not, wouldn’t your tweets regarding SPL go out to all of your Twitter friends? And wouldn’t this be true for all SPL employees?

    It seems as if you’d have to either:
    1) All only use twitter for internal communication only, thus preventing you from tweeting with others, or
    2) (if you wanted to tweet within and without of the organization) you’d need to set up two twitter profiles (one SPL, one personal) and monitor both.

    I feel like maybe I’m missing something obvious, but can you talk a little bit more about how you integrate (or not) your internal twitter use with external twitter use? It seems like friendfeed, with it’s ability to set up separate rooms, might lend itself more to use for internal organizational communication.

    Signed, Curious in Gibbsboro

  • Mick Jacobsen


    All good points. What we are doing is using twitter as an library (internal was probably a bad choice of words) communication device which also includes everybody else that follows us on Twitter. A few of the people following me have given me useful information/ideas for work subjects (I use Twitter mostly professionally).

    This use of Twitter at the SPL came about very organically and spontaneously. We did not plan to use it a library communication device it just, well, kind of happened.

    I agree Friendfeed or Shout-em may in fact be a better way of doing this. I wrote this blog entry as more of a question less of as an answer. If we decide to make this an official means of communication (kind of like a help button at the Ref. desk) I believe we would go with another option.

  • Rich

    A friend of mine recently mentioned GroupTweet as a tool for keeping tweets private within a group. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like another way to use Twitter within an organization. Anyone have any experience with it?

  • Toby


    I’m one of Mick’s co-workers, and one of the people who has been using Twitter as a means of getting help on the desk. So far, we’ve all made judicious use of our own internal filter when tweeting online. As Mick said, most of the work-related questions are tied into brainstorming, or if a reference/readers’ advisory question is beyond our grasp. In both cases, tapping into the brainjuice of the collective is quite useful.

    (I should also mention that most of use employ some kind of plugin that gives us a steady stream of updates. I use TwitterFox, which sits in the bottom corner of my browser and lets me know when new Tweets come in. For me, it’s a great way to be passively aware of the zeitgeist.)

    The library does have its own Twitter account (skokielibrary), but we use that in a more passive sense. I took our Events RSS feed and plugged in to Twitter Feed, so we can easily broadcasting our upcoming programs. I then use Twitter Search and Twitter Local to keep an eye on Tweeters in the area, or who might be Tweeting about Skokie. I’ll check on this every hour or so, and if I see an opportunity for outreach, I’ll respond accordingly from the library’s Twitter account.

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