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David Lee King

Twitter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter



good bookFirst – what is twitter?
Think of Twitter like a personal IM account that can be shared with everyone. Once you have a Twitter account set up, you can send short IM, SMS, or web-based messages to Twitter. Others who are marked as your friends or followers receive those messages. And there’s a public timeline that displays everything everyone is texting (there’s also an option to keep messages private, and to send messages only to individuals, which triggers an email).

It’s growing rapidly in popularity right now among the uber tech geeks of the world because… well, just because. It’s a geek fad, if you will. And SXSWi (an emerging tech/web 2.0 conference) is going on right now, and everyone there is apparently having fun with Twitter.

Second, for the library part
Apparently, some in the library blogosphere are questioning why they should pay attention to twitter, and are wondering how it can be useful to libraries.

good bookHere’s what I’d say to that. Simply stated, if you’re asking why you should pay attention, you probably don’t need to. It’s not an interest of yours, and that’s cool. I didn’t have a facebook account for a long time for the same reasons – I simply couldn’t think of a good reason to get one, so I didn’t (I have one now). I have a linkdin account, but don’t do much with it (ie., I probably didn’t need one).

And that’s ok. With emerging trends, you really should play with the stuff you’re interested in, and let others mess with things that don’t interest you. But then – and this is important – SHARE. So with Twitter, I’ll watch twitter and tell you if I find something useful for libraries. You go watch something else, and report back, too – that’s how the blogosphere works! Make sense?

And third, what in the world might twitter be useful for? Here are my 10 Ways to Use Twitter:

  1. staying in touch with geek friends and colleagues
  2. Using private messages – then it’s really about staying in touch with true friends and family (that is, if your friends and family sms and IM frequently)
  3. keeping up-to-date with emerging tools (remember – Flickr started out as a silly web photography game, not the amazing social tool it’s turned into)
  4. News updates – CNN and BBC both have twitter feeds (ooh – a library use!)
  5. loosely following a well-wifi’d geek/techie conference
  6. Following the thought processes of emerging tech trend thinkers. Ex – Robert Scoble has a twitter account and over 1000 friends. He’s been asking his friends questions – and getting 1000 replies. Think of how blog posts and comments and trackbacks work – but on steroids. Instead of waiting a day or so for other thoughts, with twitter you get them within the hour, tops. Setup correctly, that could prove to be an amazing “collective brain current awareness” database that you could tap at any time.
  7. when interviewing someone for a job, check to see if they twitter – then check their twitter feed just like you’d google them and check their blog (if they had one)
  8. Check out a potential colleague’s twitter feed to see if you’d personally like them or not
  9. twitter as a personal note bucket – send yourself random thoughts that you don’t want to lose. They’re stored in your account’s history!
  10. Current awareness search tool. For this to work, Twitter would need a search engine (which I don’t think it has) or something like Google would need to be used. SO a bit of a dream here… BUT stay with me here for a sec. With Flickr, you can troll the popular tags feature and see what’s going on in the world. I’m assuming that with Twitter, if something BIG happens, people using Twitter would be texting about it. That could be an amazing resource to get the “feel of the streets” during a major event (cool, another library use).

good bookSo there you go. Right now, I think Twitter is simply fun – and sorta funny, too (I found out that Steve Lawson just made pancakes!). But I also think it’s an interesting emerging social tool to watch – if nothing else, it’s helping me stay current with emerging social trends.

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  • Pingback: Library Stuff » Blog Archives » Twitter at Conferences and More.()

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com/ joshua m. neff

    Thanks for proving me right when I suggested that if librarians play with Twitter (or any other new tech toy/tool), we’ll start to find ways to apply it to library service.

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com joshua m. neff

    Thanks for proving me right when I suggested that if librarians play with Twitter (or any other new tech toy/tool), we’ll start to find ways to apply it to library service.

  • brad

    You won me over, David. I signed up for Twitter and just sent an update via my cell phone.

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  • wickedlibrarian

    I’m all bummed because it looks like Twitter isn’t available anymore. Think it’ll be back?

  • wickedlibrarian

    I’m all bummed because it looks like Twitter isn’t available anymore. Think it’ll be back?

  • davidleeking

    It’s still there… just not working well on IM.

  • davidleeking

    It’s still there… just not working well on IM.

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  • http://www.minikbarbie.com/ barbie oyunu

    It’s still there… just not working well on IM

  • http://www.minikbarbie.com barbie oyunu

    It’s still there… just not working well on IM

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  • http://drupal.documenatdos.com/ oskar

    I think that twitter is not a easy tool for librarians, first only 2 o 3 from the 10 points work well with the librarians.

    the rest, to be conect with other people is the same that works with a msn like software. And people think that the chats is not work, so well be hard to get them in a library.

    Oskar

  • http://drupal.documenatdos.com oskar

    I think that twitter is not a easy tool for librarians, first only 2 o 3 from the 10 points work well with the librarians.

    the rest, to be conect with other people is the same that works with a msn like software. And people think that the chats is not work, so well be hard to get them in a library.

    Oskar

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  • http://www.museumtwo.com/ Nina Simon

    It’s funny to see this is one of your most popular posts–a similar post is one of my most popular over at Museum 2.0.

    Beyond being a trend, I think Twitter can be used successfully in museums and libraries to bring to the surface the real-time pulse of the place. Imagine a library where you can access that institution’s tweets from the main page of any terminal, and see that one guy is grokking Steinbeck while another is finding a job while someone has puked in the corner…

  • http://www.museumtwo.com Nina Simon

    It’s funny to see this is one of your most popular posts–a similar post is one of my most popular over at Museum 2.0.

    Beyond being a trend, I think Twitter can be used successfully in museums and libraries to bring to the surface the real-time pulse of the place. Imagine a library where you can access that institution’s tweets from the main page of any terminal, and see that one guy is grokking Steinbeck while another is finding a job while someone has puked in the corner…

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  • http://www.cromple.com/ Fatima

    I feel so out of left field. I never really knew anything about twitter, today I have learned so much about it though. Guess I owe it all to the power of the search engine.

  • http://www.cromple.com Fatima

    I feel so out of left field. I never really knew anything about twitter, today I have learned so much about it though. Guess I owe it all to the power of the search engine.

  • http://omahapubliclibrary.org/ Rivkah Sass

    I adore Twitter. I love the short, sweet posts, and the fact that it allows me to post random thoughts–after I’ve seen a movie, during the news, etc.

  • http://omahapubliclibrary.org Rivkah Sass

    I adore Twitter. I love the short, sweet posts, and the fact that it allows me to post random thoughts–after I’ve seen a movie, during the news, etc.

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  • http://brendab.edublogs.org/ Brenda Branson

    Hi David, just read your post and I’m a Twitterer- nt sure that’s good term??? As a school media specialist, it is very important to at least be aware of and have a working knowledge of as much Web 2.0 as possible. Whether you want to use it or not.

    YOu know, I wish all my teachers would Twitter. So many times I think of something I need to tell them and it’d be so much quicker than a phone call or email.

  • http://brendab.edublogs.org Brenda Branson

    Hi David, just read your post and I’m a Twitterer- nt sure that’s good term??? As a school media specialist, it is very important to at least be aware of and have a working knowledge of as much Web 2.0 as possible. Whether you want to use it or not.

    YOu know, I wish all my teachers would Twitter. So many times I think of something I need to tell them and it’d be so much quicker than a phone call or email.

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  • Biblojo

    search tweets using TweetScan

    I wonder if twhirl woudl solve the serach issue??
    just trying I out myself so don’t know HOW well it finds, . .. yet :-)
    happy day
    Jo

  • Biblojo

    search tweets using TweetScan

    I wonder if twhirl woudl solve the serach issue??
    just trying I out myself so don’t know HOW well it finds, . .. yet :-)
    happy day
    Jo

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  • Media specialist

    How do we ever get around all the filters (I know proxys) and dinosaurish thinking from the administration when working with the teens that would love to have this? Great stuff, but we are dealing with an audience that people want to protect, but have no idea that these kids are doing so much more out of their view.

  • Media specialist

    How do we ever get around all the filters (I know proxys) and dinosaurish thinking from the administration when working with the teens that would love to have this? Great stuff, but we are dealing with an audience that people want to protect, but have no idea that these kids are doing so much more out of their view.

  • http://m8nd1.blogspot.com/ Mandy

    Summize.com searches all twitter posts, and you can get an RSS feed from the query so makes it quite easy to follow, although not as immediate. Apparently (so twitter tells me) summize has just been bought out by twitter so they may become more aligned as time goes on..

  • http://m8nd1.blogspot.com Mandy

    Summize.com searches all twitter posts, and you can get an RSS feed from the query so makes it quite easy to follow, although not as immediate. Apparently (so twitter tells me) summize has just been bought out by twitter so they may become more aligned as time goes on..

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