#5000 Tweets: What’s that Done for Me?


I started experimenting with Twitter on March 6, 2007 (I am @davidleeking on Twitter), and I have just posted my 5000th tweet! What’s that gotten me, exactly? Actually quite a few things, including friends, connections to people, and some actual work, too.

First for some normal stat type things. Right now, I have:

  • been included on 250 lists (mostly on librarian, kansas, rockstar, and social media lists)
  • created 4 lists of my own (that 20 people follow)
  • compiled a huge list of favorites
  • Also compiled 417 DMs that I need to delete but haven’t yet – most are other Twitter followers, saying something like “thanks for the follow, please click here” :-) But some are more relevant, like working out details of conferences I helped plan or some more personal conversations that didn’t need to be broadcast.

But how about those connections? Twitter isn’t about stats – it’s all about connecting with people. How has that looked over those 5000 tweets?

I have made some new friends through Twitter, and have kept up connections to people that I’ve met once or twice (like @shelitwits or @ifroggy).

Twitter has also given me connections to some smart “popular” people that I follow elsewhere, and normally wouldn’t have direct access to. People like Chris Brogan, Beth Kanter, and Kathy Sierra. They sometimes reply to my tweets – and in this way, Twitter has leveled out the playing field a bit. For the most part, people I want to talk to are a reply away.

I am also connected to lots of friends and colleagues, librarians, local friends and acquaintances, and other people sharing my love of social media tools.

That “actual work” thing. I have done real work that is connected to Twitter. Work that includes:

  • Overseeing three work-related Twitter accounts
  • Creating some goals for our primary library twitter account
  • I have written and spoken about Twitter. I have given at least three presentations on Twitter, and have written about Twitter in my book and in more than one magazine article.
  • When I have a work-related question? I sometimes go to Twitter first, and get quick, useful responses within minutes.
  • I use Twitter at conferences for discussion, committee planning, and (of course) dinner planning!
  • Remember when my library went through that book challenge last year? I tweeted the public meetings, and even “Twitter trended.”

Other general silliness, from TweetStats:

  • I generally tweet in the mornings and late afternoons
  • I tweeted the most during the library’s book challenge about 1 year ago
  • I average 6.1 tweets a day
  • I use Tweetdeck a lot
  • I have had 21 twooshes (a 140-character tweet, according to Tweetstats)!

So … looking back, has it been a useful 5000 tweets? I think so. I have made some friends via twitter. I have talked to people about projects, worked through ALA stuff, and shared things that interested me. I have shared jokes, sent links to my blog posts … and had fun.

p.s. – did you know that people tweet about their 5000th tweet? I sure didn’t… !

Twitter wordle screenshot


Purdue Adds Twitter & Facebook Participation to Classes

Found this at Mashable – “Students at Purdue University are experimenting with a new application developed at the school called Hotseat that integrates Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging to help students “backchannel” during class.”

I’ve certainly seen some good uses of status updates during conferences, from discussions about a presenter’s content, to asking questions of other people in multiple committees during an ALA Annual conference, to … yes … planning for lunch with friends.

But this could be a pretty useful tool – from the simple “what did he say again” types of questions, to thinking “out loud” about content …

Cool project! It will be an interesting one to watch, to be sure.

IL2009: Micro Interactions, Conversations, and Customers

My part of this session is above… I introduced the concept and talked about the variety of interactions available using social networks.

Up next was Amy Kearns and Julie Strange, talking about: Tweet What? 5 sweet ways to connect in 140 characters or less. Notes below:

Searching for tweets with a positive/negative attitude – sentiment at advanced search of search.twitter.com

showing examples of types of tweets from libraries

Twitter can be embedded anywhere…

1. use it for reference
2. connect for customer service
3. broadcast news & events
4. solicit feedback
5. broaden professional networks
6. harness the hive

Lists overview

Tweet Like you Mean it! Twitter Strategies for Tweeps

I am one part of a 3-person preconference session at Internet Librarian 2009 that’s focused completely on Twitter! Here’s my part of the session – enjoy!

How Not to Tweet

how not to do twitter

Update: Cynthia Gregory, who works at MSJ Library, added some helpful info – check out the comments! Basically, they locked the account when they initially set it up, and I saw it during the set-up process … and apparently Twitter suggests followers for new users (I don’t think it did that when I signed up). So I’m glad – MSJ Library seems to be on the way to a great Twitter account. Again – not picking on them, and I think there’s some good stuff to ponder in my post (’cause I HAVE seen other organizational Twitter accounts that are locked). As always, your mileage may vary!

Every once in awhile, a library follows me on Twitter. When they do, I usually check out their Twitter feed (but rarely follow them). And every once in awhile, I see something like this.

This isn’t “Pick on MSJLibrary Day” – I’m sure they’re a fine library, and I commend them for jumping into Twitter to figure it out. But maybe this post will help other libraries as they work on figuring out social media sites like Twitter.

What are they doing right?

  • Named themselves with a form of their library’s name. They’re the library at the College of Mount St. Joseph.
  • Added a picture of their library
  • Added a web link to their library website
  • Their bio is great: “Helping You Research, Learn & Connect”

What are they doing wrong?

  • Updates are locked/protected. This means that no one gets to see their updates unless they follow MSJLibrary … and MSJLibrary has to approve all follows. This is bad. Most Twitter users want to see someone’s tweets before they start following that user, so it’s an added hassle to send a follow request/wait for the request to be approved/then check out the tweets. I’d rather not bother with it. But more importantly – they have, in essence, locked their front door. I’m guessing they don’t do that at the physical building … so why do it here?
  • Following the wrong people. Look at their following list – They are following other libraries, CNN, ALA, me, National Geographic, etc. Only about 3 of the 35 tweeps they’re following are in any way related to Cincinnati. But a quick search shows LOTS of Cincinnati-related twitter accounts. And a search in something like TwitDir or a “near:cincinnati within:15mi” search in Twitter Search finds LOTS of Twitter users int he Cincinnati area. It makes more sense to me for a Cincinnati-based academic library to follow other people/organizations located in Cincinnati. Extra credit if they follow MSJ students or other MSJ-related accounts (which they’re not).
  • I said their bio was great … but since they’re locked, it doesn’t make much sense – they can’t help you connect if you CAN”T connect!

And I should say this – there’s nothing wrong with following me, CNN, ALA, or the National Geographic. In fact, following others is a great way to start figuring out how to use Twitter. But when you test out a new service using your organization’s name (ie., MSJLibrary), the organization ends up looking a bit less than professional. Start off learning … but use a personal account to do it (and for the record, I’ve killed more than one service at my library for that very reason).

Before you create an organizational account, do some planning and goal setting. Answer these questions:

  • What do you want to get out of it?
  • Why are you setting it up?
  • Who’s going to maintain the account?
  • Who’s going to answer tweets?
  • Who do you plan to connect with?

Answer these (then stick with the plan for awhile), and you’ll be well on your way to organization twitter success.