Twitter Apps for the iPhone

I have been using Twitter’s iPhone app for iPhone tweeting … but since their recent update, the app hasn’t worked well for me. I just tested it – it took 5-6 seconds to open, then when I clicked on Connect, it took about 1 minute to actually show me any tweet replies. Every page of the app has been irritating that way.

So a couple nights ago, I asked some Twitter peeps what their favorite iPhone Twitter apps were … and received some great responses, including:

  • Tweetbot – this is the one I settled on for now. Why? The layout works for me, and Tweetbot does one thing I’ve wanted for awhile – have the main screen default to a list (see the accompanying screenshot) instead of the full timeline. I rarely follow the timeline feed. Instead, I created a shorter list of people I want to follow (ok – actually a few different lists), then follow that list. Makes twitter much easier to handle.
  • Echofon – I have used this early on. It’s still a really nice Twitter app.
  • Hootsuite for iPhone – I have this, but haven’t used it much. As far as I can tell, there is no Push setting. So, to see new Twitter replies using Hootsuite, you would need to open up Hootsuite and refresh to see if you received anything new (rather than just letting the Twitter app handle this via a Push). Not useful to me!
  • Osfoora – heard of it, never used it.
  • Twitter – the app made by Twitter that I just complained about…
  • Seesmic – never used the iPhone app.
  • Tweetdeck – I have it, but it’s been pretty buggy for me so I rarely use the iPhone version.
  • Tweetings – never heard of it.
  • … and the Twitter app for android, with a smiley face attached. I’m sure it’s dandy for all you Android users :-)

Is your Twitter app working for you? If not, try out one of these, and share what you like/don’t like about them!

Embeddable Tweets – What do they do?

Just testing out Twitter’s new “Embed this Tweet” feature. It lets me embed a tweet within my blog post. Here’s my example:

 

Interesting. It lets you:

  • See my Tweet in a more “twitter-like” format
  • follow me
  • reply, retweet, favorite

It’s sorta like you are on Twitter … outside of Twitter. Even cooler is this: since it’s not a screenshot, viewers/readers can actually click and follow/respond. It’s a simple way to prompt Twitter users to do that next step. Nice!

So – what do you think of Twitter’s new Embed this Tweet feature? Will you find ways to use it?

Promoting your Social Media Presence – Signage

Social Media icons
Social Media signage at TopekaLibrary

You’ve seen those “follow us on Facebook” signs at stores and restaurants, right? Or heard a radio dj mention following their radio station’s Twitter account on-air?

Guess what? Libraries can do the same thing!

As a first experiment, my library recently placed two “follow us” signs in our building – one at the main entrance to the library, and one on our administrative office doors (shown in the photo).

Why do this? Easy – it’s a relatively unobtrusive way to tell our customers that we have a social media presence, and that we want them to follow us. It’s also a way to link the physical to the digital – by promoting our digital presence (i.e., our Facebook Page) in our physical presence (i.e., our building).

Where else could we put these signs?

  • Our meeting rooms (maybe a stand-up card on a table)
  • Our cafe (stand-up card there, too)
  • In the stacks, with our books
  • As a background on our public PC monitors (we might do this)

One thing we can improve onKathryn Greenhill mentioned this to me recently – when you make a sign advertising your social media presence, make sure to include a URL or at least your social media name. Otherwise, people might not be able to find you (we were talking about this particular sign)! For example, my library’s full name is Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library … but we’re simply topekalibrary on social media sites. We’ll add that on the next version of the signs.

And a funny – watch the arrangement of your icons! We almost put the Facebook icon first … until someone in our Creative Group mentioned that we were spelling “F You[tube].” Certainly not our intent to tell customers to “F You!”

Like these ideas? Come hear more on November 2 at my ALA Techsource webinar on Facebook Pages! Make sure to register!

Interesting way to get some Twitter Stats

Just saw this thing called “You Are What You Tweet” from Visual.ly, which creates a personalized infographic for your Twitter account. I typed in my personal Twitter account (@davidleeking) to see what happened – but then thought it might be fun to add in my library’s Twitter account.

Here’s what came out – interesting stuff! The “face” of the library? Perhaps! But more importantly, this is a great, visual way to get some idea of what your library’s Twitter account looks like, statistically. Try it out!

Topeka, KS doesn’t like Social Media

screenshot of City of Topeka website
Topeka uses social media, right?

Wouldn’t it be weird if Google, KS blocked Google from their own computers?

Unfortunately, that just happened.

OK – it’s really Topeka, KS (Topeka renamed the city for that Google Fiber project). And they didn’t really block Google – they blocked Youtube (which Google owns).

But still – there’s some irony there, is there not?

Go read this newspaper article, City tightens control of employee Internet use. Then come back here, and let’s discuss.

Here’s what I find odd about the city’s recent decision to block staff access to social media sites:

Oddity #1:
“City spokesman David Bevens said the city prohibits employees from using their work computers to access YouTube, as well as the Facebook and Twitter social media sites, but some employees have nevertheless accessed YouTube on those computers … “

That’s got nothing to do with social media, and everything to do with employee performance. That’s sorta like saying “obesity has become a health issue at our organization, so we blocked employee lunches.” In other words, the city is dealing with the symptom, rather than with the real problem – in this case, employee performance. Blocking Youtube won’t fix that problem, I’m afraid.

Oddity #2:
“Stanley [interim city manager] said he was disappointed to learn the problem was directly related to the perceived need by some employees to access popular social media websites, such as YouTube and Facebook.”

It’s more than a “perceived need” – the city actually has official Youtube, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook accounts. So yeah – “some staff” definitely DO need access to those sites, to do actual work.

And since those social media sites are essentially official city channels, I’d go so far as to say all city employees need access to them. At work. Otherwise, the city is blocking official city communications … from city employees. Nicely done, Google, KS!

Oddity #3:
IT manager Mark Biswell is quoted as saying this: “While these websites have value in terms of information transfer and marketing, they also pose an organizational risk in terms of lost productivity and through the potential introduction of viruses and worms … “

First off, let’s deal with that perceived “lost productivity” thing. Recent studies actually show that employees have increased productivity if they have access to social media. Want more productive employees? Give em access to Facebook and Youtube.

Second, that virus and worms thing. Social media sites like Facebook and Youtube don’t become popular if they’re sending out tons of viruses – instead, they get sued (thanks for that thought, @billludwig!). I sincerely hope that most IT managers know that “viruses and worms” generally don’t come from social media sites like Youtube or Facebook. They come from spoofed sites, rogue links in forwarded emails … and from uneducated staff. A better way to approach computer security would be to 1. unblock Facebook and Youtube, and 2. Train staff on appropriate use of web technology, and how to NOT click on those weird links or ads.

Oddity #4:
One last thing. The IT manager is also quoted as saying this: “Biswell said that to balance risks with the informational value of using such sites, the city was taking a proactive approach by cataloguing and safely providing employees access to YouTube videos that have business value related to training and education … The approach is the same one used by educational institutions, he said.”

That’s because the people at “educational institutions” are, for the most part, kids. Don’t treat your adult employees like kids. ‘Nuff said.

So why write this?
Thankfully, I don’t work at a city library, so I haven’t had to deal with this. But some of you librarians have dealt with this, head on. Library Directors – don’t let this happen to you! At least be informed, so you can intelligently argue your points to city administrators, city IT managers, or a city attorney. I’d love to hear from some libraries who successfully argued their points, and were able to keep or get library access to social media sites.

In other news, on Friday I tweeted a question to the City via their official Twitter channel, asking them how they were going to respond to my question, since they are now blocked from using Twitter.

Still no Twitter reply. I wonder why?