We love our technology, but in some ways we are taking the old road.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thing 27 - Twitter

Library assignment alert!

Thing 27 was about Twitter. I signed up for Twitter after reading the huge amount of information about it first. My username is "betsytor", for "Betsy at The Old Road". At first I put my real first and last name in my profile, but I reconsidered after putting the Twitter badge on my blog. I don't want it to be that easy for someone to find me. So I changed to just my real first name.

I uploaded the picture from my blog as my avatar. I allowed it to do the search of my Gmail e-mail addresses and found one person to follow that way. Someone else I know posted her Twitter username on Facebook and invited everyone to follow her, so I did. I found another couple of people I know. I added the recommended institutions. I did a few searches (libraries, sustainable farming, and peanut allergy) to see what people were saying. And I've sent out a few tweets. I'm trying to keep my tweets focused on library/book topics, my blog and its topics, and food allergies, so that I'm not updating it with things like "betsytor is getting ready for a birthday party." I already use Facebook that way.

I can't say yet whether I like it or not. So I guess my answer is "ambivalent." Facebook grabbed me right away and kept me interested, but so far Twitter has not. If I find some interesting people to follow or find some things I can be interesting at, it could get better. Everything's just so short. If I knew someone's updates would be a good newsfeed for me, I'd be more captivated.

I can really see how Twitter would be a good PR tool for libraries. It would be a good way to advertise and remind people of events. You could post new acquisitions. You could post links to significant stories. What you post would depend on your type of library, but it could work like a brief, up-to-the-minute newsletter. It wouldn't even have to be time-consuming for the staff member doing it, because there's no layout to struggle with; type a sentence on the computer and you're done.

It could be useful to me as a blogger/writer. I would actually never have known that without the YouTube videos we watched. I could draw attention to my blog. I could become a person who posts lots of useful links on particular topics. It's another way of creating a public presence if you want to be known for something.

I've already suggested setting up a Twitter account to the leader of a group I belong to, and I think I'll make that suggestion to another. When you have a public group/organization that wants to let people know it exists, when its events are, what news stories are coming out on its main subject matter, Twitter is a new way to do that.

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