Activity 6 – Using Twitter
I have noticed that there is a divide with regards to Twitter: those who use it (not all may love it, but they see some sort of value in the service) and those who fail to see a point to it. I often hear people say, “Why would I want to know what so-and-so is doing?”. The prevailing assumption among non-users often appears to be that Twitter is an over-hyped status update tool, but to believe so is to overlook the means of communication that the site provides.
Twitter is not a status update feed; it is a micro-blogging site. While much of the content on Twitter may be irrelevant to many (as with much of the web), the Library of Congress deemed it a potential avenue for future research into society and culture, acquiring the right to archive Twitter’s content in 2010 (Read more here). Twitter provides users with an outlet through which to communication on all manner of topics and tracks these topics through the use of hash tags to note trends based on tagged keywords.
Using Twitter for ILI
For librarians that want to stay connected with users, but do not have the time to publish meaningful content on a blog, micro-blogging may be the answer. Many libraries use Twitter to keep their patrons informed about events, closures, and other relevant news; but librarians can also keep track of current events and happenings to cite during instruction sessions. One way to do this is to use the Twitter trending menu, which lists the most used phrases and terms on Twitter (these are often tied to major national or international events, or to pop culture). Trends can also be searched. Knowing what patrons may be interested in is one way to connect with them and bring useful, relevant topics to the instruction session.
In addition, as with many social networking tools, Twitter provides an opportunity for professional development in ILI and ways to connect with fellow librarians interested in ILI and/or how to use social media in libraries.
I use Twitter as a feed and as a means to promote my own content. My tweets can be found here: @thingssheread