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Twtter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter

Posted on March 10, 2007
Filed Under Future of Libraries, Web 2.0 |

First - 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.

Here’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).

So 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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20 Responses to “Twtter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter”

  1. Library Stuff » Blog Archives » Twitter at Conferences and More. on March 10th, 2007 10:53 am

    […] David Lee King has some thoughts on Twitter and libraries.  Posted in twitter | Trackback | | Top Of […]

  2. joshua m. neff on March 10th, 2007 11:18 am

    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.

  3. brad on March 10th, 2007 10:12 pm

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

  4. SplashCast: Channel Yourself Across the Web on March 10th, 2007 10:51 pm

    […] Twitter for librarians.  Cool, except where author recommends checking peoples’ Twitter feeds before hiring them!  Excuse me! […]

  5. Twittering So You Don’t Have To « The Other Librarian on March 11th, 2007 8:02 pm

    […] 11, 2007 in communications, technology David Lee King has  thankfully done the exploration here on Twitter, so I don’t have to — yet.    With the Library 2.0 Ning site and a […]

  6. Creative Librarian » Twitter for Librarians on March 11th, 2007 8:23 pm

    […] David Lee King » Blog Archive » Twtter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter […]

  7. wickedlibrarian on March 15th, 2007 12:26 pm

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

  8. davidleeking on March 15th, 2007 1:10 pm

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

  9. lo-fi librarian» Blog Archive » A Twitter Reader on March 17th, 2007 12:30 pm

    […] Twitter: what are the possibilities Library Clips; Still baffled about Twitter; Twitter explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter David Lee King; Twitter for non-profits: waste of time or potentially useful Beth’s Blog; Why […]

  10. Blogging & Originality « Life as I Know It on March 19th, 2007 7:21 pm

    […] even want to play around with it. However, I took note of those who were playing with - those who liked it, those who didn’t and those who found some real uses for it. I admit that I didn’t read […]

  11. Twitter explained for librarians « Librarian’s place on March 24th, 2007 2:46 pm

    […] Mar 24th, 2007 by maxine David Lee King » Blog Archive » Twtter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter […]

  12. lauren’s library blog » Blog Archive » links for 2007-04-21 on April 21st, 2007 12:39 am

    […] David Lee King » Blog Archive » Twtter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter things to think about if you’re wondering how twitter could be useful for libraries (tags: twitter libraries todo) […]

  13. barbie oyunu on April 28th, 2007 11:30 am

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

  14. LITA Blog » Blog Archive » Our space? on June 28th, 2007 11:31 am

    […] Twitter group got the largest crowd. Twitter with David Free and David Lee King. There were “too many daves” jokes. I did not join the table, but found the videos and […]

  15. oskar on July 30th, 2007 2:49 am

    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.


  16. iLibrarian » A Guide to Twitter in Libraries on August 17th, 2007 11:50 am

    […] David Lee King: Twtter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter […]

  17. NAG 2007 Conference workshop » "Self-plagiarism is style" on September 14th, 2007 8:52 am

    […] Twitter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter (David Lee King) […]

  18. Nina Simon on October 1st, 2007 12:30 pm

    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…

  19. #9 Twitter « 23challenge on October 4th, 2007 7:31 pm

    […] The Shifted Librarian has an excellent discussion of how twitter may be useful.  And David Lee King has a great list of uses library uses for twitter.  […]

  20. CILIP, York » "Self-plagiarism is style" on November 24th, 2007 12:07 pm

    […] "Twitter Explained for Librarians, or 10 ways to use Twitter" ("Micro-blogging") […]

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