Lesson # 8: Twitter

Each of this week’s articles offered a different perspective of twitter, deepening my understanding of the media platform and its culture, users, and possibilities for use in a library context.  I found that my experience and engagement with twitter supported what was expressed in the reading.  The information shared was more public, one way in its communication, and suited to mobile consumption and use. As a non-active tweeter, I discovered that engaging in twitter required some devotion of time to understand twitter specific jargon and use, i.e. RT, @, #, ow.lylg’CK3G.  As well, because twitter uses many acronyms, I required some additional effort to decipher meaning, i.e.# GBDA?, #VAWA? .  

Real-time information delivery to solve information needs in the Library context:

  I found twitter effective in soliciting and producing a real-time information stream, through posing the question, “What’s happening?” In scrolling through  the tweets I was able to appreciate the value of the real-time delivery of large amounts of data offering up crowd sourced topics of interest. Real-time specific tweeters who posed questions also provided opportunity for fellow tweeters to respond with real-time solutions. In one local posting, a user asked for help locating a missing dog, and another posting warned of traffic interruptions caused by an emergency water main break. This use of the platform for the provision of real-time information solutions in a library context was presented in article The Embedded Librarian.  In the article librarian Ellen Hampton Filgo offered information resources and sources to a university class through twitter, responding to in-class queries as they arose in real-time. Real-time solutions to information needs were also presented the article How Your Library May Not be Using Twitter But Should. Through the example of Tweet Style #5 “interact”, librarian David Kelly utilized the search tools of twitter to retrieve posts with the term library within a radius of 25 miles and offered solution to tweeters in real-time. However, In both cases the librarians discussed the time resource required to monitor and offer solution via twitter in real-time. The embedded librarian Ellen Hampton Filgo, realizing the heavy time resources required to deliver the service, looked for ways to scale the service for viability.

 Real-time delivery of the topics and thoughts of the body of twitter users also has value in offering crowd sourced relevant topics ideal for in house library displays and promotion of library materials by supplying non-digital library materials topical to the needs of library users.  This week’s trending topics such as the Oscars, Stomping Tom Connor’s death and Chevaz’s passing  would all be hot library items sought for circulation.

One way communication suitable for mobile technologies.

The platform’s ability in sharing one way communication ideally  suited for mobile consumption provides an opportunity for the library to easily promote the programmes and services and maintain a library presence in twitter. While scrolling through the postings I found many examples of libraries using twitter for the purpose of promoting library programmes such as an upcoming Appy Hour, teen video contests, March Break programming, author readings, and an invitation to flash mob at the local grocery store etc. This sort of promotional message is easily absorbed and consumed while passing the couple of minutes between our varied daily tasks (I personally appreciated this aspect of twitter). The article Twitter vs. Facebook provided an excellent overview of the different cultures and communities of the two platforms, emphasizing that the two do not necessarily overlap. It made me wonder: given the ability to post a single message across twitter and facebook quickly using hootsuite, what library wouldn’t?


        Kelly, David Allen. (2009). “How Your Library May Not Be Using Twitter But Should.”     Retrieved from: http://kellyd.com/2009/07/29/how-your-library-may-not-be-using-twitter-but-should/

Tagtmeier, Curt. Facebook vs. Twitter: Battle of the Social Network Stars. N.p.: Computers in Libraries, 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/sep10/Tagtmeier.shtml&gt;.


Young, Jeffery R. Embedded Librarian’ on Twitter Served as Information Concierge for Class. N.p.: n.p., 2011. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/embedded-librarian-on-twitter-served-as-information-concierge-for-class/30000&gt;.



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