Twitter can seem intimidating, even inane. And there's no doubt that, as with any form of communication, there's a lot of noise out there in the Twit-o-sphere. So here are some useful links that will help you cut through the noise and make twitter a more useful part of your professional life.
WeFollow is a useful site that allows users to "tag" themselves with various terms, and then indexes those terms, ranking users by popularity and influence. Here are two examples of WeFollow lists that can be of use to librarians:
I like to use these kinds of directories to get a lay of the land -- click through to a few profiles, and see what's being said. Find someone whose voice and perspective you like, or who is posting links that are useful to you. Then, see who they follow. Find out what they're reading. Or look to see what lists they're on or what lists they've made for themselves.
You can also use lists. Lists are relatively new on twitter. Basically, anyone with a twitter account can create a list, using any criteria, from "Media Leaders" to "Men with Mustaches." The user can place any other Twitter user on that list, which can then be accessed by anyone from the listmaker's profile, from the profile of anyone listed, or from the profile of people who follow the list. It's a great way of organizing types information into one place.
Here's a list a user called MarianLiberryan put together of library professionals: http://twitter.com/MarianLiberryan/libraryfolk
And with lists, rather than following all the individuals listed, you can opt to just follow the list. This means that you can easily access the list from your twitter page, but that the tweets coming through on the list aren't fed into your main twitter feed. Creating a list is a great way to organize the kinds of information coming through your twitter feed and to keep yourself organized.
Here are a few of the libraries and librarians that I follow on Twitter:
Libraries and Organizations:
LibGig (Library job listings!)
Librarians and Information Professionals:
David Lee King (Digital Branch and Services Manager at a library in KS)
Justin Librarian (a Teen Services Librarian in NJ)
Type A Librarian (Jennifer Hrusch, a Library Manager in OH)
ALALibraryVal (Valerie Hawkins, Library Reference Specialist at the ALA)
But what about you? How can you, as a library professional or LIS student, join in on the ongoing discussion?
Here are some of the ways that Twitter can be used to augment your online presence:
And here are some tips.
- As with blogging, don't spam. Reply to other's posts, but don't engage at random. Try to contribute.
- Re-tweet! Pass along information that you think is useful, interesting, or funny. You don't have to comment, but make sure you cite who you got it from.
- Know when to self-censor -- try not to get caught up in petty arguments or compromise patron confidentiality.
- Engage with the wider world. Is True Blood a trending topic? Recommend readers check out "Dead Until Dawn."
- Be yourself! Tweet about what interests you, and try to convey enthusiasm through your posts.
Brown, L. (Fall 2008) "Twittering Libraries" LIS 5313 Wiki.
Cole, S. (June 15, 2009) "20 Ways For Librarians to Use Twitter" Library Journal. Vol, 134, Issue 11. p 25.
Kroski, E. (July, 1, 2008) "All A Twitter" School Library Journal
McManus, R. (November 10, 2009) "40% of People 'Friend' Brands on Facebook" Read Write Web.
Thompson, C. (September 5, 2009), "The Brave New World of Digital Intimacy" New York Times Magazine.
100 Best Twitter Feeds for Librarians of the Future OnlineCourses.org