Thursday, March 19, 2009

Twitter @your Library

I admit, I have been having a hard time trying to figure out how to use twitter in a useful way at the library.

So far the best public use idea is to post "tweets" of titles around a genre, say British Mysteries. Then ask the public (followers in twitter lingo) to reply back with their favorite titles in that genre. We would end up with a list of titles, that may serve as recommended titles to other followers as we follow each other or retrospectively search the twitter-verse for the genre of the week.

The best idea so far for use by library staff is as a replacement for our IM clients on the staff machines. If all the branches followed all the other branches on twitter, they would all see the same question or request at the same time. With IM, its a one to one communication, twitter would allow one to many communication. The assumption would be that the branch that coudl answer the request first would do so, thereby fulfilling the customer's request faster.

What do you think of twitter in the library? Is it just one of those technologies that just don't jive enough with the work of the library?


Joe said...

Hi John, welcome back!

Regarding using Twitter in a library environment, I've seen many people twittering while attending presentations. For those who follow, it can prove to be a decent way to keep aware of important points being made along the way.

It could even be done during a meeting. As a side note on twittering during meetings, I agree with my friend Pete about proper and improper use of it in those forums:

How about commonly asked reference questions (without any identifying info of course)? How about titles requested that aren't owned by the library?

Other thoughts from anyone else?

Timeskeeper said...

Many libraries are also picking up Twitter to advertise programming and as a way to inter-office conversing. Often it is quicker than email, and any one out of the office can find out what's going on just by looking at their phone.

At the state TIG meeting, Liz Rafferty said that they have a link to their Twitter account on the library web page. Teens sign-up to follow so that whenever Liz wants to advertise a program, she sends a message to all the kids. They usually get it on their phones and the immediacy and currency of the contact keeps it fresh in their minds.

When I attended Mid-winter, people used Twitter to broadcast meetings to staff at home that weren't able to attend (especially when the awards were announced for literature).

Joe said...

More thoughts on using Twitter here:

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 10, 2009
10 High Fliers on Twitter
On the microblogging service, professors and administrators find work tips and new ways to monitor the world