TechTalk: What is Twitter, anyway?
Webmaster Tony Oravet provides the following rundown on Twitter, how it works, and why it’s useful.
What is Twitter, anyway?
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access.
How Can Twitter Benefit the Libraries?
Because of the rapidly growing popularity of social networking sites and in an attempt to reach out to those participating, many libraries have created their own Twitter accounts. Although the original intent was to network with patrons and others within their community, many libraries are finding that Twitter has many other uses beyond the simple “what are you doing?” tweet. Twittering Libraries are not only making better (and wider) connections in their communities, they are also networking with other libraries and librarians, using it as an educational and professional development tool, advertising their programs and services and incorporating it within their blogs and websites.
How do other Libraries (universities? departments?) use Twitter?
Some examples of how libraries are using Twitter include:
- For library announcements
- To post news such as special events, holiday hours, exhibits, new book arrivals
- Updated resources or reminders of important resources, instruction sessions and new reference services
- Using Twitter as another communication tool with patrons/clients
- As a reference service
- As a way to keep in touch with librarian friends and colleagues as well as a way to collaborate on projects
- As a way to stay on top of the latest technologies
- For customer service
- To send alerts about requested materials
- As a short newsletter
- As a public relations/marketing tool
- As a way to get and share information about conferences and other professional development opportunities (i.e., registration deadlines, speakers, accommodation information, webinars)
- Cataloging and tagging
- Internal updates
- For networking with other librarians, libraries, and library-affiliated organizations