Tool: Twitter

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows users to receive and send messages in 140 characters or less, called a tweet. "We came across the word 'twitter,' and it was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds.' And that’s exactly what the product was." - Jack Dorsey, Chairman.

Wear your Twitter badge with pride
So are the tweets us tweeters tweet inconsequential? Are they reaching the people we intend on reaching?  Is there room for libraries in the tweeting world? Do we want to be there?

Twitter is different than facebook in that you can't expect people who follow you to read as many tweets as they would facebook updates.  When you sign into twitter you are able to scroll through some of the most recent tweets by the accounts that you follow.  On Twitter the information you post and the information posted by others is in a state of motion.

A great way to see who is on Twitter in your area is to do a search  or two on Twitter for your area and then subscribe to that feed in your RSS feed reader.  Then you can see what companies, people, things are being talked about.  If work at a library in Helena and no one is talking about Helena, MT (I'm sure this isn't true) on twitter then you might want to consider holding back on devoting resources to twitter or do the opposite and start filling that gap with relevant library information.

To get started go to www.twitter.com and create a new account.  You will need to attach the twitter account to an email address. We use the same email address for all our social networking activities at Butte-Silver Bow Public Library, designated just for these accounts and not tied to any particular staff's email account or the official library's email account.  This allows all of the social networks to be managed from the same email address.

Butte-Silver Bow Public Library - http://twitter.com/ButtePubLibrary
Missoula Public Library - http://twitter.com/missoulalibrary
Parmly Billings Library - http://twitter.com/ParmlyBillings

You can see a more complete list of Montana libraries that are tweeting in the "Montana Libraries Going Social" link.


Next Post: Twitter Hiccups

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