Twitter and libraries
Twitter is a free communication, social networking and microblogging site, where people write short updates (140 characters) and communicate with others via their Twitter website, SMS, email, IM, facebook and other social media sites. Messages appear on a persons twitter profile and can be viewed by their followers. Twitter let’s users write updates, review and respond to other people tweet messages. This type of messaging is often done at the person-to-person level and primarily used to share news and status reports.
What about librarians?
Twitter is very easy to use, free and a great networking tool that connects librarians with a range of practitioners and other libraries across North America. For instance, librarians use Twitter “to communicate at conferences and events and to keep up with developments in the field, and libraries have begun using it to promote their services” (iLibrarian, 2008). The types of users who would be part of a libraries twitter community, would most likely be users of twitter already-which opens up libraries to a whole new range of networks and contacts that they previously were not connected to.
How are libraries using Twitter?
Twitter is a successful promotional device for libraries, as it lets users know about new books/resources, connects with colleagues, tell patrons about services/special events- the list goes on. It also has various types of mapping tools that can help libraries evaluate their twitter activity and followers, and the types of networks they are apart off.
Microblogging is a rather new phenomena for libraries, yet quickly catching on. Some examples of libraries with twitter accounts include the Missouri River Regional Library and The Cleveland Public Library. Their twitter sites are updated regularly and often discuss services/events happening within the library. What I found interesting is that they both had a large following and asked innovative questions about library services-and people replied. This type of interaction shows they are connecting to their users and being interactive.
Twitter and marketing your library?
When looking at the Missouri River and The Cleveland Public Library websites , you would never know they were using twitter. Key to having a twitter account is letting your patrons know you have one. This type of social marketing tool should be seen on the libraries homepage, so patrons know it exists and can join. Libraries, then, can use twitter to market their services and engage potential users, but first they need to market that they are using twitter themselves. In addition, the Missouri and Cleveland can add a twitter link , with their IM and email links.
Missouri and Cleveland take note- a libraries twitter link should also be connected to their RSS feed, face book, MySpace page and/or any other social media communities that they may be apart off. Patrons who are part of twitter, will than know this application exists and join
I am an active twitter user and actively use it to exchange ideas, find out about new books and services by being connected to libraries twitter accounts. Yet, I am an upcoming librarian and actively search for these types of sites. Most twitter users would not and its up to the librarians to make sure they are connected to people outside of the library world.
Want to know about twitter-check out Twitter for Librarians: The Ultimate Guide
Resources and additional tools:
David Lee King: Twitter Explained for Librarians , or 10 ways to use Twitter
Sarah Washburn-Library Twitter
Library Twitter Accounts: