Posted by: Memo | September 2, 2008

Twitter, and a lot of explaining

I have two Twitter accounts, my own and one I made for my library. I use the library’s Twitter account to pull up the RSS feeds from my library’s blog, flickr page, LibGuides, and eventually the feed from any new books added to the catalog, all of it using TwitterFeed.

I tried showing some of my staff what I was doing with Twitter and a new update feature from LibGuides, which sends a tweet whenever a new guide is published — but in the end I ended up confusing people since only a couple of them use Twitter and fewer still knew about it.

Seriously, my intent was to do an FYI but was naturally sucked into explaining what Twitter is, how it works and how I’m using it to push library content to Twitter users, but I wasn’t making any headway. What’s funny is that the ones that knew Twitter and those who didn’t spent a few minutes loudly discussing just exactly what Twitter is, all at the same time. It was fun!

In the end I think Twitter still remains a nebulous thing. It’s like a short e-mail message that thinks it’s chat but with a blog-like mentality with more than one person following a conversation. As a web tool Twitter has an amazing array of applications that facilitate these transactions so, on the whole, Twitter’s a buffed out, synchronous communal teleprompter.

The library’s Twitter stream is happily chugging along picking up the RSS feeds from our various services. We even have a few followers even though I haven’t really advertised the account. I’m not following anyone yet (awesome as they are) since this is more of a branching out of library resources, but it’s great that we can use these web tools–the likes of Twitter, Jaiku, Identi.ca, and others–to deliver quick bits of text (140 characters) and a link to the content as soon as you “tweet” it. We’re all about saving the user’s time, right?

Twitter

LibGuides

twitterfeed

Twitter apps

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Responses

  1. Except for pushing info-bits to phones, I still can’t wrap my head around Twitter. Why push tinyurls when you can simply send the whole thing via RSS feeds?

  2. You’re not the only one, Rick. Twitter does share a lot of the conveniences that RSS provides, though where it rises above is how topical and on-point conversations can develop between other individuals; you can interact with whatever tinyurls you get by engaging those that send them, which you can’t do, at least synchronously, with a news reader.

    If anything, it’s another way to vent, if you want to look at it that way.


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