What are you doing? Twitter what?

I have to admit to a love-hate relationship with Twitter, the microblogging “what are you doing?” tool that many people are, shall we say, twittering about. Some days I love being tuned into all the goings on in my community there, other days, I just need to tune out.

140 characters, enough to say where you are during a conference and find out who wants to meet for dinner. Or to find out where there’s a great session going on so you can leave the deadly dull one that you ended up in by mistake. I’ve used it a lot during conferences and had great meetups with colleagues I would have missed otherwise.

On a day to day basis, it’s very useful for sharing breaking news, alerts about interesting blog posts, posing questions and getting fast answers. Many organizations are using it to connect with customers, patrons, supporters. Political campaigns use twitter to alert supporters to the latest campaign news. Libraries use it as one more way to distribute updates about services and events. Library professional groups use it to get news out to members and the library community at large.

What you get out of it, depends on finding friends and colleagues who share your interests. And like any community, you have to give to get. So I try to respond to questions when I can and share new resources that I come across. In return I’ve gotten help with questions of my own. Will I stay with Twitter forever? Will I be fickle and love it and leave it? I don’t know, it has had some problems keeping up with traffic lately. If they continues, people will certainly move on to another tool that serves the same purpose, and there are other ones out there! For now, I’m finding Twitter a useful way to connect with friends and colleagues.

To find out more and see some great examples of how libraries are using Twitter, read Elyssa Kroski’s terrific article in School Library Journal, All a Twitter: Want to Try Microblogging? It’s an excellent introduction to Twitter. And even if you don’t get into using Twitter yourself, it’s definitely a tool to be aware of.

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