I joined Twitter in 2008, roughly 2 years after it was created. To be honest, I first joined it after becoming frustrated with the clogged news feed on Facebook. However, shortly after joining I realized it could be used for much more than connecting with friends with less distraction. The ability to connect with individuals and organizations that I would not otherwise have been able to connect with is immensely useful and entertaining. It can also help streamline my online experience. One of my favorite uses of Twitter is to follow news sources and blogs I enjoy, similar to using an RSS feed. I also like that I can connect with my favorite authors.

Twitter can be useful to libraries in that they can get the word out about their collections and services to patrons who generally wouldn’t take the time to check the library website or pamphlets. Libraries can also connect more easily to patrons and potential patrons and do so in real time. Twitter is more about having a conversation – talking with your patrons rather than talking at them.

However, Twitter does have a few downsides. Due to its informal nature, individuals and organizations sometimes do not carefully consider what they post. This list of Twitter scandals shows what can happen when someone tweets without considering the response. It’s also easy to either overuse or underuse Twitter. Having an account and posting too many times a day is just as bad as never posting. A good balance is important, as is a balance in what is posted.

Twitter is a great medium for both individuals and libraries to gain and spread information, as long as consideration is given to it’s use.


6 responses

  1. Kim, I just joined Twitter as an accomodation for this class, but hadn’t considered its use in connecting with persons/orgs outside my sphere until reading your post. Favored authors would be a particularly fun connection I would like to make and wonder if you ever get feedback to tweets you have sent. Thanks for clueing me in.

    1. I have actually received responses from authors, as well as blogs and news sources. It really is a neat way to connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

  2. So I just posted on Leslie’s blog, but I am trying to get a handle on how to follow twitter. Do you go to their site and just look at the feed? Do you have another application that you use?

    1. meredithfarkas | Reply

      To follow someone on Twitter, you just go visit their page on twitter and click the Follow button. Then when you go to, you’ll just see the Twitter feeds of the people you follow. I used to use Tweetdeck to follow people on Twitter, because it allows you to seperate your twitter stream into substreams (work, friends, news, etc.) which makes it more manageable. SI don’t use Twitter much anymore, so I don’t need an application.

    2. When I’m checking it on my computer I just use the website. They’ve updated it now to allow the substreams that Prof. Farkas mentioned, but there are many services that will allow you to streamline it even more if you prefer. If I’m checking it on my phone, I use the TweetCaster app.

  3. That is such a great point that Twitter can be used almost like an RSS aggregator! I use it much more for keeping up than anything else.

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