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.