Twitter for Libraries preso follow-up

Ok, I haven’t listened to the recording yet (and am dreading it), but I have to say that presenting strictly in an online format at yesterday’s Handheld Librarian conference definitely threw me off a little, so I’m sorry if I sounded super nervous (it always makes me uncomfortable when a presenter sounds nervous.) Anyway, I underestimated how much I rely on reading people’s expressions to direct my talks (bored, confused, nodding in agreement…), and the radio silence (and relative chat silence) kind of left me flailing a bit. Because of that, I feel like there were some questions/issues I didn’t fully address, so I just wanted to do a follow-up post to clarify and expand on some of those issues.

First of all, in case you missed it (it’s ok if you were in Joe Murphy’s SMS talk, he’s teh awsum), here are the slides:

One of the biggest concerns people had was: What should libraries be tweeting about? I tried to express that that really depends on your audience, and you have to cater to what you think they will find interesting/helpful/informative, but I understand that getting started can seem a little overwhelming, so here are some good posts that talk about how precisely libraries can use Twitter:

Those pretty much cover the spectrum of what tweet from our library account (@scwLibrary). After the conference I was kicking myself for not just going to our page so I could show everyone what we tweet about (and that page is less controversial than my own Twitter feed, which I felt really guilty about showing everyone because of privacy issues for the people I follow – because some of their feeds are private/protected, and so I had to just show it super fast and then leave the page, which was probably dizzying for everyone, kind of like this sentence.)

Another thing that came up was finding the “correct” hashtag for a topic or event. I still maintain that the best way to do this is to a.) try searching some possible hashtags by guessing and seeing which is the most popular; or b.) just ask the twittersphere (ex. “hey does anyone know the official hashtag for the Handheld Librarian conference today?”). Your followers or people searching for the same event/topic by name will usually let you know the answer. However, there are places where you can “register” a hashtag, and it’s possible that people do use these as hashtag directories, even if they are not widely adopted right now, so I’ll mention a few:

(For some really good info on the history and usefulness of hashtags, see here.)

Speaking of hashtags, another thing I completely forgot to mention: there’s a fairly new hashtag going around for recommending librarians to follow. This is an off-shoot of a popular trend called “follow friday”, where people recommend their favorite people to follow every Friday. Anyway, if you’re looking for librarians to follow to get you started, do a Twitter search for #followalibrarian (or just click on the handy link I made for you there, heh…)

Someone also asked for examples of how people are using Twitter in educational/classroom settings. I think this post has some great advice/links for how instructors can use the medium:

You can also follow KSU professor Michael Wesch’s blog, Digital Ethnography (he often experiments with using social media in his classes), or @itsanno on Twitter (she mentioned recently that she will be using Twitter with the students in one of her upcoming classes.)

Ok, so this is a long post, so I’ll wrap it up now. I think at some point I will do a follow-up to this follow-up, with some tips for more advanced users. With 200 people in a presentation, it’s really hard to know how much time to spend on the basics (as I’m sure there were some beginners there) and the advanced tips (for you “power users”). Some future topics I’d like to cover:

  • Twitter integration w/blogs, Facebook, websites, etc.
  • Mashups (using social media aggregation sites like FriendFeed or Netvibes)
  • Twitter mobile apps (which I really wish I had covered, seeing as this was a conference about mobile technology!)
  • Twitter for reference

Is there anything I missed? Any lingering questions/comments/doubts? Let me know here in the comments, or on Twitter (@val_forrestal).

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