One of the things I have been struggling with is whether I should bother to explain Twitter in any depth. I have concluded that I will give it a shot, and it is a core tool for the program. I had some original feelings about why I should include it, and now I have different ones that affirm this choice. Here they are:
- It’s really the newest and latest big Web 2.0 product out there.
- Other services are building on the microblog concept.
- It’s web 2.0, and part of a subset (microblogging) that is unique enough to distinguish it from other tools.
- I know it very well.
How I think about it now:
- Twitter has emerged (for me, anyway) as a way to connect to a local network. Blogs, Wikis and other tools have been less successful at this — even though I could hear people begging for it. My Other Librarian survey shows loud and clear that people are not interested in hearing about local news, but my Twitter feed seems more inviting to that. The Halifax Social Media Get Together was manifested in Twitter and is a testament to the local-engaging potential of the tool.
- I sincerely believe that Twitter has made my life richer, and my knowledge experiences a little more down-to-earth. There’s something about Twitter that brings me closer to the hands-on aspects of the innovation process, whereas blogging, books remain more theoretical in nature. Blogs, to me, show the “wish I was” or “this ought to be” stuff. Twitter shows more of the “this is” of the innovation process.
- I really grok what David from Marketing Integrity says about Twitter: “If you are following like-minded people (in my case primarily marketing or technology folks), you get somewhat personalized access into the knowledge and experience base they hold. Not all tweets have to be laced with wisdom, but each day as I have begun following some thought leaders, I have gained insights into their learning circle by reading online articles that they recommend as they encounter the information first-hand themselves. Most people do not pass on links of stuff that is junk. So, I have found that I am introduced to new material in addition to the blogs I have been reading on my own. This is a refreshing learning process and quite cutting edge.”
- I’m finding that I’m helping people with information needs alot on Twitter, and vice versa. While too frequent Twittering can be annoying, I strongly believe that librarians provide [and have always provided] access to information through artifacts and conversations, not resources. The interactions before, during and after someone gets an answer to their reference question is all part of fulfilling that information need (that conversation happens via the ILS and the website as well, by the way). Twitter provides a good amount of this “before, during and after” to go along with that great, useful link to the latest and greatest.
- It certainly won’t hurt me to try and explain the intangible, and possibly uniterable benefits of Twitter. The audience can choose to ignore, I suppose and it’s not as if I’m not going to cover other important things like RSS, wikis and Meebo.
That’s that. If you are one of the people coming to the session, please feel free to “say hello” before you arrive. I’d love to hear more about you before I fire all these tools your way.