Monday, 20 May 2013

23 Mobile Things // Thing 1 // Twitter

I've been using Twitter comfortably now for about two years. (If you feel like it, you can read my post on CPD23 Things : Thing 4 : Current Awareness : Twitter)

It was only when I acquired a smart-phone that the idea of Twitter started to make sense, and become a viable way of keeping up to date. And only when I discovered TweetBot that it became an enjoyable way to keep up to date.

Using Twitter personally

I'm not really keen on the idea of following 'celebrity Twitter accounts'. Although I'm still amazed by the idea that I can send a tweet to @DrBrianMay and there's an outside chance he might read it and think 'Oh, it's that nice lady that gave me a fairy cake last time I was in Bristol'. Maybe. Or that I can share a tweet with an author who's book I am reading. I did have a proud moment when @JannArden tweeted me recently. But mostly, I tend to use Twitter Lists to follow the musicians I adore along with the authors I read, rather than following them as part of my main feed.

Using Twitter professionally

Being part of the conversation on Twitter has changed the way I perceive myself as a librarian. I now feel part of a community. It's enabled me to get involved in Continuing Professional Development, follow conferences I'd never be able to get to in person, develop contacts, and get involved in projects like 'Voices for the Library'.

It's also allowed me to develop more confidence in teaching research skills to the Scientists I support at work. Working in a government library means we're slightly cut off from the rest of the world in terms of our ability to access and engage in social media and use it as a research tool. That's only just started to change. Being on Twitter, actively using it to keep up to date means that I feel I can talk with some authority when discussing social media with researchers who are wide eyed and apologetic when they explain that they don't use it, don't understand it, and wonder whether it's more than just ranting about the weather and last night's football results. I've started creating information sessions specifically for Researchers's looking to promote their research, both internally and externally. Twitter is a key part of this toolkit. Twinned with our organisation winning an award for it's social media communications during recent extreme weather incidents, there is also an interest in the research around use of social media to change risky behaviour such incidents. I've been able to harness this interest to engage people in using social media and exploring the use of new tools to support their research and the way they communicate and raise awareness of their services. There's also an argument for official organisational tweets - along with any responses -  to be archived and indexed as part of our 'corporate memory. If the organisations knowledge is stored in it's structures, it's culture, business processes along with an archive of it's data, information and communications, then I think there is value in preserving the tweets as a way of studying both the organisation and the impact it has on external customers.

Although I've been aware of tools like Storify, I haven't yet used them as a way to present information. This Thing gave me an excuse to explore the tool as a way of gathering interest in a recent project I've been involved in. It was a bit clunky in places and felt it was missing some functionality. Searching could be long and tedious, but the main idea - to blend different kinds of online media together - is a lovely way to write compelling stories created with content from around the web. So far, a Storify board I created has generated over 75 views - maybe not much, but more than my average blog post :-). Perhaps that's because it's easier to digest than a wordy, rambling blog post?

Due to the length of the Storify, I've embedded it into a separate post. I'll let the Storify take it from here... 

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