Response to lesson 8: Microblogging and lifestreaming

I am torn.  On one hand, I am not a big fan of Twitter, or microblogging or lifestreaming in general.  There are a few very succinctly witty people I like to follow, but the majority of the content just doesn’t interest me.  There are more convenient ways for me to find any information people might look for on Twitter.  I even get fed up with the status updates of some of my Facebook friends, and have consequently blocked their posts.  But on the other hand, I know that there are a lot of people who are just mad about Twitter and related services.  Those people are something of an unfathomable concept to me, like people who enjoy smooth jazz, but I can recognize that they exist even though I don’t share their preferences.  My step-dad is a professional photographer who promotes himself on Twitter (he is also coincidentally a fan of smooth jazz).  It seems to be working for him, and that personal experience leads me to believe that it can work for libraries too.
As mentioned in the lesson post, it is important to be aware of the proportion of your library’s users who use any given service before you start investing time and effort into using it.  But the Young article about the Twitter-embedded librarian is really inspiring!  For that particular situation, it was an excellent use of time and resources – although the librarian mentioned that it may not be scalable for her alone.  Another upside to Twitter, as the Tagtmeier article mentions, is that it is mobile-friendly even for chumps like me who only have what I lovingly refer to as a “dumbphone”.  The only keyboard is a number pad, the screen is tiny, and images usually don’t load. Even the simplest of mobile devices can handle Twitter, which could be a positive point if the patrons of your library spend their money on things other than shiny phones.  Twitter could potentially be used as a casual chat reference system as well, as the mention system functions as a conversation tool.
I have a Twitter account.  I joined when my work announced that they were beginning a Twitter feed.  I followed them, as well as a few celebrities (hah) who caught my interest, and the account has been gathering dust since.  I couldn’t figure out how to block mentions from my Twitter news feed – I want to see what @neilhimself has to say, not what @someotherguy is saying to @neilhimself. There were more @someotherguys than I had the patience to sift through.  Dusting off the account, I found that nothing has really changed.  A few people I don’t know have tried to follow me, which I understand to be some backwards form of self-marketing – pestering people with requests so that they click your name to try to find out who the heck you are.  On the plus side, I figured out that retweeting was the source of my earlier problems.  I have stopped watching the offenders’ retweets, and now my news feed is much more manageable.  However, I still find that there’s nothing enticing me to stay.  I joined Facebook first, and I’m following the most interesting people there.  The webcomic artists I follow all have RSS feeds for their webcomics, which I have been using for quite some time.  Sockington (the cat) is on his own, but I remember to visit his Twitter site about once a month for a nice big dose of the same silliness I follow him for.  Sorry, Twitter – I just don’t like you very much. I hope you aren’t too offended.


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