library vendors using twitter

Just in case you want to read or interact with library vendors in a different way, Bill Drew has created a list of library vendors who use Twitter. Granted this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily accessible in that way, but for people already on Twitter it’s good to know. This is part of the larger spreadsheet that Bill is creating about library vendors who use social software.

Also, someone asked me to mention why someone who wasn’t using Twitter might want to. It’s certainly gotten the attention of some of the major media, but what’s in it for an individual librarian or library? When I talk about Twitter, I stress a few things

– It’s a box you can type into that puts data on the web in a standard form. This means you can repurpose the content, pull it into a sidebar on your website and/or publish or read your feed or someone else’s in a format you choose (I use a client called NatsuLion that rolls up the side of my screen. Many people at CiL were using TweetDeck)
– Being able to have a friends list means you can keep up with what other people you choose to read about are up to. I work at home alone most days and I like the collegial feel of knowing what other librarians are up to. When I travel, I just stop reading it unless I’m at someplace where many people are using it.
– At CiL it was helpful to know where people were at, you can “broadcast” to a friends list “hey, this session is full” or “We’re at this session and it’s great!” which can give you realtime updates about an event as it’s happening. I enjoyed reading people talking about my talk while it was happening (after my talk, before my co-panelist), in little chunks not the constant stream that comes from something like a Meebo chatroom.
– It’s really replacing blogs as the place to read breaking type news that happens in places where Twitter-enabled people are. This is a big caveat though. People have always said “news happens where the reporters are” When there were wildfires in San Diego, Twitter was very useful for people. When there’s a natural disaster here in Orange County Vermont, not so much.

Twitter, more than other social software, seems to me to be a case in which evaluation of your community is a good first step. Have people in your universe who use it, especially other media or established folks? Might be neat to either use their feed, start your own or just use the search feature for keeping current on what’s going on in your area. I don’t think it’s a situation where people will be asking the library “Are you on Twitter? Why Not?” at least not in the near future.

update: just checking my feeds and I note that Brian has an example of how twitter solved a problem for his library and Jenny offers some organizational advice.

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