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Category Archives: Twitter

Overview

Over the last few days I’ve posted about how social services and tools, like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook accounts have been used in the Seattle Public Library and the Bloomington Public Library. Each of these libraries had areas where they succeeded in using these tools, and they had areas where they could make small changes to better utilize the accounts they already have. In general, the SPL really stood out because there was a real sense of community and personality on their social media pages, and they seemed to really try and use these tools to enhance the library experience for their patrons, even though the icons for the tools were sometimes difficult to locate. The BPL’s social networking sites were more subdued in comparison, with their Facebook page and Twitter account acting more like a bulletin board for events and features, rather than a communal place for the exchange of thoughts and opinions.

While the SPL is currently doing a fantastic job of providing new and unique content on their social media accounts, there is always a need for content evaluation of these services in order to stay current and maintaining user interest. The Librarian in Black, run by Sarah Houghton, is an excellent resource for keeping up with current library and social tool trends. She also provides some interesting tips about how libraries can use social networking to become an essential part of a community, not just a distant abstract concept bound by bricks and mortar. This is essential because one of the goals of libraries using social tools is to make people see them as filled with caring real people who would be happy to provide information, not as the outdated stereotypical perception of librarians and libraries that still somehow linger even today.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in BPL, Facebook, SPL, Twitter

 

The BPL Twitter Feed

The Bloomington Public Libraries Twitter feed is similar in many ways to their Facebook page; they both are used in an almost perfunctory manner to convey information about library services. This is not to say that the services and programs offered at the BPL are not inspired, because the BPL sponsors many events that sound incredibly entertaining, but only using Twitter in this manner is rather limited. By just announcing events and new services, their twitter feed is almost unnecessary because most of the same information is available on their Facebook page, and their twitter feed often is just used to announce new posts on their Facebook page. It almost seems like they have a twitter feed because libraries are now expected to use social tools like Facebook and twitter, instead of having this tool because it can be a valuable way to get community feedback and connect with patrons. When looked at this way, the BPL’s twitter feed doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the libraries’ webpage, even though it’s easy to find; it’s just a feature that is tacked on there because it is expected. Although I might be a bit harsh in my assessment of the BPL twitter feed, because it does provide valuable information about the library and the services they offer, Twitter could be used in so many more ways. This is especially apparent after seeing how the Seattle Public Library has gone beyond the ordinary and used their account to create an interactive online community.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in BPL, Twitter

 

The SPL Twitter Feed

Twitter is no longer just a way to relay small amounts of personal information; it is now a surprisingly useful tool for libraries to answer quick questions and to build a stronger presence within their communities.  Andy Burkhardt, a librarian at Chaplain College and the creator of the Information Tyrannosaur blog, explains that the Twitter feeds of libraries can be surprisingly useful and sophisticated tools. In his post, How libraries Can Leveraging Twitter, he points out the seven ways that Chaplain college has used twitter to improve their library, and how others might following these steps  to improve their own institutions Twitter accounts. These seven steps involve reporting library happenings, promoting library resources/services, building community, engaging users, monitoring library related tweets, soliciting feedback, and creating greater awareness of the library. By including all of these concepts within their feed, libraries can create a much richer experience for their followers, instead of just halfheartedly re-posting the tweets of others or blandly listing library features.

Twitter - Image by Shawn Campbell

When I went through the SPL Twitter feed, they managed to follow most of Burkhardt’s recommended steps. They publicized library services like their free tax clinic, they asked questions of their users regarding what kind of books they wanted, they reported events that were going to be held, and their feed held comments from library users who discussed features they liked, which is a good indication of community involvement. If the SPL was going to try and follow all of the recommended steps, it would be incredibly useful if their Twitter was utilized more frequently as a reference tool. When I looked at the last several days of Tweets, I didn’t find any instances of reference questions being asked, even though the SPL clearly encourages users to ask questions. Perhaps this was just a slow couple of days for Twitter users with reference questions, or maybe this is just a feature that hasn’t gained a lot of popularity yet. One way that the SPL could increase the use of this feature, is to publicize it on their homepage. Of course, much like with their Facebook page, the preexisting link to their Twitter account is hidden at the very bottom of the page. This not only makes it difficult to realize the SPL as a Twitter account, it also does nothing to advertise all the features that are available through twittering with the library. Overall, I would say the SPL does a great job with their twitter account, but they could work on how visible or accessible it is to their patrons.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in SPL, Twitter