Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thing #24 - Twitter



Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I added a Twitter widget to my iGoogle homepage, and figured out how to follow a certain famous librarian.
I wonder if this would be a correct characterization -- Twitter is like Facebook for people who are more likely to be on their mobile phones than at a laptop. Twitter is more of a closed system than Facebook - it's harder to find people to connect with, and once you connect with them, there seems to be lots more of the real lightweight personal stuff you share with friends socially. Contrasted with my Facebook page, which is a nice mix of some social and some professional chitchat among colleagues. I think that Facebook is good for people who all have a general reason to be connected in a "light touch" sort of way, almost like a "talking" rolodex.
My few minutes experience with Twitter (and a tidal wave of arcane comments from this famous librarian to his close friends) makes me think I will "follow" Twitterers only under very specific situations, such as the obvious "at a conference" example. I suppose if enough of my co-workers were interested, we could use it to plan spontaneous brown bag lunch conversations on various topics and that would be fun. Or ref librarians could use it (instead of a listserv) for help answering difficult questions, or instead of making phone calls if we wanted to check with staff all over campus as to what services were provided for students at various offices. For either of those examples, a critical mass of fellow staff would have to be on Twitter. Having the widget on a google page is key, otherwise it's kind of a pain to have to log into twitter as yet another bucket from which to get info. I understand I could feed it into my chat in some way too.

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