Monday, 11 July 2011

Thing 4 : Keeping up

Thing 4 asks us to look at three current awareness tools, Twitter, RSS feeds and Pushnote.

I'm already using Twitter, as @Ceridwen339. Despite initial scepticism (lots of it fuelled by friends and family who have only encountered it through snide comments in the press), I got past the initial hurdles of "what shall I say?" and "now what?".  Colleague @SarahNicholas's enthusiasm and a request from a friend to join together with an article written by @PhilBradley in CILIP Update got me started. I've been on Twitter since November 2009.

Best advice : persist beyond the first month or so before you can really expect to see the benefits, and make sure you have a biography which tells people something about you. Although it can be a bit haphazard, it's surprising how you do build up a group of people whose links are useful, who are witty and informative, and who on occasion can answer questions quickly for you. You don't have to read every single tweet, and you can use lists to group people to make things manageable. I have quite a lot of non-library followers as well as library ones, and my tweets are a mix of personal and work (I think the non-library followers are more patient with library tweets than the other way round, on the whole!) I very rarely unfollow anyone who is following me back, although I think Twitter has been known to unfollow people at random.

I used Twitter to make contact with people at a conference I attended last year, and have maintained the contact since, which has been very helpful. As I'm not able to go to many such events, I find it useful to follow the tweets of others using conference hashtags. I've found it to be a quick source of news, sometimes including things I wouldn't have found out about as quickly or at all (e.g. the interesting fact that the hotel I was planning to stay in in August shut its doors suddenly last week and ejected the people who were staying there at 7.30 a.m. - still no word from the hotel, and I might not have picked that one up on the news!)

I did wonder at the start whether I should have a separate account for Welsh language tweets, but decided against it; I'm also not keen on tweeting the same thing twice in both languages (I find it a bit repetitive if you can understand both - and it would take twice as long!). I'll probably look at the whole issue of languages and social media in another post, but I'd like to mention indigenoustweets which lists Twitter users tweeting in other languages. (4.4% of all my tweets have been in Welsh, according to its stats, not updated daily).

Twitter has had the effect of making me spend much more time thinking about professional issues when I'm not at work (I work part-time) - which may or may not be a good thing! It's also reconnected me with some other interests that had been neglected. Give it a go!

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