I honestly can’t remember when I discovered Twitter, but the first time I tried playing with it was to see if I could find a way to quickly share information across the entire library system. Twitter seemed like an ideal way to do this. If we created location-specific Twitter accounts and then had everybody follow each other, then when we needed to share information quickly between locations we could just “tweet” it. Power goes down at some location? Our infoline tweets it and everyone knows. Staff member goes home sick and you need emergency coverage? Tweet it and someone who can spare a person rides to the rescue. You get the idea.
The catch was that there needed to be a way to see the tweets other than on the Twitter website. The Twitter website doesn’t automatically refresh, and it’s not sitting on top of your desktop. So the whole “quick notice” idea kinda goes out the window. I played with adding Google Desktop, which allows you to install a Twitter widget. But that clogged up my screen and ran slow. So I pretty much abandoned Twitter.
But now we come to the 23 things and I have to take another look at Twitter. I complained to one of my colleagues that the main thing I didn’t like about Twitter was that I couldn’t keep it unobtrusively in the background while I was working on other things. It just seemed like too much trouble to have to keep going back to the website to check up on things.
“Oh,” she said, “I just have it in my browser.”
Yes, I’m an idiot. I use Firefox, and of course there’s a Twitter add-on. So I add TwitterFox and I’m off and running.
The most amusing thing to me about this is that as more and more people in the library get on Twitter and start following each other, the more I see my original concept working. I’ve seen people arrange for emergency coverage via Twitter. I’ve seen coordination of library programs over Twitter. I’ve seen information about the power outage and how it affected the libraries shared over Twitter.
But even beyond that, it’s another tool connecting people. I can share information, jokes, and ideas with many people at once. I’ve gotten to know some friendly acquaintances much better. Probably the most fun has been watching the presidential debates with Twitter in the background. Everyone piles on and shares whatever they’re thinking and it becomes one gigantic debate party.
So if you’d like to pile on as well, feel free to check me out on Twitter!