This week’s assigned “reading” was to create a Twitter network for ourselves made up of librarians and other people from our career interests. I enjoyed finding new, interesting Twitter users from the fields of library science, iSchool faculty and students, academic and public librarians, and digital humanists (the latter being just as active as librarians, I’ve found). This assignment also helped me to organized my existing group of librarian-ish users whom I already follow–I created a Libraries and iSchool list and started by adding all the relevant users that I already follow. Then I checked their following and followers to find new users. Having a list makes Twitter much more manageable; I can
Some of my first impressions were that librarians are very, very funny. Reading through different conversations can be a bit like going down the rabbit hole; I went from reading up on the Day of DH 2013, to reading librarians’ takes on current events (like thoughts on the bestselling book Lean In), to Andy Woodworth’s (@wawoodworth) #reasonslibrarianscry, to a Flickr account of rad library-inspired tattoos. While this was entertaining, it certainly illustrated that Twitter is meant to be used, not just read. It’s an excellent tool for Interacting and maintaining a conversation with some of the more well-known folks in libraries, an opportunity that students may not get elsewhere.
I am an on-and-off Twitter user; my heaviest tweet traffic comes during conferences–and this is definitely something I noticed in others in the publishing and library fields while I was at those conferences (even my boyfriend commented on this as he sat beside me during the keynote of HASTAC last year–every time Siva Vaidhyanathan uttered some quotable soundbite, the sound of tapping in the room intensified). At conferences, I sometimes feel a bit superficial when I tweet, since I don’t regularly use Twitter at home, and also because “everyone’s doing it.” There’s also a feeling of sounding amateur when using the conference hashtag–all of the big names in the industry could see it! It can be scary to voice your opinion in such a public forum. It can be rewarding, though, too. A Twitter interaction with @ararebit at DLF Forum in Denver last fall led to a chance meeting on my ASB trip to the Folger. I had tweeted about wishing there were more library school students at the conference; a fellow grad student replied and we planned but ultimately failed to meet in person. It turned out she is the girlfriend of one of the Folger’s employees and happened to be there for tea one afternoon and recognized me. It was good to finally connect in person!