Readings Week 11: Twitter and Tweeting

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!

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4 thoughts on “Readings Week 11: Twitter and Tweeting

  1. I agree that there tends to be a wide range of things librarians discuss on twitter. From very thought provoking ideas to more outrageous ideas. After reading this I immediately went back and looked at #whylibrarianscry. I like your comment about the intimidation factor on twitter. As a casual twitter user myself, I don’t usually make use of many hash tags and it does seem a little intimidating when you think about who might be potentially viewing your thoughts.

  2. I enjoyed the snarky librarian comments as well. It’s cool to see how creative the members of our profession can be! I was surprised by how many established librarians were following young LIS students. That was really cool that the community is so welcoming to newcomers (like us!)
    I think you’re right about it being hard to voice opinions in such a large forum. I’m not a big tweeter. I’ve been on twitter for a while, but don’t often send tweets. I was a little anxious of doing something wrong when I started sending the 643 tweets this week. There is a delicate etiquette to tweeting that takes a little getting used to.

  3. Thanks for the list tip! That should help make the Twitter feed more manageable. I also hadn’t thought of meeting people with similar interests on Twitter. (Well, not seriously, anyway, or not for a long time.) It seems so impersonal a platform, but it sounds like you had a sort of serendipitous experience. You may feel “superficial” about it, but I admire how much you’ve made Twitter work for you.

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