Monday, February 9, 2009

Twittering Libraries

I got sprung by the boss last week observing the social phenomenon that Twitter has become.

Comedian Stephen Fry is an active twitterer - and he got stuck in a lift. Using his cellphone he 'tweeted' saying as much, alongside a photograph of the inside of the lift - again using his cellphone (see above).

What happened over the next hour was extraordinary. People all over the world - hundreds of people - tagged his photo and posted hilarious comments ... which kept the crowded lift mightily amused - not to mention naughty librarians in New Zealand who were meant to be working.

I am fascinated by Twitter now - after an initial 'WTF' respose. What I saw unfolding was akin to a live, totally unscripted, sitcom episode with hundreds of bit players. And Twitter is huge - make no mistake about it. 752% growth in registered members in 2008.

Public libraries need to be where the punters are and they are increasingly on Twitter. So how can libraries use this social tool? I don't know how we will yet but Lindy Brown, guest contributor on Tame the Web has some ideas in her recent post.

Click here to read her article which provides background information and a brief history of Twitter, notes the pros and cons reported by libraries using it, and shares findings on innovative ways libraries are using the service.

At the time she wrote the article, late 2008, she found about 90 libraries on Twitter but she has since found many more - and many more possibilities Twitter can provide for librarians. Check out her blog post on Tame the Web for more.

So while some may see twitter as just another fad I'm not so sure. And we lose nothing by playing along for a while anyway and see where it takes us!

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