Twitter why?

9 Jun

I often get asked why I am on social media. I think it’s a strange question from other librarians, as it’s such a part of our work. I especially don’t like the passive aggressive approach “You must have so much spare time if you can be on social media”. I think it saves me times, especially if I need to crowdsource information.

So I thought I’d lay out some positives about Twitter tonight.

1) Connects you with others in your profession with your interests

I joined Twitter after a VALA conference many years ago. I had met and befriended a lot of librarians at this conference who had my sense of humour, liked to talk about challenges and liked technology. We had used Twitter throughout the conf to share what we were hearing in different sessions as well as where to meet up in the breaks.

So we continued to use it once the conference was over. It allowed us to have quick fast conversations on emerging topics/gossip, share jokes and share links to pertinent research to read. It is the most up to date I have ever been in a professional development sense, for the least effort.

Twitter established a real network despite geographic distances between us. A group of librarians interested in the same things, pushing boundaries and supporting each other. I am still in connection with that network and it has broadened. Some of the members are now University Librarians, some are still cranky sideline hecklers like myself, and @malbooth has managed to combine the two. Many members have moved jobs repeatedly (whilst I have resolutely stayed still) and yet we can all still shoot off a Twitter message to each other at any point.

So find a social networking tool for yourself (doesn’t need to be Twitter), find your tribe, and gain yourself a support network outside your current study/work group. 

2) Social media is fun.

See this fabulous twitter conversation from the other day wherelse are you going to go from presentations to glittery cat turds, to the Coles jelly aisle?

3) Twitter really allows introverts to actively participate in conversations. For extroverts like me, who can exhaust people in a face to face conversation, this is a great tool to engage with others at their preferred time and level of participation.

I watch a great SBS2 tv show called “If you are the one”. It’s a fantastically forthright Chinese dating show. Whilst watching, reading subtitles I add in an extra level of difficulty by tweeting commentary with the #ifyouaretheone

I’ve met virtually a whole heap of funny, informative, witty people who also love this show. We banter, exchange background information and have established a drinking game. The point is I have also met many of this self elected #wanggang in person. A few are as loud as I am. A few are as crazy (I joked that  @breakfastbatman should wear a Batman suit when we met up so that we would know who she was AND SHE DID. It was amazing.) however many are not. They are quiet people who look exhausted after a few hours with me. Yet we are still ongoing virtual friends – they cheer me up when I’m down, we know bits of each other’s lives, I would live a less rich life without them.

So whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, find a social media tool that will allow you to meet a diverse range of personalities, on your own terms. 

4) 140 character limit. This is great. You have to be concise. Besides being a great skill for every manager to learn, it means that if you follow leaders in your profession who like to keep up with professional literature e.g. @malbooth @kimtairi @drmattfinch  @sirrexkat just reading a few brief entries will give you links to current open access reading on emerging trends, usually from a much broader field of disciplines than the library journals will give you.

Happy long weekend people.

2 Responses to “Twitter why?”

  1. Constance Wiebrands (@flexnib) June 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm #

    Long weekend, what?! I wish all our long weekends were synchronised across the country! Great post, I shall have to write a longer response on my blog 🙂

    • Ruth Baxter June 9, 2017 at 11:34 pm #

      Ooh yes would love to hear your thoughts. How long have we known each other? What was the year of our original VALA meeting?

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