September 24, 2008

Twitter: Reaching Patrons with Micro-blogging

Yesterday I wrote about how blogs are becoming more mainstream and how mainstream media are using blogs. Today, let's take another look at micro-blogging. Micro-blogging is abbreviated blogging -- posting short messages less than 140 characters in length. Why do people use micro-blogging services like Twitter? This video explains it so much better than I ever could!

Even after that great video, it might be hard to see how Twitter fits into your life and why you'd personally have a reason to use it. I'm not sure we should be asking ourselves if we'd find a use for micro-blogging in our personal lives, rather, can we incorporate micro-blogging as a publicity tool to reach younger patrons? As librarians, our job is to notice how technology fits into other people's lives and figure out how we can incorporate library information, events, and promotion into their lives as seamlessly as possible.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was a reluctant Twitter user (Twitterer?), and had to find things that were of interest to me before I was inclined to use it. The more I started researching Twitter, the more interested I've become in the phenomena of micro-blogging. Here is one of the major tools that really opened my eyes: Twitter Search. This site acts as a full-text search for real-time Twitter posts. Visit the site and do a search for a major political candidate. When you get the results, notice how many minutes apart people are posting. Chances are you'll get a page of posts all written in the last 5-10 minutes. And most interesting, notice how many updates you get every couple of minutes!

So why do I think micro-blogging is a trend to watch and try out? Two reasons: It is quicker to write a short post (and we are such busy, multi-tasking people!), and second, it is easier to send a short message on increasingly popular mobile devices.

If you are curious what other business or organizations use Twitter, check out this short list for a few examples:

The Nashua Telegraph
Seacoast Online
Birmingham Public Library

Why not create a Twitter account, take a minute each day or so to publicize an event or new book, and advertise your Tweets with a gadget on your blog?

1 comment:

  1. We love ours at Manchester,


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