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Michael Sauers’ Twitter Tools

Michael Sauers is an extremely heavy Twitter user (he follows 544 people!)–almost everything he writes and publishes is fed to it, so he is highly qualified to lead a discussion on Twitter and tools for using it.  He sends postings to his Twitter account using Twitterfeed (you need an RSS feed to use  it).  In the final  session of  Track D, he led a discussion of Twitter tools, how they are  being used, and what benefit users and especially libraries are receiving.  Here are some of the questions and answers:

  • What do people want to see on a Twitter account from a library?
    Many patrons want events, new books, and anything on the library’s blog.  Some organizations post links to seminars.
  • What management software do you use?
    Hootsuite, which bills itself as the “professional Twitter client”.
  • Many library patrons want to follow Twitter lists set up by the library, such as local businesses you might follow, and tracking Twitter feeds of customers.
  • How can we get public communities to follow the library on Twitter?
    Here are some recent examples suggested by the audience:
    Some restaurants put a note on the bottom of receipts urging customers to follow them on Twitter.
    A  local ice cream truck has a Twitter account.
    A museum asks for feedback on Twitter.
  • How has the Nebraska Library Commission benefitted from your Twitter activity?
    Michael puts content  on Twitter that he thinks his followers would be interested in reading, which is a form of information dissemination.
    He has 1400 followers(!)–he can get rapid answers to questions.
    People who follow the library will care about what the library says.
    People tend to not post comments on a blog, and you don’t get answers as quickly.
    Twitter lets you establish your own “brand”.
  • How many Tweets are enough to make Twiter worthwhile?
    You will never completely know how much is too much and too little.  Once a day is too little.
    (Michael does not worry about tweets he misses; if it is important, someone else will Tweet about it when he is paying attention.)
  • Is Twitter a huge time sink that interferes with your job?
    It can be, and you have to learn to manage your time.  He is the Technology Librarian, so it’s part of his job.
    It lets him (a librarian) keep up with what his users are interested about, so it saves time, and he can be more responsive to users and does not need to search through RSS feeds and search websites.  (See Baltimore’s Pratt Library (@prattlibrary) for a example of how a library can use Twitter for a great benefit.)  It is a great reference tool.  Google is integrating Twitter feeds into its real-time news reports.
  • How did you get 1400 followers?
    Post good content that 1400 people care about.
    Tweet for yourself and don’t worry about how many people are following you.

I found this session very informative.  Maybe I will need to get a Twitter account.  (I’m betraying my age by revealing that I don’t have one yet!)

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and CIL 2010 Blog Coordinator

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