To All the Twitter-pated

Prior to this class, I staunchly refused to enter the twitter-sphere. I didn’t see the merit of this new social media device–I already had a Facebook account which was more than adequate to serve my digital communication needs.  Twitter just seemed like an unnecessary evil. It didn’t help that the majority of my friends seem to share the same opinion, so it’s not like I’d be able to communicate with them using this medium, regardless.

However, in the interest of using this course to its full potential, I have decided to explore those social media sites I’ve previously scorned, just to be fair. So shortly after our last blog post, I created a Twitter account, and have been playing with it ever since–look me up @iSingDanceRead.

Some of my initial hesitation proved true. Few of my friends use the site, so my “followers” are few, and many of those are people I’ve never heard of. And some of the content posted to Twitter seems redundant–why use 3 Tweets when you can communicate the same information in a more viewer-friendly manner via Facebook?

Having now used it, though, I can identify some perks to this tool.  I’m most impressed by their app for Android phones. It’s very streamlined and easy to navigate, and while my Facebook app constantly crashes or refuses to load, I’ve never experienced any such inconveniences with Twitter to date.

I’ve also come to appreciate the sense of immediacy Twitter provides. Since people and organizations are constantly updating their Twitter feed, it’s as if you’re caught up in their train of thought, creating a more personal bond than one finds on Facebook, where daily posts average far fewer. I’ve loved following one of my favorite YA authors, Maureen Johnson, who is a self-professed Twitter-addict and constantly updates her page with both personal and professional information. It humanizes the name on the covers of her books, and makes her followers and fans feel more like friends.

However, this constant flow of information does have its drawbacks.  Unless one is willing, like Maureen Johnson, to be constantly updating their page, it is easy for information to get lost in the flow of things. For example, I follow the Santa Clarita Library on Twitter, who updates their feed a couple times a day.  While this is perfectly adequate for Facebook, where there is a much slower rate of information transfer, I’ve found that I rarely see their posts on my Twitter feed. When organizations and people update on an hourly basis, my feed is constantly in flux and posts are quickly lost in the flow. 

So while I have come to appreciate Twitter for its unique strengths, and now consider it a valid social media tool, it is not without my reservations. This site provides a great opportunity to connect with patrons on an immediate and personal level, however, it requires diligent and frequent postings and monitoring in order to live up to its full potential.

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3 thoughts on “To All the Twitter-pated

  1. Lauren Peters

    I am also of the recently twitter abhorrent. That changed last night when the cops in Santa Cruz were shot. I was able to follow the main reporter on twitter with almost real time reporting, instead of waiting for the 10 o’clock news. I am converted.

    Reply
  2. lslattengren

    I’m a longtime Twitter lover but I have to let you know it took me a while to fall for it. As I think it goes for most social networks, you really get out of Twitter what you put into it. After over four years on the social network, I am now really proud to be up to 360 followers, not that I care too much about the numbers. I do agree with what you said in your post, though, about how you can easily miss information since it is constantly flowing. This is especially true when the number of people you follow grows (I currently follow over 800 accounts, though many don’t actually tweet often).

    Also, Lauren, I agree with your comment about learning news on Twitter. When it just so happens that I check Twitter when big news story breaks or when something local happens before it has broken to the news, it is exciting to hear and talk to others about it on Twitter. I follow many local newscasters on Twitter and it is interesting to see how they interact with local twitterers to get more information on breaking events before they report on it.

    Reply
  3. cybrariansam

    I don’t have a ton of experience, no more than a year or two of dabbling with Twitter as a peripheral interest on personal level. I’ve been using it a bit more this semester. I think I have come to see I do it less for directly connecting with people and more for information retrieval on my pet topics. To be able to type in an interest tag and look up every tweet containing that keyword is valuable to me and leads me to quality info. I just created a new Twitter acct less than a month ago and I have almost 100 followers. I am following about 1100 people tweeting who I selected because they post information pertaining to my favorite subjects. It seems apparent to me that the more people you follow, the more people will follow you, for whatever myriad of reasons they decide to. Agreed about it being information overload. Lately I find myself exhaustively mining one or two of my social media accounts per day, rotating them, so that I am not trying to keep up with all of them every day. So on Tuesday I may exhaustively mine my Twitter feed for updates that interest me. I’m sure I still miss a lot this way but I also imagine most people don’t expect to catch every bit of info flowing from social cyberspace. In an institutional sense it seems like a major missed opportunity to not have a presence on Twitter. I imagine institutionally focused use of Twitter may also be less exhausting depending on the strategic plans/policies implemented by the institutional staff managing the account.

    Reply

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