Tag Archives: twitter

Winnipeg University Study Says Frequent Texters More Shallow

Just thought I’d share this article I came across. I think it falls in the “duh” category but it’s still interesting.  It appeared in The Canadian Press on April 12, 2013.

WINNIPEG — A study at the University of Winnipeg says young people who do a lot of texting tend to be more shallow.

The university says more than 2,300 first-year psychology students were surveyed online for three consecutive years.

The results indicate that students who text frequently place less importance on moral, esthetic and spiritual goals and greater importance on wealth and image.

The study says those who texted more than 100 times a day were 30 per cent less likely to feel strongly that leading an ethical, principled life was important, in comparison to those who texted 50 times or less a day.

The study says higher texting frequency was also consistently associated with higher levels of ethnic prejudice.

The university says researchers Dr. Paul Trapnell and Dr. Lisa Sinclair also took texting into the lab.

In the study, some students texted, some spoke on cell phones, and some did neither. Then, all students rated how they felt about different social groups.

Those who had been texting rated minority groups more negatively than the others did.

The university says the experiment was meant to test the so-called “shallowing hypothesis” described in “The Shallows,” a best-selling book by Nicholas Carr.

The theory suggests “ultra-brief social media like texting and Twitter encourages rapid, relatively shallow thought and consequently very frequent daily use of such media should be associated with cognitive and moral shallowness.”



Have Books Will Tweet

Los Angeles Public Library

Los Angeles Public Library

As a Los Angeles resident, I often use the LA Public Library. As a library student, I often study the LA Public Library for class assignments. One of the things I have discovered lately is that LAPL does not have a donation policy. This immediately disappointed me, not only because every library ought to have a donation policy, but because I have valuable books that I would like to give.

Seeing the advantages that Twitter offers in terms of direct communication, I decided to test its effectiveness in contacting the enormous LAPL about book donations. Before doing so, however, I decided to use the library’s Ask A Librarian service in order to be absolutely certain that no donation policy exists. I simply asked: “Does the LAPL have a policy regarding book donations? If so, how can I read it?”

A member of staff lamely replied:

LAPL does not have a written policy. Some LAPL branches have used book sales to raise money for library services. Please contact your local branch for further information about making a donation. http://www.lapl.org/branches/

Thank you for using the Los Angeles Public Library.

I then took to Twitter and fired off the following: @LApubliclibrary Why don’t you have a donation policy? I have lots of books to donate, but how do I know what will happen to them?

The following day I tweeted: @LApubliclibrary The County of LA Public Library has a Collection Policy that mentions donations: colapublib.org/aboutus/collec… Why don’t you?

Five days later, still no response. I tweeted: @LApubliclibrary what do I have to do to get a response?

The next day I got one: @musophilus Thnx for your interest. Please contact your local branch re: their donation process. lapl.org/branches Have a great day.

Another non-answer. I responded: @LApubliclibrary My local branch doesn’t have a donation policy. Does the Central Library have one?

That same day I received the following response: @musophilus Hi, call 213-228-7000. Thnx for thinking of us!

Okay, I thought, they’re finally offering to speak to me now. On calling the number, I realized that I had been given the main phone number for the Central Library. I tweeted: @LApubliclibrary Who should I ask for?

Less than an hour later, they responded: @musophilus Ask for central library services dept, and someone there will assist you. 213-228-7000

So, I finally spoke to someone. They asked me what kind of books I wished to donate and then transferred me to the relevant department. I talked to a very gracious librarian who has arranged for me to deliver the books through my local branch.

While I haven’t succeeded yet in urging the LAPL to write and implement a donation policy, at least I finally established contact. I look forward to seeing what else I can do with Twitter in the future.

-Barnaby Hughes

Twitter Profile as Resume? You are what you Tweet?

I recently came across an article published online by Business Insider titled This Company Will Only Accept ‘Twitter Resumes’ For A Six-Figure JobIt does not come as a surprise to me and it seems quite significant for all of us to recognize the serious personal and professional implications of our activities on twitter and other social media sites. I immediately Tweeted this article on my account. To me it seems like social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can often be viewed as overly casual especially in comparison to the buzz about sites like LinkedIn being the “professional” social media site, but I think it is important to really recognize that our tweets are revealing a lot of relevant information that employers may take into serious consideration prior to hiring.

These quotes from the article ring true to me and I imagine this approach to screening hires will increase in popularity.

“The paper résumé is dead,” Vala Afshar, chief marketing officer at Enterasys,” told Bruce Horovitz at USA Today. “The Web is your résumé. Social networks are your mass references.”

The article continues with some more sage advice for individuals who want to strategically Tweet to portray a professionally advantageous social media image.

Rosa E. Vargas at Careerealism wrote that on Twitter it’s important to use “jargon / keywords specific to your target industry” for a competitive edge, and include hashtags with keywords in your tweets so that you’re more likely to pop up in searches.”

I think it is vital that these messages are disseminated and that it truly sinks in to students beginning with middle school age students at the latest. I have spent a considerable amount of time on Twitter and notice that Twitter is a platform that many use for different purposes from tweeting events and narratives from their daily lives, tweeting to their favorite celebrities about shows they are watching, tweeting to professionals with similar interests, tweeting to legislative officials requesting policy change, tweeting opinions about news stories and ongoing court cases, and though it is easy to see the potential for positive communities forming around common interests it is impossible to miss examples of poor use of Twitter that has ended up ruining educational aspirations, damaging careers, getting people sued, and in worst cases getting people arrested.

The power we each harness as individuals when we go to microblogging platforms like Twitter is palpable. You can get a rush having such immediate ability to direct a Tweet at someone you may have only been able to send a letter to their snailmail fanbox before or send your thoughts out to be received by masses of people. It can be very easy to spout off a personal or political opinion that may bring you long lasting consequences. Sure you can delete a tweet and hope no one noticed or took a screenshot, you can delete and apologize or submit a revised statement but some tweets after screenshots will endure for who knows how many years into the future, so we must all tweet seriously with this in mind.

Whether it’s a musician in her 50’s or teenage football team enthusiasts it seems we all face degrees of risk for long term social and professional consequences by taking tweeting lightly. A couple of the biggest Twitter #Fails recently buzzing to which I am referencing and won’t soon be forgetting:

1) Michelle Shocked – Prior to and during the first set of her live musical performance in San Francisco last weekend she is encouraging users to tweet song requests to her and then shockingly during the second set of her live performance she begins sharing her personal views going into a “homophobic tirade” going so far as to say “You can go on Twitter and say Michelle Shocked said God hates fags”. Shortly after these statements the club venue cleared out, she was asked to leave, a significant number of her future performances were cancelled within 24 hours of this news being shared due to venue managers not wanting to associate themselves with persons disseminating homophobic views, and masses of Twitter users called her out for being so offensive telling her that her music career was now over and to seek mental help.  She has since apologized but time will tell  if her fans memory of the “homophobic tirade” or her apology for it endures and/or holds more weight in their minds.

2) Michael Nodianos –I imagine national news has made sure that everyone has heard about this Steubenville case where teens engaged in a night of drinking and then sexually assaulted an unconscious teenage girl while shockingly leaving trails of evidence by circulating photos, video footage, and rapist enabling narratives on social media sites, Twitter being among them. Some of Nodianos tweets can be seen in screenshots here. While he has not been charged with a crime up to this point he has cited threats by many angry people who perceive his tweets as enabling the rapists. Nodianos has since dropped out of his university due to the number of people who are angry at him, and there is a petition circulating to have him charged with failing to report a rape that he apparently knew was occurring that night. Additionally following the conviction of the two rapists Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, some teenagers who were angry at the verdict took to Twitter to threaten the victim for what they perceived as wrongfully destroying the lives of the young football players by reporting the crime. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has since arrested two girls who posted twitter threats following the case verdict and sets an example stating 

“Let me be clear,” DeWine said on Monday in a statement. “Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you,” he added.”

These are only a few recent and serious examples to mention. Let’s all do our best to make sure these and/or similar Twitter #Fails won’t happen to us or our children –and that we do our best to assist youth in the process of understanding the potential risks and rewards of engaging with Twitter and similar sites as we move into the future.

Another article that I came across recently which ties into my points is an article titled The Dos and Don’ts of Teaching Digital Literacy. This article asserts correctly that social media is an essential aspect in the lives of young people now and we should veer away from philosophies and policies which encourage banning the use of social media tools. The analogy used in this article is about teaching young people to drive. Can we appropriately do that by banning them from driving an actual car? Can we effectively teach young people to drive with educators who have never actually driven a car themselves? Most of us will immediately answer “No”. And the same is true for learning the appropriate uses for social media platforms. We can take action to help prevent young people from feeling the painful aftermath of the crash they might find themselves in when left in the driver’s seat of their Twitter account without the proper education and role models. We have to use social media tools, experiment, make mistakes, correct ourselves, engage in honest constructive dialogue with people and give our best effort to set a good example with our presences on social media platforms. We are responsible for the way young people learn to engage with these sites and ultimately leverage them.

For specific age appropriate lessons plans targeted at youth Common Sense Media provides various learning modules on topics such as “Internet Safety”, “Privacy & Security”, “Creative Credit & Copyright”, “Digital Footprints & Reputation”, “Self-Image & Identity”, “Cyberbullying” among many others that have been designed for children as young as elementary school. These lessons plans are high priority for me to expose to my children and any children I should encounter in future digital literacy educational settings and I hope you make good use of them as well.

Nurturing Discussion via Social Media

One of the topics I considered examining in my previous blog post was why some blogs generate lots of comments and others don’t. Instead, I dwelt on the related topic of expanding your social network. I did, however, mention the issue of “how some blogs are much better at encouraging and facilitating discussion than others” and went on to contrast two different blogs. Now that I’ve had a bit more time to reflect, I’d like to propose a few reasons why some people (and libraries) generate far more discussion than others – on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc.

1. Personal connection – When people know you (or feel like they know you), they’re more likely to feel comfortable engaging with you and your thoughts. This applies not only to celebrities and those in the public eye, but to those who share their own opinions and ideas. Thus, people (and libraries) that are rather impersonal are going to find it difficult to make people care enough to respond.

2. Engagement – If you tweet a question to a library and it fails to respond, then you might give up and stop trying to engage with it. Responding to comments and questions that people pose to you is a good way of nurturing discussion and showing that you actually care; it’s part of the dialogue. Social media is not just a way for companies and libraries to advertise their products and services at lower cost than traditional advertising. It is also about listening. I’m always impressed when I hear that a company has reversed one of its decisions or policies because of social media feedback.

2. Quality content – It’s not enough to just blog, tweet, pin or post often. You have to disseminate words, photos and videos that engage people’s minds and/or hearts. The library that posts on Facebook that it will be closed on Presidents’ Day is making an important announcement, but not one that will generate discussion. Libraries that share photos of events and exhibitions or videos of speakers or poetry readings gain a lot more traction.

These three reasons why some people (and libraries) generate more discussion than others are really just the tip of the iceberg. What would you add?

Tweet Tweet

Could you have ever imagined a library full of tweets? The Library of Congress is one step closer to making this possible.

Last month, Mashable (one of my favorite sites to get my social media news from) published this article describing the Library of Congress’ work-in-progress to archive all public tweets from Twitter’s inception in 2006 to 2010. The thought of Tweeples’ public tweets neatly arranged and accessible for researchers is such an exciting idea to me! What a great resource for studying the way people communicate online.

Concerning our class topics of Wikis and RSS feeds, I have to wonder if there will be future projects concerning the social media archival systems. What about one for blogs that contains a searchable database of public blog entries? Or a tracking system for all edits of public Wikis like Wikipedia? There is potential for this in the corporate and nonprofit library sector as well, as I see that tonight there will be an SLIS presentation concerning records management by SocialArchive for organizations’ and companies’ social media accounts.

As exciting as this is for a research-loving nerd like myself, it’s also a bit frightening when I take privacy into consideration. True, this is all public information, but the thought of my 2006 self’s (a mere college freshman!) tweets on display within the Library of Congress is cringe-inducing. BRB, going to go delete some potentially embarrassing messages 140 characters in length or less…

A Dizzying Array of Choices

Am I the only one with my head spinning here?  While the world of social media is a wonder, to be sure, it’s also just a tad bit overwhelming.  What to choose, implement and manage not only for yourself, but for your institution?   Who’s to say what will be around next year or what will be the new “it” tool to add to the pile?

Even conservatively picking the “biggies” one could end up with personal accounts  on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google +.  Add to that professional  accounts for your library/institution and you’ve got another set of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.  I’m not even including Tumblr, Instagram, and many others and our tally is already at 9 accounts!  Who has time for that?!

I don’t know, but I’m thinking the best way to go here to maintain sanity (and some semblance of free time) is to employ the old, “pick one thing and do it well” approach.  Ok, maybe two or three things…but not nine!  Unless I had unlimited resources and a crack team of Web 2.0-ers…

If I was helping a library launch a Library 2.0 presence from scratch, I think I’d go with Facebook and Pinterest.  I think they’re both accessible, intuitive, and complement each other nicely.  Other pairings like say, Facebook and Twitter or Facebook and Google+ have a lot more overlap and the pressure to come up with original content for both at least some of the time might prove tricky.

For my personal use, I currently have only a Facebook page (and a couple of blogs), though I signed up for Pinterest today and plan to do a LinkedIn account when I get closer to graduation.  Baby steps…

Expanding Your Social Network

With some social media platforms, it’s relatively easy to expand your social network. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, can extend invitations to every email address in your contacts list with just the click of a button. From there you can easily go about extending your network by adding friends of friends or by searching for people by name. Once a connection has been made, information can be transmitted back and forth.

Yet, how do you get more followers on Twitter? Or readers of your blog? With these social media formats, expanding your network is not so easy. On Twitter, you can start following any one in the whole world, but that doesn’t mean that they will follow you. Take, for example, our media savvy president. @BarackObama has 26,889,672 followers. How many people does he follow? 666,185. @sjsuslis, by contrast, has 995 followers, but follows only 186. In each case, there is nothing like the parity of connections between Facebook or LinkedIn users.

To return to the questions above, there are many strategies for gaining a following. Perhaps the easiest method is to be famous already. For most of us, we’ll have to work at it the hard way. Above all, that means creating good content, stuff that people will want to read. We will also have to engage with other bloggers and Twitter users.

In the blogosphere, that could mean leaving your own comments on someone else’s blog. Or it could mean linking to someone else’s blog from your own, in what is called a pingback. You can also simply “like” a blog.

It’s interesting to notice how some blogs are much better at encouraging and facilitating discussion than others. The Scholarly Kitchen, which is concerned with academic publishing, has a thriving community and multiple authors. Many of its posts attract dozens of comments and its authors stay in the conversation by responding to them. The British Library’s Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog, however, rarely attracts comments. It seems to be more interested in providing pretty manuscript illuminations from its collections than in nurturing dialogue.

In the twitterverse, engagement often begins by following more than by being followed. With a steady stream of tweets on your home page, you could then choose to comment by including someone’s Twitter handle in your tweet, Or you could retweet or favorite something that you find interesting or worth spreading about.

The more you blog and tweet, the more likely people will be able to find you. Also, another useful strategy is to link your various social media accounts together, for example, by installing a Twitter widget to your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or blog feed.

Implementing these strategies might take enormous amounts of time, but the rewards can be great. You might find the job of your dreams or land a six-figure book contract!

— Barnaby Hughes