One day I happened to be working at the Reference Desk when I was called away to help a student with a printing problem. Normally, when I walk away from the desk, I close my email and just throw everything else to the bottom of the screen. I do this as a professional courtesy. If someone else needs to use the computer, I don’t want them wondering if they are interrupting something important or whatever. Anyway, this particular time I didn’t do any of the above as I was just walking less than two feet away from the desk and the other computer was not in use. When I returned to the desk, two of my co-workers were reading what I had left on the computer. I did a quick mental inventory to see what could possibly be so interesting that my privacy would be invaded in such a bold manner. Yes, I know, there is no privacy on a company computer. But, sheesh, how about a little common courtesy.
Anyway, when I arrived back at the computer, my co-workers sheepishly walked away and I opted not to say anything. My bad. Anyway, a few minutes later, one of my co-workers asked “What’s Twitter?” That was what was on the screen. Twitter. I was happy that she asked actually, because I saw this as an opportunity to encourage my co-workers to try something new.
I told her that Twitter is a social networking site that encourages people to share in 140 characters or less what they’re doing. She sort of rolled her eyes, which was my reaction when I first heard of Twitter too. I started laughing because I remembered thinking Who has that kind of time? But it’s not like you have to post every minute, just whenever you feel like it. My other co-worker asked me how I use it and how I find it relevant to library use.
Well, let me list the ways:
- Because our library doesn’t pay for conferences, I use Twitter as a way of keeping current on what other librarians / archivist’s are learning about at the conferences they attend
- I find out who is posting something that may be of interest to me for my position as a librarian and archivist
- Networking, again, this goes back to not being able to attend conferences. I don’t get the opportunity to mingle with other librarians, so this puts me in contact with people I would never have met otherwise
- Keeping track of new technologies like Jott (thank you, David Lee King)
I’m sure there are many other uses that I’m forgetting about, perhaps, you can list some? I did, however, find this best practices guide helpful and I will point it out to my co-workers.