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.