When I signed up for Twitter 2 years ago, I wasn’t really certain what I wanted to get out of it.  I just knew that as a librarian, part of my responsibility was to keep up on current tech trends (yes, we do more than help you find books) so that I could assist patrons when needed.  Therefore, my first forays into Twitter were pretty tentative.  I tweeted just enough to make my presence known but I didn’t think I really had anything all that clever to say (especially not in 140 characters or less).  Over time, however, I built up a reputation and created some incredibly strong ties with different information professionals then my life changed…

I became a stay-at-home-mom and part-time History Instructor.  This change led to a shift in my perception of myself and how I self-identified.  However, it never occurred to me that my life change would impact how others viewed me until I read Naomi Trower’s post about Twitter Lists.  So I started paying attention to how people listed me and it got me to thinking, is this how I see myself and is this how I want others to see me?

I’m listed 93 times with a majority of the lists having to do with being a “mommy blogger”.  Hmmmm….  Not a bad thing, just an interesting twist.  Does this mean that the time that I took to cultivate my reputation as a librarian/archivist is gone?  I don’t think so.  I hope not.  My hope is that my mom blogging friends and my information professional friends will see my domestic and my research skills and recognize the value in both.

When I created my lists, I started by thinking about how the people I interact with influence me.  I thought about where I’m most likely to encounter that person and went on from there.  Hence, snazzy list names like “Hiding in the stacks” (my library and information professional friends) or “At the cafe” (people I’d like to share a coffee with) or “In the gym” (people who inspire me to get healthy)….

What about you?  What do your friends’ Twitter Lists say about you?  How did you go about creating your lists?  Is there a way that you want to be listed?  Have you even thought about the way people list you?

Many moons ago, I asked why archivists aren’t as active in the social networking world as, say, librarians and a lively discussion ensued but I never really followed up on my question.  One of the drawbacks of my AD-Oh Shiny condition…I’m easily sidetracked and amused by what can sometimes be the most insignificant things, like television shows, purple butterflies flitting outside my office window, music on Pandora…  Um, what was I talking about again? 

Oh yeah…

So imagine my surprise when I was catching up on my blog reading and I stumbled across this little nugget on Archives*Open courtesy of Twitter for Archivists.

Now I can follow my fellow archivists on Twitter…Woo Hoo!

I read with a great deal of interest the post on Archives Found about blogging archivists because I had asked a similar question (although not as eloquently) a few months back.  I also wondered about the lack of archivists actively using Twitter, Facebook or any other social networking media to stay connected.  I assume this lack of activity is probably because archivists are used to maintaining records and not creating them.  Furthermore, archivists tend to deal with the “old” rather than the “new.”  Blogging and social networking are new and using them would possibly force people out of their comfort zones.  I am making a lot of assumptions here but I haven’t seen anything to the contrary.  If I’m wrong, please tell me why.

Like Archives Next, I’ve noticed the abundance of librarians who are tearing up the blogosphere and creating a new pedagogy for library instruction.  And, after some digging, I’ve found some archivists who are also paving the way for new archivists by sharing project information, helpful suggestions, etc.  The problem is that these blogs are not getting the same publicity as library blogs.  Archivists have to be more proactive in their marketing:

  • Advertise your blog on twitter, facebook, friendfeed and the like
  • Add your url to your signature on your email
  • Comment on other archivist blogs and leave a link
  • Share your problems and the solutions, talk about project ideas and post pictures of your archives

I’ve said before that I work at a small university where I don’t have the opportunity to attend a lot of workshops and conferences, so I rely heavily on blogs and tweets to keep current and learn more about my profession.  I rely on the expertise of those who have been working in the field for longer than I have, but I also like being able to commiserate with those who are new to the field.

I know there are professional journals out there that offer the same professional support that I’m talking about but I like the instant gratification that comes from blogging and social networking.  And I believe that we, as a profession, need to move forward by granting blogs and other web 2.0 technologies professional legitimacy. 


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.