Social networking has certainly become the norm for keeping in contact. When I first joined Facebook, I was away at University and it was a great way to keep in touch with friends and family back home. When I left University, it became my only contact for keeping in touch with many of my friends in Nova Scotia. Since I’ve moved around over the last few years, I really depend on Facebook to organize my contacts and to keep me aware of what’s going on in my friends’ lives.
But recently, I’ve found that I’m becoming more of an observer on Facebook than a participant. I’ve never liked sharing personal details on Facebook and having conversations in front of other people, and so I’ve started using more of their messaging service than posting on walls. And Facebook lets you decide the level at which you’d like to participate. I also found Facebook to be incredibly time consuming. It felt on some days, as though posting on Facebook was one more thing I had to do.
Because of my ‘observer’ status, over the last year, I’ve joined social networks that don’t require as much personal information. I joined LinkedIn last summer in order to put my CV on the web and connect with past colleagues. I also joined Pinterest this summer so that I could keep track of photos and designs that I really love.
All this to say, I never, in a million years thought I would join Twitter. On Twitter, you can’t get away with ‘observer’ behaviour. I think this is why it’s a great tool for libraries. It forces participation between a library and its patrons. Libraries can reach out to patrons by updating them on current events, but they can also respond to patron’s questions or comments. And another benefit is the fact that it facilitates a community-wide discussion. This way everyone on Twitter is in on the conversation, rather than a 1-on-1 discussion.
Since I joined Twitter on Friday I’ve become slightly obsessed. So far, I love keeping up-to-date on current news and feeling like I’m part of the conversation. I followed some of the talks at the New York Public Library conference over the weekend. And it’s certainly not as time consuming as I thought it would be. I check it a few times a day (usually as a study break) and got my up-to-date information fix. And although I didn’t want to share personal details on my Twitter feed, it was really all I could think of at first. I’m hoping that the more I get into it, the more the conversation will be about interesting articles and sharing opinions etc. For now, I’m still trying to learn how to find # (hashtags) and how to include people in the conversations. But I’m really excited to keep discovering Twitter and tweeting away!