Thursday, 4 February 2010

In Defence of Twitter.

After a year and a half hiatus, I am resuming command of the blog from the binary clutches of deep-cyberspace. In my defence, I can only apologise for the long blogging break. Moving jobs, finishing library school, discovering new e-resources - these things all take time.
Still, a new decade marks a new resolution to blog regularly about timely and interesting happenings. And although Twitter has been a part of my consciousness for some time now, I am still regulary required to leap to the defence of the online micro-blogging site.

Some of the most common phrases: "what's it all about anyway", "oh that's just FB status updates without all the other stuff", "I don't get the point of knowing whether someone's eaten an apple or not." However, Twitter isn't (or at least shouldn't) be like that. Yes, it encourages a form of status posting. Yes, one theoretically (and many do) could post the contents of one's breakfast. I admit that this type of tweeting does for me fulfil a deep seated need to know about random trivia.
However, the real power of Twitter lies not in its random statuses but in the sharing and linking of data across platforms and across multiple data sources.

Today from my followees I learnt about the latest CILIPCouncilBlog, I analysed the impact of foresquare loation-based tweets, found out about Mexican film screenings, saw how many libraries use or are in consultation with Nielson Bookdata, read about the latest debates in HE, realised that other people aside from me read the weekly LCSH 'new headings' list, found out that the Pope's UK visit will apparently cost an inordinate amount of money and signed a petition to state that the UK taxplayer should not be obliged to foot the bill. I follow 138 people. 99 follow me. I am listed in eight lists. I follow publishers, libraries, librarians, writers, comedians. I feel connected and enjoy seeing what other people do all day.

On a larger scale, by putting a # before a word in Twitter one creates 'trending topics' which then become real-time searches. We have such classics as #latenightlibrarian, #uksnow and #LCSH. I have recently been trying to introduce #creatureofhabit and #librarianonleave with varied amounts of success. My favourite current trends are #foodinlibraries and #omnomnom, so perfectly opposite in their hatred and love of eating.

Kitteh speak becomes more commonplace in tweets as lolcat language takes over. There is a relaxed and convival atmosphere which gives birth to the perfect medium through which to share professional anecdotes about successful initiatives or dismal failures.

This is my main purpose for using and contributing to Twitter, to become connected within a connected world, to join a network of information professionals who all support and embrace the future and future technology. Oh and of course, I am missing Stephen Fry. Please write your latest book soon and come back to the Twitter-verse. K? Plsnthx.


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