How can you envision using Twitter in a library or other information organization? What kinds of tweets do you think patrons want to see via Twitter?
For addressing this question about using Twitter in libraries, I can’t help but refer to the blog article “How Your Library May Not Be Using Twitter But Should” from this week’s reading list for class. This blog brought up many great ideas and suggestions for creating an interactive, interesting and engaging Twitter experience for libraries and their patrons.
Essentially, Twitter should be a medium for libraries to share tidbits of information with their patrons and other interested parties. They can tweet about upcoming events, new arrivals, or things that are relevant to the community or current events. But, Twitter is also a great tool for acquiring feedback from patrons and having a personal dialog with them.
The thing that stuck out the most to me was the idea of making the tweets interesting. I think a lot of libraries and businesses might get caught up with their “professional appearance,” and this could definitely hinder them in connecting with their audience. The blog gives the following example tweet: “Shoo bop shoo wadda wadda yippity boom sha boom” at the Greenacres Branch! – followed by a shortened link that leads to information about that branch’s Greasesing-a-long event. Now, anyone who is very familiar with Grease will immediately understand the reference and want to know why it was mentioned, and anyone who doesn’t get the message will likely want to understand what the gibberish means and will click the link anyway. Both reactions get people looking at the event and do so in a fun and interesting way!
The blog also points out that probably the most important thing that libraries can do with Twitter that many likely do not, is interact with their patrons. A library can both respond to their followers’ tweets and retweet their tweets when it is relevant to do so. Also, web tools can be utilized to search twitter users within a certain geographic radius for keywords such as library, or something that might be relevant to an upcoming program to try and find and connect with other local community members who might not know about the library’s presence on Twitter or the programming that would be of interest to them!
Here is an example of a library both doing a great job of creatively promoting their events and interacting with their patrons via Twitter:
In conclusion, I believe patrons want to be engaged and to feel a connection with their community and library and Twitter can be an incredible tool for meeting these needs. Since tweets happen in real time and are constantly being posted, probably the biggest drawback to utilizing Twitter is the time commitment involved, and as I mentioned in last week’s blog, many libraries are often understaffed. I can’t say if there is any one solution to that issue, but I would hope that more branches make utilizing web tools like Twitter a priority and devising a method that works for them!