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Let me just start by saying that librarians are some of the most awesome people on Twitter. Once they recognize you as one of theirs, they follow back, they initiate conversations, and they share ideas. These enthusiastic professionals are one of the reasons I chose to pursue my graduate degree. This is why I find it so disheartening that so many of my peers choose not to be involved in Twitter.
Yes, Facebook is great (and admittedly, Graph Search may put a wrinkle in my current argument) but Twitter has an interactivity and sense of community that I do not find a rival for on FB. Follow your favorite professional bloggers, classmates, co-workers, and industry leaders, and all of a sudden you have a timeline full of everything you wanted to know about your profession. I am able to keep up with issues and trends even when I don’t have time to clear out all the articles in my Google Reader.
This is why I find it so disheartening that so many of my peers, who will one day be Movers and Shakers themselves, I’m sure, are not using it, or even interested in using it. Yes, it takes some time and energy to keep up with everything, but isn’t it worth it to build a professional identity within the community. We have an unprecedented level of sharing and learning to do from each other, but so few take advantage of that. Someone actually said in class yesterday, “I’m surprised how few people in the class have smartphones,” we had taken a hand poll, “Must be because it’s all Library and Archives folks in here.” The worst part was, it was the truth.
We have been talking about the role of technology and information in shaping identities/individuals/culture, and I feel like Twitter is a shining example of how technology should impact our lives. We should seek out new (and different!) perspectives, stay abreast of current news and views, and take part in the community both virtually and in person. Twitter helps us do all of that. So, now that I’ve had my Twitter fangirl moment, I will say, it takes a little bit of time to learn the system, but there are resources to help with that. I’m going to take a page from my employer, Taubman Health Sciences Library, and start featuring some conversations and tweets from time to time that have impacted me that week in Twitter library land.
One of the fun things about Twitter are live chats. These events use a hashtag (a word or phrase preceded by #) to allow participants to follow the conversation. Every Wednesday night, #libchat features librarians talking about things that interest them. The moderator, Natalie Binder, releases a new question every 10 minutes and then the community answers them. It starts at 8 p.m. Eastern. Here’s a couple of tweets from last night, that focus on a topic overheard in the Master’s Student Lounge this week: