It’s probably pretty obvious by my blog that I’m a verbose person. If I can say it in 30 words, I’ll somehow manage to take three times as many words to say it. It’s something I’ve always known about myself. So having to write something in 140 characters? That, my friends, has proven to be quite the challenge for me.
I’ve tried Twitter before, but I wasn’t really that into it. Part of it was the limit of characters, but another part was because previously, I was just talking about my life, which can only take me so far. Using it professionally never really occurred to me before, to be honest. Focusing on my future career interests and things to do with libraries/books, which I can talk about all day, definitely interests me more than my past Twitter endeavor.
I think one of the greatest things about Twitter is its amazing ability to disseminate information quickly and then enable people to band together and do something about that information, if they so choose. My first little Twitter “crusade” was the news that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget would cut the IMLS (Institute for Museum and Library Services), which provides the primary source of funding to over 123,000 libraries (and thus privatizing libraries). The ability to tweet him my opinion and then encourage others to do the same is one of the amazing powers of Twitter. I’m not sure if I would have heard about the Rep. Paul Ryan situation as fast as I did without Twitter.
Another observation I had was that I don’t think Twitter is tremendously user friendly. Mollie was nice enough to tell me how to retweet and add something of my own, which entails copying and pasting that tweet into a new one and then adding RT and the person’s handle who you’re retweeting from. That just seems completely backwards to me. Also, I have yet to figure out the difference between RT and MT. (RT is retweeting, but MT? No idea.) I’m also not sure how to handle retweeting when you want to add something to someone else’s tweet, but theirs is a 140 characters already. Lastly, why random Twitter accounts are just following me is something that I will never get. I guess I’ll just have to get used to that part and Google the rest!
I’m not sure that Twitter will ever be the social forum for me. I enjoy tumblr most of all (and ultimately blogging) probably because I’m so verbose. Perhaps the limit of characters is something I’ll get used to, but for now, it just endlessly frustrates me. When I have something to say, I have something to say, and I hate being limited to 140 characters. However, I think that it’s important for librarians to always keep up with what’s going on in the profession/libraries all around, and Twitter is a great forum to do that. Social networking is obviously important in the library world; we spent quite a bit of class time on library/librarian branding as proof. I don’t want to brand myself, obviously, but the fact that it’s so popular in the librarian world merits some of my attention. Maybe in two months, my somewhat apathetic opinion will change, because I’m really going to try to keep up with Twitter for professional reasons. Because let’s face it, who really cares what I had for breakfast this morning?