Thursday, January 15, 2009

Twitter Take Two

While I try to keep my library blog worksafe, sometimes I'm amused that no one lets me know they read it. For instance, last night I was out with some friends and apparently I was volunteered at a meeting to come in and talk to admin about Twitter. Obviously no one read my post about disliking Twitter as a marketing mechanism. I tried to come up with some ways I would like Twitter in libraries, and I think it's going to seem very complicated.

1. Each library branch or cluster (local groups of libraries) and department would have their own Twitter account. That way messages would be targeted by audience, parents could know about local storytimes, teens could find out about teen events etc.

2. If it was a systemwide account, it would be best to deal with either announcements (ie closures) or trivia (ie strange things found in books). Trivia accounts must respect patron privacy including annoying/harassing/irrational behavior that makes library work so interesting

3. Would the accounts be interactive? If not the library is just using twitter for web cred, which it loses by using an interactive service as a free text messaging service. Someone would have to respond to direct messages AND would have to read the subsribers messages (including what everyone eats for lunch)

4. The library should be monitoring Twitter for messages that may be related to the library. This might be the most important use. If someone has a customer service complaint and tweets about it rather than fill out a form at the library, the library should be watching out for these.

5. Daydreaming about my presentation that I haven't been asked to give. I want two laptops and projectors so on one wall I can keep my Twitter feed running during the presentation to give people an idea of what it looks like and how it interfaces with day to day life.

6. I've got to learn more about hash tags # . I know this is how numerous users group their tags about specific events and there is probably a use for this in the library.

7. Rumors of software for managing multiple posters to a single Twitter account are out there. The library needs to find out more about this (or if this is the case, I need to find out more about this). I blew off the idea recently because the one I looked at cost money.

8. I'm still trying to figure out how to manage multiple Twitter accounts from one phone.

9. Warning patrons and library staff about the importance of unlimited text messaging. Twitter is a fail when your mom (with two Twitter friends) calls to tell you she went $50 over her text limit in one month. Patrons generally are not as nice as your mom when a $50 charge appears on their account.

10. Last but not least, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this with a group of people who may have different opinions and knowledge and plans for this. While right now I have serious doubts, in a few months things may change to make this a valuable service for the library system. And as I wrote in my last post, I'm a very big advocate for Twitter as a social networking service. I'm just trying to figure out where it fits in as a marketing service.


Jon Forest said...

Re #7: why not just share login/password so multiple staff can post to same feed? I don't see this as a large problem.

In general, I like your idea and your approach.

Ms. Courtney said...

It all depends on the scale of the account and accountability for who posts what. If the library wants consistency in their marketing tone and message and to give every library (60 branches!) equal access that could easily allow one person to anonymously post something that doesn't fit. For instance, I'm posting this from my personal account even though I'm responding to a library thread. Oops ;)