Circulation

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Twitter survey, Q3: What has been your experience using Twitter?

Posted by lindyjb on December 14, 2008

threeNOTE:  This is the third question of a 15-part questionnaire I sent out to over 90 libraries with Twitter accounts. 65 libraries responded. I used this information for a web 2.0 article for my LIS 5313 class at Florida State University. Once the article is finished, I will share it on the blog. In the meantime, I am sharing data collected of the responses from each question.

I asked librarians to describe what has been their experience with Twitter. While using Twitter for the library was a new experience for a handful of librarians, overall, the responses were positive regarding their experience with the service thus far. I informally divided answers by themes I saw throughout. Some of the comments:

GOOD/EASY

“I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope to continue it indefinitely. The library culture [at my library] is very laid-back, casual, and that’s allowed me to be myself in my updates. I like being able to try new things… like the reference live-blogging and seeing how our followers react to it. I’ve had no complaints from either library staff or other tweeters.””

“For library – pretty much out of sight – almost everything that is posted to Twitter is automated, so it gets updated and kept fresh without much input from staff.”

“I don’t have feedback about whether our patrons are making use of our Twitter account, however it requires almost no staff time to maintain (our twits are automated with the Twitterfeed application). It’s easy to provide this service even if the usage is uncertain.”

“Beyond the reliability issues and some brief problems with our RSS feed, the experience has been positive.”

“Great! We tweet to tell people about programs, to ask for input and to direct them to our site and other 2.0 outlets, like our blog and Facebook pages.”

“Overall, our experience with Twitter has been good. Most of the experiment is automated. I dump the RSS feed of new books and movies into Twitter. It has created an increased interest in our new items.”

“It is a fun, fast way to communicate, to see what others are doing”

“I post at least one tweet per day that refers followers back to other online resources, like flickr, our blog, our website, MySpace page, etc. I tweet about library and community events.”

“It’s easy since it’s all automated (twitterfeed.com pulls the RSS form the library’s blog and flickr stream).”

“Positive, especially in the last 6 months since they have resolved many of their outage issues.”

“It’s been positive, overall. Generally speaking, when we can increase the number of communication media we use to reach various groups, it benefits everyone. You just have to be selective and back the right horse from the beginning. For example, Orkut and Friendster didn’t really get much traction in the social networking arena as compared to MySpace and Facebook. It would have been troubling to have put all of your resources into building a presence on one of those neglected sites.”

“Personally – a lot of fun and helpful. If I have questions about something or want opinions I can post them on Twitter and usually get an answer pretty quickly. It’s also great for keeping in touch with library friends I’ve met.”

“Very positive. It’s so easy that a few of our librarians, who aren’t comfortable with web2.0/library 2.0, pick up the Twitter interface in no time.”

“Simple and easy to use. Occasional service outages, but they don’t last very long. There have been times when I’ve tried to post a tweet and the Twitter servers are overloaded and I receive an error, but I just wait a minute or two and then I’m able to post the tweet without problems.”

“Generally positive, we have over 100 followers, now including the local newspaper.”

“It is easy to set up, quick to maintain and looks good for the library.”

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT/CONFERENCES/NETWORKING

“Especially like it for conferences – way to virtually attend a conference as people send tweets.”

“Way to “meet” a lot of people at my University; learned a lot about what they do and about new work-related items and issues.”

“Incredibly helpful in keeping in contact with other librarians around the world and keeping tabs on cool things that they’re doing.”

“We get to see how other libraries are using Web 2.0 – gives us wider peer-to-peer network than our local consortia offers.”

“I personally love Twitter. Professionally, I get a lot of tech support on Twitter that I don’t get at my library. There’s only one cataloger and we don’t have a programmer on staff, so when I work on some projects it’s good to have the help of my tweeps.”

FOR MARKETING

“We use the account for marketing purposes.”

“We mainly use for publicity/marketing.”

“Most of our postings promote imminent events (like library programs) or comment from those events.”

“One more way to get the updates out. Savvy users know how to get tweets on their phones, so I hope that followers will turn on that feature.”

FOLLOWERS

“As far as the library’s Twitter page goes, we have a lot of followers, but I don’t know how many follow through and go to the links we send out.”

“It is so encouraging to read from our follower’s responses after they discovered that we were Twittering.”

“We are getting a lot of followers so must be interesting to some folks.”

“Most following us are libraries, but we have also followed them back.”

“We have a bunch of followers (many libraries from around the country, but also some local organizations, radio stations, etc).”

“So far, we’re not being followed by a lot of our users. Most of the other people following our Tweets are other librarians, other libraries, etc.”

“The library is seen as hip and cool by keeping up with the latest technology. Local bloggers use our tweets to blog about happenings at the library.”

“I Started with a personal account… then I set up [our library] account with the intent of broadcasting updates the community about our struggling library. It turns out most of our followers are library professionals around the country and around the world, plus some [sic] who are not necessarily (a) in our neighborhood or (b) into libraries. We’ve become Twitter pals with numerous library people and local people who often offer advice and encouragement. One of our most interesting episodes in our Twitter life was Hurricane Gustav, when we gave and received pertinent updates via Twitter before, during and after the storm.”

“We try to follow everyone who follows us, but some of the tweets aren’t appropriate for a publicly-funded library.”

“It was slow going to get people to add us – we now have 103 followers which is interesting.”

OTHER

“Wish length of text could be more than 140 characters.”

“I have enjoyed using Twitter, but I’ve been frustrated with the lack of tech support or response to user suggestions and complaints, especially regarding the search function.”

“Seems to be a somewhat different kind of communication than anything else: not quite like email, IM, or blogs.”

“Over the past several months I’ve created three different accounts – one for our library, one for me and one for our new building project.”

“Not many staff members help change the content.”

“Initial use – keep in contact with coworkers in far away locations; now use personal account to stay up-to-date during conferences; use library account for promotional purposes.”

“First use was to use as a private notice board for reference desk news (making our tweets private and only allowing library staff to follow). When we found out that there was interest in following from the public, we decided to revamp our account and use it to publicize library workshops, collections, service, and events.”

“Original use was to provide an off-site mechanism for our administrative staff to alert the public (and staff) of Library weather related closings or emergencies. Unfortunately because of delayed lapses in posting, we have moved to another reliable service.”

“We stopped using it on our blog. If we served a very wired population, we would have continued.”

“Our library recently set up its Twitter account and we have yet to fully integrate it into our reference services. We really do not have information to share about using the tool with patrons. We are still determining who in our system will work with this.”

“Experience limited to only the library’s Twitter account.   We don’t use it the way it was intended – as real-time “what’s happening” or as a collaborative tool for work groups – but we seem to be reaching some people out there.”

“No experience outside of our library account … opening a Twitter account seemed like the next step (after creating a MySpace and Facebook account for the library).”

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